Thanksgiving isn't for a couple more weeks, but as I pray more and more for peace in my heart, God has given me more and more reasons to be thankful.
I am by no means a "perfect" Christian. I struggle with my thoughts and emotions like any normal human bean. I fail to fight off temptation, and my desire to please others is often greater than my desire to please myself, much less God.
Over the years, I've often gotten asked about how my faith has impacted my family life. I always played it off with the cop out answer, "it was hard at first, but God overcomes", or something to that effect. But really, the bigger question is how has my family life impacted my faith.
Living in an abusive household where my mother's reason for hurting me was deeply rooted in her Buddhist faith and superstitions, I never liked the idea of religion. Even coming to Christ was a very hard decision to make; accepting Him as my Savior was fine, but as my Lord was almost an impossible choice. As I matured in my faith, I began to recognize my sinful nature. The struggle between my desire to follow God and my desire for the world grew tougher. When my relationship with God grew confusing and I felt it was on the rocks, I wanted to be able to turn to my dad or my mother for spiritual guidance... but neither of them wanted to understand. More than ever, I relied on the kindness and wisdom of strangers, trusting in God's provision to place good brothers and sisters around me to sharpen me in faith and love. In these times where my heart is so hurt and defiant against God's teachings to let go, I've been able to turn to friends for prayer and spiritual guidance.
I can very confidently say that God never failed me. Regardless of whether or not friendships crumbled or remained, God never swayed nor paused in showing me His wisdom and sovereignty. Ultimately, even when I find it too hard to face Him, He lovingly meets me through the friends He placed in my life. He has given my ungrateful heart limitless reasons for thankfulness, and boundless and relentless love despite my wandering and my inadequacies. That is more than I can ever ask for.