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  • Dixie Thomas

The Vantage Point by Dixie Thomas

I woke up on Thanksgiving Day as the November sun crept through my window. My thoughts immediately raced toward all the preparations I needed to make for the day. Every morning as I wake up, I try to think of at least two things I’m grateful for and offer God a prayer of thanks. This practice helps me have a more positive mindset throughout the day. Out of all days, Thanksgiving should be a day to be grateful, but this morning

I was struggling as my body ached and my mind felt foggy. I felt a little grumpy. But after all, I was living in the aftermath of a hurricane.

Hurricane Ian had come pummeling through my life like a giant wrecking ball almost two months before. We experienced 150 mph winds and 22 inches of rain in 24 hours. A tree had fallen through the roof of my house and we didn’t have insurance. Metal was torn off of 3 barn roofs and rental property roofs. Livestock died in the storm. My body was tired from repairing roofs and fences, moving and hauling cattle off our flooded property, and cleaning up trees and wreckage in what felt like a war zone. My mind was tired of trying to figure out how we would replace the financial provision of our sod farm that was lost in the flood waters. How were we going to afford to make all the repairs? So much work was still ahead. And such was the state of things on this Thanksgiving Day.

After getting dressed, I walked down the little dirt path, through the grass and trees to my sheep pen. It was time to let the sheep out for the morning and I wanted to check on the ewe that had fallen sick the day before. My heart sank to discover that she had died. I had done everything I could for her. Now, her two little lambs stood by her body, crying and hungry.

I fed the lambs and walked back in the house to prepare breakfast for my 5 year-old son, Nathan. I didn’t have much to say as I somberly cleaned up the kitchen, but to my surprise Nathan looked at me endearingly and said, “I’m thankful for you Mama. I’m thankful you’re my mom.” My heart was warmed and tears streamed down my face as I hugged Nathan. In that moment I was finally able to have thoughts of gratitude: “I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for you, God. I’m glad that you’re my God.”

About a week earlier I had been studying the book of Habakkuk, and in that moment standing in my kitchen, my mind went right to a passage in Habakkuk chapter 3, which has captivated me over and over. Let me share the passage with you:

Though the fig tree does not bud, and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails, and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. (Habakkuk 3:17-19)

I wonder if you may have recently experienced loss or maybe you are standing before a challenge that seems to be an insurmountable mountain? Habakkuk has much to teach us. Despite what has happened to us or around us, we can find joy in God. We can celebrate who He is—Our Savior, Provider, and constant friend. As we stand before a steep, rocky mountain, he can give us the ability to scale and climb what seems impossible. He enables us to go up to a higher place. Have you ever seen how a deer or mountain sheep can so effortlessly hop, skip, and climb up a steep and rocky mountain? This is what God can do for us through His Spirit. Yes, it would be nice if God would move the mountain out of our way, but sometimes the way God is leading is up the mountain. He gives us the strength and ability, and invites us to come up to a higher place with him.

In Habakkuk’s times, the mountains and high places were valued as a prime vantage point. From the mountain you could see your enemy approaching and were more likely to gain victory in a battle. Many of the places of worship were also on the “high places” for this reason. Today, God is inviting us up to the high places to see from his perspective, to have a true vantage point. From his perspective, we are already seated in the heavenly places. We are his sons and daughters. The provision we need is with Him. We already have the Victory through Him. In his presence, the world below seems small, the troubles insignificant, and time is seen from eternity.

Look how the view changes when we are on the mountain. I’m still standing in the aftermath of a hurricane, but I’m climbing the mountain. Step by step, I’m finding gratitude and joy. I’m learning to see from a better vantage point. And you can too.

Today, let’s to go up the “heights” and sit with God and see eternity.

Dixie Thomas is a wife, mother, rancher, and certified Life Coach.

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