When I woke up this morning, the rain was hammering the roof, but the sunshine was still streaming through my kitchen windows, illuminating the room with a yellow glow. As much as I hate getting up early, I love seeing the sunrise, reminding me in brilliant hues of yellow, red, and orange that God’s mercies are new every morning. Every. Morning.

Last night, I joined several of the other HOPAC teachers for a Canadian Thanksgiving celebration at a nearby restaurant. Before starting our meal, tiny popcorn kernels were passed around, visual mementos for the many things we have to be thankful for: Skype and Facetime, the beach, friends, family, HOPAC, sports, language, new experiences, great weather, students, color, etc.

I would be lying if I said this past week was easy. It wasn’t. I cried. I fell asleep in staff meeting. I cursed. I fell asleep grading papers at night. I slammed volleyballs into the wall and pounded bicycle pedals in frustration. I threw my hands up in desperation. And in praise.

When my heart feels like it is being torn into tiny shreds, God is not absent.

Exhaustion. Frustration. Helplessness.

God holds me close. He whispers gently.

“I am here.”

“My mercies are new every morning.”

“I am strong.”

“You are not alone.”

And so in the middle of this soul-crushing week, on Wednesday morning, in HOPAC’s weekly assembly, we sang “Blessed Be Your Name” and “God of Angel Armies.” And my hands reached upward in praise.

God is here. In my pain. In my brokenness. In my desperation.

God gives hope. Mercy. Grace.

God is strong. It isn’t about me and my weakness, because I am always weak.

God is faithful. He is good.

And as the sun streamed through my windows and into my soul this morning, I realized my need to give thanks. For grace has been pouring down on me in torrential floods. Even when I have been too blind to see it.

In the darkest of storms, the Son shines brightest!

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