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A Picture of Thankfulness '22

Updated: Nov 28, 2022

The Struggle is Worth It

Oh hey, short on time? No worries! I'd love to join you on your commute or daily walk/run, or shoot, even while you take care of that to-do list. We can't let these things get in the way of this friendship. It's just starting to get good! Click below to listen to the blogcast.

As you may remember, two years ago my picture of thankfulness was my back porch. Last year, it was on a sunrise hike at The Oaks in southern California.

I had no intention when writing that first post of making this a yearly series, but now, it's one of my very favorite posts to write. This year, as with those in the past, it is a moment that has gripped my heart in such a powerful way, I hope to never forget.

Gratitude is powerful in this way. It helps us remember. Photos help us remember these moments too, even if only captured in our minds and hearts. I am so very thankful our photographer captured this photo for us - to help this moment linger.

To help this moment stay.

This is my picture of thankfulness this year.

How can I choose just one photo from the year when God allowed the man I've prayed for for so many years to enter my life and change my life forever? We've shared so many beautiful moments together, but the day he chose me to be his wife definitely takes the cake!

Even still, it's hard to choose just one photo from this very special day given the beauty of our surroundings and the importance of this moment, but this is the photo I continually return to. Though the original version captures much more, I always zoom in to this particular frame.

To me, it's a picture of beautiful promise, unwavering commitment, and God's great faithfulness in our lives.

Beautiful Promise

We both knew early on in our dating season this was coming. When the second date just a few days after the first feels as comfortable as two months, you know there is something quite inexplicable taking place between the two of you and worth exploring more.

Fast forward nearly eleven months later, Will asking, "Will you marry me?" was the second biggest question I've ever been asked (the first we discussed a few weeks ago in The Bible 101 series). Even still, it was the easiest answer for me. After having an up-close view to how this man lives his life for the Lord and challenges me daily in how to grow in truth and love others with the richest of intention, I consider it the highest honor he has chosen me to be his wife.

His question and my response, "Yes! A thousand times, yes!" is evidence of the power of love at work in our lives. I've long believed godly marriage is nothing short of a miracle. For two humans who are naturally selfish to choose to care for another's needs above their own ...only love can do that. And, we know God is love, so ...only God can do that.

Only love will sacrifice. Only love has the power to drown out the selfishness in our hearts.

We love because He first loved us. - 1 John 4:19

Unwavering Commitment

I think this is one reason God designed marriage. In marriage, we promise to love one another whatever may come. We don't get to see the details of the future and say, "Okay, yes. Sign me up!" Instead, it is a committed yes despite certain uncertainties.

Marriage is a covenant based on the covenant God has made with us. A covenant is a special kind of promise. The ultimate promise. In a contract, if one person fails to live up to their side of the agreement, the deal is off. But not so for a covenant. When God made a covenant with Abraham, He was promising to follow-through even if Abraham failed in every area. A covenant love is an unconditional love. This is the love God has for us and this is the love He has designed for us with which to enter into in marriage and hold fast to throughout the years together.

As Will wrote in a letter for me to read while we were on our sunrise paddle on that beautiful September morning and to reread throughout all our days together, it is a love that says, "We're in the same boat. No matter what good things or bad things come our way, we must never forget that."

God's Great Faithfulness in Our Lives

Our love for one another has grown one day at a time, but this love started long before we met on that sand volleyball court a year and a half ago. God has been working on this relationship and preparing us for one another.

After attending the wedding of a youth group leader when I was fifteen (you met her last week on the podcast, crazy how these details work out!), I began praying for the man God would bring into my life as my husband. Seeing her husband came into her life in her early twenties, I assumed God would bring mine by 24. But, that didn't happen. It was another 6 years before Will and I would start dating. The waiting was hard. If you find yourself overwhelmed with the weight of the waiting, friend, know this: the struggle is worth it. Keep praying, keep hoping, and keep paddling. In other words, keep living. Don't let the longing become an idol in your life.

There is nothing wrong with having a longing - whether this is for a relationship or a child or another dream in your heart. But don't let the longing distract you from the purpose God has for you in this season. This, too, is significant.

Now, I see how God's timing was not only perfect in Will's life but also in mine. While I felt "behind," watching all of my friends getting married and having babies, I soon realized God's ways are higher than my own and He was birthing something new in my life, too. I wouldn't be caring for a newborn child in my late twenties as the younger me expected, but God would lead me to birth a new ministry, The Good Day.

Writing the first post on that flight nearly two and a half years ago was like hearing a heartbeat for the first time. I knew God had placed new life within me. It has been my privilege to care for it and nurture it as God leads so it will mature and fulfill the purpose He has for it in the world.

When starting the blog, I feared I was saying goodbye to my dream of getting married. It sounds rather silly now, but it's truly how I felt. I thought, "Geez, God. Dating is hard enough. Add "blogger" to the mix, and "Jesus blogger" at that, and yeah, I might be single for life." But, I trusted God would bring someone into my life if that was His will for me. I also prayed he would be grounded and supportive of this purpose God had for me, for us.

When Will came into my life, others who had been praying for me through the waiting, would smile and say things like, "I like where this is going, Candace! Sounds like "the Lord's Will" for your life!" (Wink, wink!)

How true it is! I'm humbled and moved to the most joyful of tears to see how God heard each and every one of my prayers - prayers I've prayed for this man since I was fifteen. Every prayer has come to fruition in Will, and as my sister once prayed for me - God surprised me with His very best for me.

I know this well.

For those who desire marriage who are waiting for the Lord's timing, I hope my photo of thankfulness this year can be of some encouragement to you. Wait for the person who looks at you like this, who smiles and their whole face beams, even when you're not looking and when you're not wearing any make-up and your hair is thrown back in a messy pony-tail and a casual headband.

Wait for the Lord's will for your life.

Take it from our story: make God first in your life. Honor Him above all even when it's unpopular and costs you temporary happiness. As hard as it is, surrender this desire you're holding onto to God. Pray and let your requests be made known to God. I believe if it's on your heart, it's on God's, too. Let His wisdom and courage befriend you as you date and may His most inexplicable peace fill your heart as you wait, trusting He cares more about this than even you do.

It's true.

What is your picture of thankfulness this year?

Let's find strength in God's Word as we walk the valleys and wait on His timing. Let's find joy building within us as we take time to recognize His hand orchestrating the details of our lives. Let's find peace in His presence and rest in thanksgiving for all He is and the love He has for us.

The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.

I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!

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1 Comment

Jaleta Owens
Jaleta Owens
Nov 22, 2022

Such a beautiful love story. Thanks for sharing and God's blessings to both of you. Aunt Jo




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