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By Helena Smrcek

Photograph courtesy of Grow With Christ

“This year is a complete write off”, said a friend in a recent telephone conversation. I held my tongue, knowing that millions of us might feel exactly the same way. Moments later, as the silent phone rested on my desk, my mind still dwelled on that statement.

The past 18 months had been a tough walk through one of the deepest valleys of our lives, yet my husband and I don’t feel we have the luxury to just ‘write off’ time. As I reflect on all that happened, I can’t help but marvel at the grace that sustained us.

Never had we experienced such an onslaught of major life storms, and at the same time, let me say, that never had we experienced such outpouring of love, help, and prayers. When people told me in the past that they felt the presence of God amidst their life crisis, I tended to accept that as a Christian jargon. Standing at the other side of the valley, I no longer feel that way.

Prayer is a bridge to mercy, and I will never again take someone’s offer to intercede on my behalf lightly. I lost count of all the little God moments that dropped into the darkness of our turbulent experiences, as reminders that He is real and truly cares. I don’t dare to compare our journey to Job, as the ancient text seems to convey much more severe calamities, but let me tell you, there were moments I understood how small and helpless we are without God. I had been moved to tears countless times, as people reached out to us with encouragement, support and genuine care. Only God knows all those who took time in the middle of their own troubles of 2020 and petitioned on behalf of our family.

My brothers and sisters care. We lived on their prayers not for days, but for months. As a storyteller I am used to my imagination conjuring images in my mind, and what I ‘see’ now is a vast canyon, much like the one in Nevada, seemingly lifeless and dry, bridged over by a beautiful structure build just for us. We walked on grace. And I say this not as a common Christian phrase, but as thanks. My heart is filled with gratitude and appreciation.

Every storm comes to an end, eventually. As the fall of 2020 rolled around, I was astounded by the radiant beauty, that followed one of the nicest summers we had in years. When days seem to be numbered, not in thousands, but in a few short digits, one loses the luxury to write off time. Waking up next to my husband is no longer a beginning of just another day. It is a moment of gratitude. Seeing friends and family is no longer just fun, but a time of engagement and active listening for what their struggles might be, and what opportunities their words convey to us. How can we be of help or encouragement? An offer to pray is no longer perceived as a sympathetic gesture, but appreciated as a direct intervention, an open door, an invitation for God to step in and make things right.

So, this Thanksgiving as many families face the same dilemma much like the one this past Easter, that is, how do we sit around a holiday table and share a special meal, while adhering to the new social distancing requirements, let me encourage you. This too shall pass. God is much grater than a pandemic, economic slowdown or a health crisis. We do not need to drown in loneliness and despair.

Hopelessness and depression may show their ugly heads once again, but nothing changes the fact that God is real. He still sits on His throne. Not only does He run the entire universe, but He is also interested in the mundane, seemingly not so important moments of our lives. His love and mercy know no bounds, and He is ready and willing to step in and help. We only need to ask. And if we are feeling exhausted, beaten down, or simply too tired to even do just that, if our loss seems so big that we feel like drowning, there are others around us. Our brothers and sisters who share our faith, went through similar valleys, wrestled with problems, struggled with health issues, faced seemingly impossible odds, yet they are willing to hold up our tired arms, to help us fight our battles.

What ever your struggle might be, God is listening. He will come to your aid, just as He promised. Jesus isn’t a stranger, but our brother, our Saviour, our God. Walk the bridge to mercy and face your day with renewed strength. The battle has already been won some two thousand years ago, we just need to soak that into our spirit. Nothing is impossible with God.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, no matter what it may look like this year, for we truly have much to be thankful for.

About the author...
Helena Smrcek, a journalist, author, and screenplay writer, believes in the power of a well-told story. Her readers can expect a captivating page-turner, filled with thrilling suspense, and heartwarming romance.

She started in publishing as a high school student, freelancing for her local newspaper. Her journalism carrier took off in 1999. Within three years Helena accumulated over 100 by-lines and interviewed Ann Graham Lotz, Carol Lewis, Cec Murphey, Kelita and others. Her stories, many of them covers, have been published in Canada, USA, Bermuda, New Zealand, and Australia. In 2002 she accepted a position at Listen Up TV, a current affairs program.

Helena became a founding member of Write!Canada, and The Word Guild, a Canadian national association of writers and editors. She is a graduate of Jerry Jenkin’s Craftsman Class, Act One, Donald Maass’ Fire in Fiction, Writer’s Police Academy, and several mentoring programs.

She regularly attends writers’ conferences and is a past or current member of such organizations as Word Weavers, American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, Toast Masters International, Boni, The Writer’s Guild, and others. Helena loves to participate in NaNoWriMo and hosts a writers’ group.

As an entrepreneur, she is familiar with marketing, branding, and social media. She has volunteered with YMCA, mentoring new Canadians pursuing their business dreams, and was an active member of her local Chamber of Commerce.

When not at her keyboard, Helena loves listening to audio books. Working on her hobby farm, and traveling. She lives in the Waterloo Region, Ontario, with her husband, two adult children, two dogs, several cats, and her favorite goat, Rosie.