Dear God,

We trust You will get this letter wherever You are. We’re writing to You because we have a very special request. This isn’t your typical prayer because we’re not asking for something small. We’re also not asking for You to intervene and restore peace in the growing number of war-torn countries, to end world hunger and poverty, to heal disease, or to make political battles cease fire (although all of those would be awesome) … our request to You this week is for You to know and realize our gratitude and love for a Father like You. Thank You for Your ever-growing, everlasting love.

You have always been very compassionate, loving, and merciful; the light that shines the way in our darkness. You have never left us to walk alone in the depths of great sorrow or sadness. Rather, you have taken our hand, leading us back into the Light, healing our hurt, our pain, our brokenness — every step of the way. Thank You for loving us with such an insurmountable and unconditional love; a love that truly heals the brokenhearted.

You always helped us overcome our inner fears. As young girls and boys, we were anxious students often worrying about each and every thing in life. Before every exam, we would worry so much, thinking we would fail. But You always helped us through by enabling us to give our best. Thank You for letting us reach our full potential and emerge as confident students and adults.

You have always heard our dreams and fulfilled them. Getting into a college of our choice, guiding us to a profession or vocation that would ultimately lead to Your plan and purpose for our existence, all according to Your will, not ours. Thank you for letting it happen without too many obstacles.

You have always made things easy for us. We never thought we would ever fall in love, get married, have children, not be able to have children, enter the seminary or convent, but we did, that too, all according to Your Divine will. No matter how bumpy or rough the road may have been, we stayed on the path. Thank You for keeping things in our stride and making it such a smooth ride.

You have always shown us the right path. With our jobs, our decisions and choices, with our joys, and many sorrows, in the most stressful moments, a mere thought of You keeps us sane and grounded. Thank you for instilling some sense in us and helping us cope with such situations in the best possible way.

You have always provided us peace. When everything around us turns negative and upside down, we gain strength thinking about You. Even two minutes of meditation helps us to come out of all the negative emotions and retain our calm. Thank You for keeping us positive and hopeful even in the toughest of situations. Thank You for Your Peace that surpasses all understanding.

You have always been our silent listener. We never had to shout or cry aloud. You have heard things that we sometimes just whispered in our minds with the deepest thoughts of pain. Thank You for hearing our hearts when we couldn’t speak the words to You.

You have always been there when we needed You. We may not speak to You every day. We are quite irregular with our prayers. But every time we look for You, you always make Your presence felt. Thank You for never giving up on us.

You truly are “with us always.” We know that, and we need You to be. Regardless of where we each are right now in our lives, the lives You created — whether unborn, newborn, young, middle-aged, old, dying, sick, healthy, grieving, hurting, You are with and beside us. You always have been … even before we were formed in our mother’s womb. Thank You for helping us to stay focused on living a life of significance and creating a spiritual legacy.

You must be wondering that our thank you list is not as long as our usual wish/want list is. This letter may be short but is straight from our hearts. Every time we count our blessings, we find ourselves in total awe of You, our Loving Father. Thank You for blessing us always. Our abiding love and faith in You will always remain intact and unshakable.

Your loving and most thankful children, remaining always …

Sebring/Faithfully Strong

JoMarie Grinkiewicz is facilitator of Seasons of Hope, a Christ-centered adult grief support group at St. Catherine Catholic Church. For more information, email JoMarie at jomarie@stcathe.org.