Thanksgiving was a few days ago and I read so many messages from people sharing what they were thankful for. I think it is sad though that Thanksgiving is the only time some stop to count their blessings.
It is so easy to get caught up in the details of life, careers, children, family, relationships, finances, etc that our vision becomes clouded and we can’t see the testimony in our test, the message in our mess, the blessing in our burdens, the sunshine in our struggles or the calm in our chaos.
I was guilty of this just Friday. Fresh out of giving thanks the day before, I woke up complaining to my husband about a situation we were going to encounter over the weekend.
The situation had not yet happened, but I was already complaining. I had already made up in my mind that the situation was a burden. Before I became too worked up and frustrated, I had to stop and challenge myself to see the blessing in the situation.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
I know that scripture may sound unrealistic, however if we stop and think about all the situations that God brought us out of, then we can “rejoice always and give thanks in all circumstances” because we know that in the end everything will work out for our good (Romans 8:28).
When my husband lost his job during our engagement it was a devastating blow to him. He did not see it coming and was in no way prepared. I surely did not see it coming and was not ready for the gossip and negativity that would be said about us.
While going through that situation I will admit I could not see the blessing. I did not understand it at all. It was a difficult period in my life. All we could do was stand on the word we heard from God and trust Him (Proverbs 3:5-6).
One day I will share the full story of how God completely turned that entire situation around and has blessed us beyond what we could have imagined. I shared that because now when things come up I have to remind myself of situations that He brought me through, and trust that He will bring me through whatever I am going through at the time! That reassurance in knowing no matter what God is with me, makes it easier to “give thanks in everything or in all circumstances.”
I challenge you, and myself, to purpose as much as possible (daily, if possible) to see the blessings in our burdens, the message in our mess, the testimony in our test, the sunshine in our struggle and the calm in our chaos.
There are times when you may find it hard to “give thanks” especially when you have lost a child, lost a parent, lost a job, are sick, facing foreclosure, are barren, going through a divorce, etc. I promise you if you look hard even in these situations, there is something somewhere in your life you can be thankful for.
Maybe you lost your house, but your family is closer now than they have ever been. Maybe you lost a child, but it brought you and your spouse’s relationship to another level of love, trust and closeness. Maybe you are going through a divorce, but in it you learned things about yourself that you would not have otherwise learned and now you are the better for it.
I have said it before, but if you do not have a Gratitude Journal, start one. Daily list at least one thing you are thankful/grateful for. It helps to look over it during difficult times. Remember that Thanksgiving or giving thanks is not just a holiday. It is a lifestyle.
God, it is so easy to allow life’s circumstances to blind me of the beauty in each day I am given here on this earth. Help me to find the joy even during my most difficult times. When in doubt, help me to believe that all things really will work together for my good. So right now God, I thank you for everything, even the little things, you have blessed me with and I even thank you for everything you have kept me from. Help me to make giving thanks a lifestyle and not just a holiday. Amen
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