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Being Thankful in Difficult Times

Phillipians 4: 4,6I’m not gonna lie: this has not been an easy year. We’ve experienced a lot of loss — extended family loss, pet loss, employment and income loss — and not a lot of gain to make up for it. All of that grief and stress piled on like that can make it really difficult to be thankful, let alone to find the joy in each day. I confess, some days I cave in to thinking that it’s downright impossible.

But it’s not. Would my God command me to do something that isn’t possible? No, I don’t believe that He would.

The thing that I’m finally starting to figure out, though, is that, for me at least, it’s not possible apart from Him. I need help with it, and that’s okay. 

It starts with remembering who God is, and what He and His Son have done to make it possible for me not only to look to Him for help, but to expect it. This helps me get my eyes off of myself and my problems, something I have a really hard time not dwelling on. But once I refocus my attention and energies on remembering that one simple truth, I start to remember all of the things I have to be thankful for.

For example…

I’m thankful that we still have our house, as well as heat and light and hot and cold running water.

I’m thankful that we have enough to eat.

I’m thankful that we have plenty of clothes to wear, and winter coats and warm blankets.

Just these simple things make us wealthier than a great many people in the world.

I’m also thankful that we’re both relatively healthy. Sure, we’ve got got our issues, but nothing life-threatening or unmanageable.

I’m thankful to have a husband who is a true partner and leader and friend, and that we have the kind of relationship where we don’t fight and cast blame in difficult times, but instead we grow closer and stronger as we weather the storms together, doing our best to hold each other up.

I’m thankful that we’ve been blessed with pets with such big personalities, who bring us joy and laughter even when we feel like crying. And I’m thankful that they, too, are healthy.

I’m thankful that my mom is alive and healthy and robust and well-provided for in her retirement. The same goes for all of my siblings and extended family — that everyone is here and mostly healthy and doing well.

We truly are richly blessed, and as I write this list, it makes me ashamed of all of the time and energy I waste brooding on the things we don’t have.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the US, a day for counting our blessings. But I’m trying to make this a daily habit, to remember all the reasons I have to be content, turmoil or no turmoil. As you count your blessings tomorrow, I hope you find that your list is at least as long as mine.

And I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving.

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2 thoughts on “Being Thankful in Difficult Times”

  1. *hugs* It’s been a hard year for a lot of people, honestly, and I’m sad to see that you’ve had to be one of the survivors. I’m ready for 2014, and it better be a dang good year.

    And one thing I’ve been forced to remember this year that because our God is good, He is also so very merciful, and that is why we can ask Him for grace and favor – not because we deserve it, but because He loves us in spite of all our failures, and ultimately He wants to draw us closer to Him, even using the hardships of our lives to do so if we won’t listen any other way.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Jean!

    1. *hugs* Thanks, Rebekah. I know this year has been tough on you guys, too. I really, really hope 2014 is a better year for us both.

      One thing I know is true and that I’m doing my best to have a thankful attitude about is that God has really been using this time of hardship to teach me and Matt and make us more mature. I just wish these lessons didn’t have to be quite so painful to endure.

      Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

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