As we prepare to close out the month of November I wanted to come and share with you all my most recent thoughts on being thankful. Most of you are very aware of the very difficult year that my family has gone through. I found myself wondering as we got closer and closer to Thanksgiving if I was really feeling thankful. The truth is I have a lot to be thankful for even in a year that has been full of so much grief and loss, but I was struggling because I just didn’t know if I was really feeling it or going through the motions of feeling it.
It suddenly occurred to me that even though I know that the bible tells us to “be thankful in all things” it doesn’t just happen because we believe it or because the Word of God says it. It’s not that simple, it is more complicated than that. I was sitting at work and it hit me, being thankful is a choice we each make. We can say we are thankful for this, that or the other thing but we need to make sure it isn’t just lip service. That we aren’t just saying what we think people want to hear.
I am indeed thankful for the time we had with Mandy, Scott, Lizzie and Judah and I am thankful that we still have Bekah and Jared. The love that I have for my entire family (those still with us and those that God has called home) is immeasurable. There is zero denying my thankfulness for that. There is our amazing Church and Church family, our friends and extended family, jobs, homes, and so on. So yes, I am indeed thankful, and I don’t take them for granted because when you take the people and things in your life for granted, you are not being thankful. All that being said, I will admit that this year I have allowed my grief and sadness to overwhelm me some days and I have lost sight of the things I have to be thankful for. Now, before you say under the circumstances that is to be expected and understood let me say that yes grief and sadness are ok and part of the process but when you lose sight of what all you have that is when you cross the line.
As Christians we sometimes short quote the bible. We will say “I can do all things in Christ”, “Be content in all things”, or “This is the day that the Lord hath made” and we don’t finish the verse. Here is what God showed me this month.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
The verse doesn’t just say to give thanks in everything, it tells us to do so because it is the will of God in Christ concerning me. I know that God understands my pain, but I need to understand that even though I don’t like the circumstances and that I miss my loved ones who have gone to heaven that I still need to be thankful in everything. God has a plan for my family and for whatever reason taking them to heaven was a part of that plan.
Getting through the holidays are hard for a lot of people, not just our family. There has been a lot of loss in 2017 and I know many of us would like nothing more than to wipe the year right off the books. We can’t do that, no amount of wishing or praying is going to change anything that has happened this year. We need to walk through the rest of this year with thanks and joy in our hearts. It is ok to miss them and to feel the pain, but we can’t lose sight of the fact that God is not done with us yet, He has a plan, always has.
So, let me encourage all of you, no matter what your going through, no matter what you’ve gone through, God’s got this.
Mandy’s tag line was “Worship God with your whole life” and that includes being thankful in all things, because it is part of God’s plan for your life.