Thanksgiving is over and you breathe a sigh of relief. One holiday down, one to go. This season brings out the worst in you: anger, depression, loneliness, bitterness. Your mind fills with the thoughts of what could have been, what should have been. If only . . .
I want to make it clear that this post is not necessarily for those who are in the midst of a crisis. If you are coming out of a fresh loss, if tragedy turned your world upside down this year–give yourself grace. You do not need to have it all together with your happy face firmly planted for all to see this December. Grieve. Take time to be angry, to be sad. To deal with all the emotions assaulting your heart. To heal.
Instead, I’m talking to the person who thinks they have nothing to be grateful for. The person who’s had a rough life, been betrayed by a loved one, is standing between a rock and a hard place. The one who is stuck in a world of negative emotions because life hasn’t been good or fair.
While I empathize with your hard places and disappointments, I want to lovingly remind you of some things.
First, you are loved. Isaiah 41:10 says that God will strengthen you, help you, and uphold you. Psalm 147:3 says that the Lord “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” You may not see God in this moment and you may not feel His presence, but He’s there. Romans 8:35–39 tells you that nothing can separate you from the love of God.
Second, you are wanted. Deuteronomy 7:6 says that you are chosen to be one of God’s treasured possessions, and Jeremiah 29:11 says that God knows His plan for you. Only something that is wanted is chosen and planned for. But God doesn’t stop there. Jeremiah 29 continues by assuring us that His plans are to give us hope! I pray with the Apostle Paul that, even in this very difficult place where you find yourself, the “God of hope [would] fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
Finally, you are not forgotten. More than once, Bible heroes such as King David cried out for God to remember them. Yet David also knew God was present in his life. In Psalm 9:18 David writes, “God will never forget the needy.” And Psalm 23, a favorite for many people, assures us of God’s provision and protection.
So where do you start to find thankfulness?
Much in this life is not easy or fair. Sometimes it can seem downright ugly. But . . . and this is a BIG but . . . God loves you. And that is something to be thankful for. That is something to celebrate.
I can remember times in my life where I was not thankful for another day of life. I was not thankful for the situation others had forced upon me. I was not thankful to be standing in my hard places. More than one Thanksgiving was spent in misery and more than one Christmas was spent just going through the motions for the sake of my children.
But you don’t have to live there. You can choose to be thankful and this, my friend, places you on the road to the abundant life God wants you to live (John 10:10).
I’m not saying it will be easy. I’m saying it’s worth it.
Will you choose it?
*The italicized portion of this devotion was taken from The Warrior’s Bride, published by Ambassador International and written by Kathy Barnett and me.