Struggling to Be Thankful

Thanksgiving will soon be over, and you can breathe a sigh of relief. One holiday almost done, one more 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 . . .

If you are in a fresh crisis, grieveYou don't have to have it all together

I want to make it clear that this post is not 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.

It’s okay to grieve.

  • Take time to be angry or to be sad.
  • Give yourself time to deal with all the emotions assaulting your heart.
  • Grant your heart the time and space to heal.

If you think you’ve nothing to be thankful for …

Instead, I’m talking to the person who thinks they have nothing to be grateful for. The person who faces a rough life, feels betrayed by a loved one, or stands between a rock and a hard place. The one 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 truth.

3 great truths

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.

You are wanted.

Deuteronomy 7:6 says that God chose you to be one of God’s treasured possessions, and Jeremiah 29:11 says that God knows His plan for you. God only chooses and plans for something He wants. But He 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).

King David cried out for God to remember himYou 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.
  • Bitterness for the situation others had forced upon me threatened to consume me.
  • Anger filled me because I was standing in hard places.
  • I spent more than one Thanksgiving in misery and more than one Christmas 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?

 

To Read More!

Warrior's Bride front cover

These three truths are from my book The Warrior’s Bride: Biblical Strategies to Help the Military Spouse Thrive.

Find out where you can buy your copy by clicking here.

Wow! This book is fantastic. It’s a wonderful treasure of information for married women…military and civilian. Even though the authors promote this book as advice for military spouses, all of the principles and guidance found here are applicable for any married woman. It covers subjects all the way from handling the fear of your husband’s death to dealing with a husband whose job requires him to be away from home and the family for long, extended periods of time. It encourages every woman to realize that God forgives us in spite of our faults and is standing on the sidelines begging us to come to Him for reinforcement and wisdom. It also urges the struggling woman to turn to God for love and wisdom in dealing with all circumstances of life. ~Joanie Bruce, author of Alana Candler, Marked for Murder