Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart!

Happy Belated Thanksgiving everyone! And to my American friends…this is , in my opinion, the best time to celebrate this wonderful holiday….when the harvest is coming off and the smell of fall is everywhere. It is a time to Thank God for the wonderful food we are so fortunate to enjoy and to thank Him for the ability to see, hear, touch and taste the glorious harvests.
I love fall and feel so fortunate to live in an area where we can appreciate the fall in its glorious splendor. I love that I am a farm kid and actually enjoy the dust and dirt of the combines, the smell of corn silage in the air and the slow pace that tractors and combines take. I love that my drive to work takes me past bush after bush of trees in all shades and past fields and wagons of pumpkins, gourds and squash.
We are such a blessed people and it is so wonderful to give thanks for that but thanks should not only be given this time of year….and yet it so often is. So often we can only think to say thanks when we are told to…and that isn’t right.
And so often people cannot seem to give thanks for everything in their lives.

1st Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Everything thing we have is a gift from God. EVERYTHING!!! It’s not just the obvious things like health, and happiness. It’s not just the opportunities and abundance. It’s not just the people and relationships. It’s every single thing you have, every morsel of food, every button and lace, every shoe and sock,every smile and laugh, every tear and sorrow…. every moment of everyday. And even when these things don’t seem to be going your way or you aren’t sure of things in your life, you need to be thankful…you need to find things that are good and thank God for those.

Philippians 4:6-7(NIV)

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

It is just that simple…. Give thanks for everything in every situation and don’t worry about anything. I know , I know , who am I kidding. I know it is hard, impossible some days. Life hands us some pretty big challenges sometimes. It hands us little challenges too…it hands us things everyday which are often hard to be thankful for or to see past and find the things that are good. And yet it is essential that we do that, that we work hard to see the good, the peace, the hope. If we don’t, then we are giving up and letting it control us. I always find it interesting when people focus on themselves and how horrible their life is. I am know I am guilty of this at times but thankfully it doesn’t happen for any great length of time. Usually I am just beginning my poor, poor pity me rant when I see a story on the news or on my favourite social media outlet…facebook… about a loss, crisis and tragedy and I realize how good my life is. I wish everyone could operate that way, I wish people could look at those around them before they complain and realize how good their life is and give praise for that. Instead they complain about things that sometimes those who they complain to would give anything to have only that problem…or just have that problem.
I recently wrote to some other grieving parents about finding ways to peace. I spoke about trying to give purpose to your loss in order to give you hope and peace. I also, as I have often in the past, tried to get others to see what they can be thankful for in the midst of this overwhelming sadness that the loss of a child brings. But what a difficult thing this is…. How do you feel thankful for anything when your heart is broken??? My answer is simple… are you alive? Did you survive to live another day and have more opportunities, more moments to live, love and laugh? If so, then those are moments to celebrate and give thanks.

Romans 5:1-5 (NLT)

1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

I mean isn’t it really a gift, a reason to celebrate that we, as parents who have lost a child or children are still here . I know it is hard to think of it this way but isn’t it a gift to know that we have endured the worst pain ever and still survived… permanently changed but still here. We are stronger for it…despite how many of us feel every day. We have survived what many think would ‘kill’ them. We have made new friends, learned so many new things and travelled roads we never thought we would. Yes it is a world we would have never wished we travelled, it’s a world we’d never wish on anyone. But we are still here and for many of us, we have a closer connection to God and I guess to Heaven. And for that I am thankful.

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