Wednesday, November 21, 2012


"When upon life's billows
You are tempest tossed
When you are discouraged,
Thinking all is lost
Count your many blessings,
Name them one by one
And it will surprise you
What the Lord has done."

During this season, we pause and give thanks.  We go back over the year and think of all the things we have to be thankful for: homes, family, friends.

Having a heart of gratitude is important in every season, not just during Thanksgiving, of course.  And, during the difficult seasons of life, when we're caught in the tempest, remembering the things we're thankful for becomes an exercise of vital importance.  Giving thanks keeps us grounded.  It keeps us focused on the good things.  It rescues us from the overwhelming blackness of the bad.

But it's hard.

When the going gets tough- really tough- it's hard to be thankful.  It's far easier to become bitter, to curse our fate, than it is train our minds to look at the blessings in our lives.  In moments like these, we learn the meaning of a sacrifice of praise.  A sacrifice requires us to lay something down on the altar.  During the days of trial, in order to offer up praise, we have to lay down our disappointments and discouragements, our very right to complain and whine.

So do we have to say "thank you" for everything that happens?  Do we have to be grateful for the hardships of life?

I believe the answer, much to my relief, is no.  Though it is God's will for us to give thanks IN everything that happens (1 Thess. 5:18), we're not required to give thanks FOR everything that happens.  We live in a fallen world.  A lot of what happens is, well, terrible.  But if we can see God's hand of blessing in the midst of terrible times, we can rise above them (eventually.)

For me personally, learning to be thankful in my present time of darkness, has required me to be thankful for very small things.  From my very limited mortal perspective, it's easy to feel like God dropped the ball on the big things.  (Even though I know that He is always in control, and has never dropped a single ball- or allowed a sparrow to fall unnoticed.)  Because of that, I have to really zero in on the little blessings that the Lord sends each day.  Thank You for the sale on apples, the parking space, the missing shoe that was found.    Each seemingly inconsequential event that allows me to give thanks slowly works to change my heart.  I find my spirit lifted as I see His hand in the details of life.

So, as you gather for Thanksgiving, if your heart is overflowing with gratitude and praise, then rejoice.  You are richly blessed.  But if it's not- if your life right now is tough- look for the little blessings.  Be thankful for those, and trust that there are better days appointed for you around the next bend in the road.

Happy Thanksgiving!

1 comment:

Debbie M said...

As always, Aimee, you write with great wisdom and encouragement. Today, a day of giving thanks OFFICIALLY, I also have struggled to find the little things to be grateful for with difficulties and discouragement so easy to focus on! I know that our God is greater than ANY difficulty and I trust Him implicitely!

I thank God for wonderful people on this earth like you, the encourager, the example of what true Christianity is all about. May God "give back more than you could every imagine" for all that you have lost. Its His promise. With much love I wish you and your beautiful children a very very Happy Thanksgiving! Give my love to the children, please.