Thanksgiving has always been my favorite time of the year.  It’s the official kick-off of the Christmas season and it’s a time to celebrate all the great things in life like family, friends and exceptional food. However, this year it feels like everything I have hoped for has ended in immense frustration and I find myself allowing clouds of disappointment to hang over all the beautiful things about my life.

It’s pathetic really. I have a relationship with the living God who not only saved me once and for all but loves me more than I can fathom.  I have a husband who is still crazy about me even after 10 years of marriage, beautiful children who are healthy, a family who is there for me, friends who care, I have food to eat, enough money to cover expenses and a pillow top mattress, which I have to admit is one of my favorite things in life. Could anyone really ask for more? Yet, in the last week, it seems that my heart has struggled to live in the reality of God’s goodness. Instead, I find disappointment tugging at my thoughts and pirating the unshakeable joy that is rightfully mine in Christ.  However, as I meditate on these things, I am reminded that this joy is only born of the gratitude that I am lacking.  It comes from realizing who God is and who I am not. God is good and I am not. God is sovereign and I am not. No matter what He gives or takes away it is for my growth, my good and my ultimate joy. Therefore, when I am grateful for the blessings that warm my soul AND grateful for the hardship that shakes my affections from this world, joy is born because suddenly every cloud of disappointment has a silver lining of purpose.

So as moms, we all want our kids to have joy but I think the best way to give them that is to show them what true gratitude looks like. Teach them to count their blessings of course, but also teach them to count their hardships as blessings.  As I have already mentioned, I am having a difficult time doing that this year, but here is my challenge, to myself and to all my fellow readers out there. When you are sitting around that Thanksgiving feast tomorrow with your friends and family, don’t just say thanks for the blessings but also for the difficulties that are keeping you walking towards Him. We give thanks because of who He is not because of what He gives us and thus we have unshakeable joy.

“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever.” – Psalm 107:1

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