Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.- 1 Thessalonians 5:18
We've all heard this verse a million times, right? When I think of the Bible and giving thanks, this is perhaps the first verse that comes to my mind. Still, giving thanks for ALL things? That's a little easier said than done right?
It's easy to give thanks when things are going well. When you are in good health, have a good job, welcome a new baby into the family... these are all blessings that are easy to see and easy to thank God for.
But when you lose your job and your income, when you are struggling to make ends meet and wonder how you are going to pay your bills, when a family member passes away completely unexpectedly. Where are the blessings in these things? How are we supposed to give thanks?
The above statements are all describing this year for my family and myself. My husband lost his job- our sole source of income. My health took a hit. My older child has had many struggles related to his autism. My older sister passed away unexpectedly in a car crash. This has been perhaps the worst year of my life, and it would be so easy to say, 'What do I have to be thankful for?'
And yet, through all of the struggles we have faced in the past year, it has also been a year full of blessings. Through our struggles we have seen the goodness in people. We have felt love, we have felt compassion, we have felt what it truly is like to have a church family. We've learned that God does answer prayers, and that sometimes those answers come in unexpected ways. It has certainly not been an easy year, but through that darkness we were able to see those little pieces of brightness. Sometimes they might seem dim, but when we look, there truly is always something to be thankful for.
This year, as the Thanksgiving season approached, I encourage everyone to really think upon those words from 1 Thessalonians. When your life is going great, give thanks. And even when they're not, even when its hard to find those bright spots in the darkness- GIVE THANKS anyway. Give it to God and know that he is with you, and that He will use these struggles to your benefit and that he is with you every step of the way.
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.- 1 Peter 5:10
As I journaled my way through this month's Illustrated Faith Devotional Kit, simply titled Gratitude- I was able to reflect upon all of the many things that I STILL have to be thankful for...
I am thankful for...
My church. I honestly do not know how I would have made it through this year without them. They have shown me the true meaning of a church home and church family, and I am grateful to have found them!
My family. I'm not saying we have it all together or that we're a perfect family, but they are my family and I love them more than anything in this world. I thank God every day for sending me my husband and giving me my amazing children...and for my parents who helped me to become the woman I am.
My friends. I must admit, I don't have a lot of close friends, but this year I was truly reminded that I have a lot of wonderful people who truly care for me and my family. I am so thankful for their support, their prayers and their listening ears.
Our Cat, Stella. Or rather my son's emotional support animal. She is a new addition to our family, but has already impacted our lives greatly. I never thought a pet would make my thankful list, and yet she is proof that sometimes God answers prayers in the most unexpected of ways.
Bible Journaling. When I first started journaling just over a year ago, I thought it was just going to be a fun hobby to do. But it has become so much more than that, it has led me closer to God, brought amazing women into my life and has inspired me to be creative in other areas of my life again as well.
My Weaknesses. Not because I like them, but because I know it is through them that I am drawn closer to God.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.- 2 Corinthians 12:9
You can pick up your own kit now at Dayspring. Take a look below to see what's inside:
Grab your favorite fall beverage, wrap yourself in a warm blanket, and join Jess Robyn in being intentional about having a grateful heart as you reflect upon God's incredible blessings in your life and document them within the pages of this kit. "My prayer for you this month is that as we dive into the next 30 days of intentional gratitude, we will learn to cultivate a thankful heart that endures for a lifetime." —Jess Robyn
Cultivate a Thankful Heart
1 devotional booklet
1 stamp pad
1 clear stamp collection with 1 sheet of cut-outs enclosed
1 roll of washi tape
1 package of 3 Scripture sharables
1 bow clip
Do you find it hard to be thankful in ALL circumstances? How can this simple devotional inspire you to be more thankful?