As our family reflects on this year’s Thanksgiving holiday, we have so much to be thankful. Through the ups and downs of this past year, we stand amazed at the unexpected blessings we’ve received.
Give thanks in all circumstances.
I was up early a few mornings ago reading when these words flashed across the page. I thought for a moment about the ‘circumstances’ our family has faced in the past year. And then I gave thanks. Because that’s what you need to do. It’s the only way to make it through adversity. Be grateful. Give thanks in all circumstances.
I’m not saying that because everything’s been rosy. For the majority of this past year the road has not risen up to meet us. It’s been a year of trial and error. We’ve gone through trials and made many errors. It’s been a journey filled with growth. But as I sat on our sofa in our living room, in the wee hours of the morning with just a single lamp lit, I was filled with gratitude. No…I was overcome with gratitude. There’s so many reasons we’re thankful! Here are 4 of them…
- Second Chances. If there’s one word that could serve as a banner over 2015, it’s grace. Grace has led the way more than I could count. We’ve been given lots of grace but we’ve also had the opportunity to extend grace. Nothing feels better as far as we’re concerned. This blog itself is part of a second chance. Over a year ago, when I decided to take writing and public speaking full-time, this platform gave me the means. It was my “do-over!”
- Bigger Stories. Out of all the stories we thought our life would be about, a bigger one has unfolded, and is unfolding every day. We often tell audiences that, back when we were in college, we thought our life would go. We thought we had it all figured out. But we really had no idea what God was up to, nor how He would script our life. It’s an amazing story of adoption, a story of hope, and a story of grace! While this year has had it’s ups and downs, it’s all part of this bigger story we are living. We’ve learned that sometimes trials are just life cues on the pages of your big story script!
- Generous People. If I wrote a book on generosity, I could fill most of the pages with stories from this year alone. We’ve witnessed some unbelievable acts of generosity. We are thankful for our best friends who stepped up and created a GoFundMe account when our son moved to a new residential facility, and we incurred several of out-of-pocket expenses. We are thankful for all of the amazing people who donated to the fund. We are thankful for a church community that stands by us. We are thankful for Michael Hyatt and his team at Platform University for helping us rebrand our site and re-launch it to the world. We couldn’t be more grateful.
- Amazing Opportunities. I could go on and on about the amazing opportunities we’ve been blessed with this year. We logged nearly 50,000 miles in travel all around the country, spent an entire day with Michael Hyatt and his team in Nashville, connected with several New York Times Best-Selling Authors, had the chance to do an interview with Jim Daly and John Fuller from Focus On The Family, had several of our articles featured in global publications, and received nearly 1.5 million readers to this blog. But at the end of the day, the travels, the accomplishments, mean nothing. It’s the people that have made all the difference. We’ve met so many amazing people we now call life-long friends. It’s you, our awesome readers who we are most thankful for.
The one big lesson I’ve learned? If you and I practice thankfulness on a consistent basis, negative thought patterns will gradually grow weaker and weaker. It’s true. After I was suddenly fired from my job at a church over a year ago, I had a choice. I could choose to let negativity win, or I could choose to be thankful in all circumstances. I could have blasted several people over the internet. Could have lost my cool. But I didn’t. Not because I was loaded with a ton of self-control or self-restraint (trust me- I had my moments behind closed doors!). I chose to be grateful because I was not about to let negativity win.
An attitude of gratitude, in the midst of trials, is how you make it through the trials to the other side. Giving thanks in all circumstances, even when those circumstances take the life out of you is the only way to live a full life.
It’s not easy. In fact, I’ll just say it- it’s extremely hard to do. We’re human beings and we are forced to live in a world that’s built on entitlement, self-gratification, and quick fixes. But look around you. Open your eyes and look at your life. In-spite of the trials, the difficulties, the pain and agony, you have so much to be thankful for. The fact that you’re reading this post means you’re alive. Isn’t that reason enough to give thanks?
Question: What are you thankful for this year? What have you learned in-spite of the trials you’ve faced? Share with us. You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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