Being Thankful Even When It Hurts

As we approach this season of thankfulness, I find myself in awe of God's goodness to me. I have so much to be thankful for in my life. There's my wonderful husband, my healthy, strong sons, God and his Word, friends and family, food, shelter and so on. I truly am blessed. 

But at this time, it is evident that people are hurting. Just in my small circle of relationships, people are experiencing pain, loss and hardship. How do we then respond to those hurting?

To the sweet friend who is struggling with an uncontrollable son...

To the girl who recently lost her job and is now experiencing financial burdens...

To the women who are unable to conceive and so desperately want a child...

To the man who is living paycheck to paycheck, trying to pay child support while only seeing his children 4 days a month...

To the dear friend who will encounter the anniversary date of losing her baby girl this month 7 years ago...

What do we say then?

God is still on the throne.
Read Revelation 4. If we as believers lose sight of Christ on the throne, life becomes very sketchy and it almost becomes more about us than Him. Remember that thrones are places of authority, power and majesty. I love this reminder from Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church... 
"When you see Jesus seated on his Throne, that’s why he is here; he’s a King who’s ruling over all of creation, which is his Kingdom. He is a judge who renders us all as sinful and guilty, he’s also a Priest who gets off of his Throne and dies for our sin to forgive us and mediates between us and the Father. And he’s a great warrior through whose death on the cross, Satan, sin and death have been conquered and we have victory."
So through tumultuous times we can be assured that our God is infinitely in control.

We should model our outlook on thankfulness by Christ's example.
Let's look at His example in Luke 22...
"Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, 'Take this and share it among yourselves. For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come'. He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, 'This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.'"
Jesus said these words just a short time before he knowingly would be mocked, beaten, and eventually murdered. And yet being aware of all of this, he still gave thanks. This does not undermine the hard circumstances we may face in life, but how reassuring is it to know that since Jesus found it in him to give thanks at such a horrible time, we certainly can too. 
 "There was majesty in the misery... glory in the shame".   --- Spurgeon
As Christians we should be familiar with suffering. 
I find so much comfort in knowing since Christ suffered while on this earth I will too being his child (Romans 8:17). If I am not being molded, pressed in some way in this life maybe I should evaluate my standing as a child of God. 

If I were to look back on my life, I can see those times of suffering as beneficial to my growth as a believer.

But I remember questioning... 

why the Lord did not let me get accepted into a certain college... 
why I had such a colicky baby... 
why my husband didn't get that certain job 8 years ago... 

But honestly, I can say to each of those circumstances, I am so thankful for those times of hardship. I stopped relying on myself and had to lean solely on the Lord to pull me through. Looking back, I am thankful for how He used those times to show me...

I found my sweet husband at the other college I ended up at.
I developed a maturity, patience and compassion for my hurting baby I never had in me before.
I realized it wasn't the right time and that rejection would later show to be a huge blessing in disguise.

Even in your pain, still find it in you to praise Him. 
You may not have the words to utter how you feel. You may not be able to even pray a thought-out prayer. But you can praise Him still in your pain. 

Because Christ suffered too.
Because Christ was thankful in His pain. 
Because He is still on the throne. 

"The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord."


This Man...

This man has been in my life for 29 years. We met in Mrs. Crawford's class in third grade. I guess he left love notes in my desk... I didn't remember. I was too distracted trying to impress a boy named Adam.

This man tried to break his arm that same year after I feel off the monkey bars and broke my arm. He told me he cried when he heard they were taking me to the hospital.

This man asked me to be his girlfriend in high school, junior year. I agreed. He was a cute soccer player, why not? It didn't last long. I remember crying in a white, square pillow with a bunch of lace on it when I got home from school. I was hurt, but the story doesn't end there.

This man ended up at the same college I did. He was crazy. He played tricks on me and my roommate. I felt like a sister. I admittedly tried to avoid him at times because I knew he was gonna do something to me.

This man grew up. He grew in the Lord. He had a sweet sense about him. He held the door for me. We went out. I remember wearing a pink wool coat. It was our junior year in college. I felt safe with him. He was funny. He bought me scratch-off lottery tickets. We lost.

This man took me to a park one spring day. He asked me to marry him. I agreed. I knew I never wanted to spend one day a part from him. I found ways to spend more time with him... I never avoided him. We married 8 months later... on this day. I love November 2nd. Whether it's raining or shining... I love this day.

This man has loved me when I'm irrational. He has forgiven me when I didn't deserve to be. His touch has always been kind. He thinks of me first. I never felt less than what a blessed wife should feel like. He has never raised his voice in anger to me. He shares. He never criticizes. He forgets my shortcomings.

This man has been there for the births of our four sons. He has raised them to be smart, kind men. He is a true example to them of a godly father on earth. He challenges them to be wise. To make good decisions. To love their mom. He practices what he teaches in parenting.

This man is the most perfect gift I could ever receive.

I love November 2nd. Whether it's raining or shining... I love this day.