1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” ESV.”
The day my mom made the decision to go to the nursing home to live is one I will always remember. This was was not a first choice nor a planned destination, but rather a last resort in the realm of diminished options. The entire year before had been a series of admittances and discharges from nursing homes as she waited patiently yet resolutely for my Dad to recover from surgery and resume his care giving role. On this particular visit to their home, I sat in a chair across from my mom, a bag of clothing between us and held up each piece as Mom sat in her wheelchair and surveyed each blouse, pair of trousers, or jacket and said either “yes” or “no.” These were not throw-away items, but each was a piece of my Grand mom’s wardrobe, all hand sewn; and due to its polyester nature, wasn’t worn out. No frayed edges, missing stitches…each floral pattern as vibrant in color as the day the fabric was purchased so many years ago…the clothing remained but the body had worn out just a few weeks before. Mom was making decisions as to what would go to Goodwill and what would stay. She had the final say in the last small legacy of items handed down to her by her own Mother.
To say my heart was heavy would not even begin to encompass my emotions that day…I wanted so for her to stay in the house that she loved, with her doggies and my Dad and the familiarity of home. The words began to flow as we sat there together…not one to be overly sentimental and very much a pragmatist…my Mom began to utter words of thanks. It began like this “I am sooooo very thankful for…” and then she would complete the sentence. I don’t even remember what she was saying thanks for…I just remember how the words were like a balm to my troubled soul. At a time when the average person might want to cry or dig in their heels, complain, or at the very least become grumpy with those around her…my mom chose gratitude rather than discontent.
I can’t help but think the Father smiles on us …when we are faced with the difficulties in life whether it be the loss of a familiar home, a disappointment in a relationship that seems stuck in neutral, suffering a long term illness, or feeling lackluster in joy…we give thanks. How can we do this? Let’s look at Romans 8:28 “And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” If we believe God, and take him at his word, then this verse is saying that God is at work for good for those of us who love him. He is sovereign…which means he rules over all things. The God who rules over all things is at work for our own good. That is an amazing promise!!
I have noticed this…when I am feeling a little down, a little distraught, a little unappreciated…I can easily become disgruntled…which breeds discontent…which breeds a critical spirit which breeds a lack of the Holy Spirit operating in my life, cycling into less joy, less of his presence…less of him and the abundant life he promises. But let’s turn that around…if instead, I choose first to accept the disappointments as first of all being filtered through God’s fingers of love and believe that nothing can touch me that He has not already given permission to do so…then I am choosing to believe God which sows contentment which leads to joy which leads to an overflowing of the Holy Spirit in my life which leads to more joy …Just a thought.
Mark Buchanan in his book “Spiritual Rhythm” writes this:
“Thankfulness is more than an act. It’s an orientation. It’s a reframing of reality-not in some whistling-in-the-dark way but in a fixing-our-eyes-on-what is-unseen way. Radical thankfulness makes sense only if behind our touch-and-see reality another reality is hard at work. If there’s one thing the Bible makes clear, cover to cover, it’s that what we see isn’t all there is. It’s not even half of all there is. It’s at best shadow and echo and rumor of what’s really going on. So radical thankfulness is a way of hailing things unseen…a declaration that the unseen God is very much on the job, not surprised or dismayed by a single thing, and able to work it all to good.”
In a world of sometimes diminishing options, we all have the opportunity of a choice… the legacy we wish to leave to those around us. I want to choose gratitude. How about you?
1 Peter 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade-kept in heaven for you…”
Challenge: Create a card or project that depicts gratitude…it can be an image of something you are grateful for, a scripture that evokes your gratitude, or it can be a card made especially for a person you would like to thank this time of year!
I just used up scraps from my stash. The second card seemed a little blah, so I stamped a background to fill in some space. I love the rosette dies and button maker! All three of the “thank you” sentiments is from a sheet of stickers I got free in the mail. I finally used them and they worked out great!