To say our family is having a difficult time at the moment would be a vast understatement. And while I want to be transparent, I don't want to be mooning the world either, so let's just leave it at - these are difficult times for us. (and no, by difficult times I am not referring to anything to do with my marriage, and nobody has cancer - those are the two things which always seems to be everyone's first and second guess for some reason when you say you are struggling with something).
Today is the first day of November and I suppose it's sort of natural to turn to the idea of thankfulness when Thanksgiving is right around the corner.
To be honest, I haven't been feeling all that thankful lately. In fact, if I can be super honest, I've been a bit angry with God. We've had some long, very frank conversations, and I always come away with the knowledge that God loves me and He is big enough to handle my anger - it doesn't threaten Him at all. In a weird way, it is very comforting to know that God is not shaken in the least when I get angry with Him - I guess it's like the kid that knows he or she can act out and their parents will still love them.
Yesterday, as I was praying, I was hit by the fact that I have been so focused on my own problems, I had sort of tuned out the rest of the world. I am not the only person hurting or struggling - there are people much worse off.
In fact, I have a lot to be thankful for, even in the midst of this very difficult time. For years, I misunderstood the verse that says to "be thankful in all things." You'll notice it didn't say FOR all things, but IN all things. That means that even in the midst of difficulty, I can be thankful.
God knows what He is talking about here too. Even though it can be difficult to get your eyes off your own problems, mental health professionals will tell you that one of the best ways to feel better during down times is to help others.
So, since this is the month of Thanksgiving, I am going to choose one thing every day for which to be thankful.
On day one, the thing I am thankful for is God's Word and His presence in my life. While sometimes He seems silent, I know that He never, ever leaves me. My performance or lack of faith doesn't drive Him away. Instead,He is my rock and my fortress.
He always seems to provide what I need when I need it. He IS my strength and for that, I'm very grateful because on my own I am pretty much a wimp!
Yesterday, He led me to Psalms 31 and the first eight verses really encouraged me. I hope they encourage you to be thankful for the bigness and power and reliability of God, too.
In You O Lord, I have taken refuge
Let me never be ashamed;
In Your righteousness deliver me.
Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly;
Be to me a rock of strength,
A stronghold to save me,
For You are my strength.
Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have ransomed me, O Lord, God of truth.
I hate those who regard vainidols,
But I trust in the Lord.
I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness,
Because You have seen my affliction;
You have known the troubles of myu soul,
And You have not given me over into the hand of the enemy;
You have set my feet in a large place.
~ Blessings, Bronte