I walked into the church service with a weary, burdened heart.
On top of just moving to a new state with no friends or family nearby, I’d woken up with a full-blown cold and partially locked jaw. And as the morning progressed the pain only intensified.
Once we found a spot to sit in the sanctuary, I silently prayed the words of Luke 22:42 as the worship band began to sing. “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me.” But my heart was not in the right place. For when the worship leader said, “won’t you stand and give thanks to our great God with me this morning?” the only thought that entered my head was yeah, right, like I have anything to be thankful for with all the pain I’m going through.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the selfish, ungrateful, ugly side of me. The side where my spirit gives way to my flesh. The side where I let lies overtake truth. Because of my faith, it’s a side that comes out rarely. Nevertheless it is a part of who I am and I cannot hide it. We all have a human side to us, a dark side that can be easily clouded by sin. Maybe your dark side is jealousy, maybe it’s materialism … or maybe, like me, it’s an ungrateful heart.
But God is so full of grace, and in my moment of ungratefulness I heard him whisper to me, “dear daughter, my grace is sufficient for you.” His words instantly reminded me of all I have to be thankful for. I prayed once again and asked the Lord for forgiveness for my ungrateful spirit.
Even if nothing in life is going as we want it to go, we always have a reason to be grateful because Jesus died for us and showed us grace! Maybe you can’t run as fast as you used to run, maybe your boyfriend broke up with you unexpectedly, maybe you can’t afford those shoes you want oh-so-badly, but Jesus died for you so that you may experience life to the fullest (John 10:10). And that is reason enough to give thanks.
We have breath. We have life. What a precious gift this is!
A few months back I stumbled upon a post on gratitude by author Jeff Goins where he encourages readers to create a gratitude list. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I want to encourage you to do the same this week as we celebrate Thanksgiving. Make a list of 10 things you are thankful for in life. Then, tape it somewhere so you can be reminded of it often.
Hopefully after making the list you can see, like me, just how blessed we are. We are blessed to be a blessing and given much so that we can give back. Let us not forget just how blessed we are and let us share the grace our Father extends to us with everyone this holiday season.
P.S. Here’s my gratitude list to help get you started.
1. I am thankful my heavenly father lavishes me with His love and grace everyday, even when I am ungrateful.
2. I am thankful for my loving husband, who supports me in cultivating and following my passions. (And who also let me get a dog!)
3. I am thankful for a faith-filled family, who taught me the importance and power of prayer.
4. I am thankful for friends who have stood by my side through thick and thin.
5.. I am thankful for finding a new job in Des Moines even before we moved here.
6. I am thankful I have the opportunity to maintain this blog and write on a daily basis.
7. I am thankful for chocolate in all of its forms.
8. I am thankful for our puppy Reese, who makes me laugh uncontrollably — even when he’s misbehaving.
9. I am thankful for all of you readers, and the online community of writers and food bloggers who inspire me and the world on a daily basis.
10. I am thankful for the wonderful gift of love — like chocolate, in all of its forms.