So, here is my answer. God is always worthy of our praise and thanksgiving, no matter what is going on in our lives. It's hard to remember in the society we live in, but really, it *not* all about me. It is about God and Him glorified.
I never ignore or deny what we are going through. It's hard. To have a baby born with an incompatible with life diagnosis, to have gone through 3 surgeries and multiple hospitalizations, to have your house burn down in the midst of it, to have struggles with some of the healthy children...none of it is easy ~ most of it makes you want to hole up somewhere until a better day comes! Some of it, I have a harder time with. Why for example, does a baby, who has to have multiple IV lines, blood draws, etc., have veins that are almost impossible to get with a needle? When they do get an access line, it often blows quickly. Guess what? THAT'S NOT FAIR!!! To have to hold your screaming baby so that a nurse or doctor can do a painful procedure ~ TOTALLY goes against every mothering instinct you have, but to not be the one to hold and comfort just isn't an option either! So, I acknowledge these things. That doesn't mean that there isn't plenty to be thankful for in the midst of the trial. And sometimes I don't feel very thankful, but I look for things to be thankful for anyway.
I learned a long time ago, that being thankful helps me to keep from depression. It's not that I have never been depressed ~ I have buried a son and suffered a devastating miscarriage while in the worst of the grieving process. I do know depression. I remember telling someone that I couldn't even say I was in the valley of the shadow of death because there would be some hint of light in the shadow, I felt like I was in the abyss, totally surrounded by darkness. I couldn't see God's hand, I couldn't feel His presence. I couldn't help myself other than to lay at the feet of Father God and plead for His help. I would pray and acknowledge what I was feeling, if I was starting to believe my feelings, I would acknowledge that as sin, and then I would pray what I knew to be truth. That God will never leave me nor forsake me, that He never changes, He comforts the broken hearted, etc. It took a while, but God slowly brought me out of my depression. But involved in that process was thankfulness. I still tried to make the effort to be thankful.
Hebrews 13:15 says, "Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name." (emphasis mine) Praise, thanksgiving is a sacrifice. That means that it's not always easy, but it is always necessary. Thanksgiving isn't denying the trials and tribulations, pretending that they don't exist. Thanksgiving is a heart attitude that looks above the trials in the eyes of Father God and recognizes that He is in the midst of them along with you. It is recognizing that He is worthy no matter what.
Today is the 10th, so here is my list of 10 things to be thankful for.
- That I live on the 3d rock from the sun. What a gorgeous place created specifically by God for His children. He created everything 'just so', so that it's perfect for life.
- The strengthening bonds between my children because of Jethro and his heart.
- A thankful heart.
- A beautiful new front door for our home.
- 2 'new to us' beautiful dresses for the girls.
- A godly mom.
- A dad who is knowledgeable in so many areas and his willingness to take his grandsons alongside and teach them.
- A crisp clear fall day.
- A job for my Beloved that allows him plenty of time for building our house.
- A washing machine ~ I am soooo thankful that I don't have to do laundry by hand! :-)