Sometimes We Have to Dig Deep for Thanks
by Lucinda Secrest McDowell
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever!” (Psalm 118)
Perhaps you aren’t feeling very Thankful today. The losses have piled up one after another — health, relationships, financial security, dreams — and you really wish everyone would just quit asking you to list what you are thankful for…
Some people call this “Turkey Day” but that would be limiting. It is called Thanksgiving to prompt us to dig deep enough to find something which offers hope and promise. When I am in these hard places, I find it helpful to focus my soul on these two things:
1. Remember that GOD is the One we thank.
God is the One we thank because He loves us more than we can possibly imagine. He has our back. Knowing that we are created, loved and sustained by a merciful and gracious God is the ultimate reason for giving thanks.
“It is a good Thanksgiving because we have Someone to thank Who loves us, Who shows Himself to us in the dark and Who is in control of the mess. Some of us will have more ‘stuff’ than others. Some will be going through some rough waters and some will be sailing through the calm between the storms. Some will be facing emotional or physical pain, loss of a loved one or the prospect of great failure, while others will be sitting on top of the world. Those aren’t even the issues though. The issue is GOD. Run to Him. Thanksgiving will be natural.” (Steve Brown)
2. Make a CHOICE to live in Gratitude, no matter what.
So, I can either complain and whine about the direction life has taken me— the detour in the road, the closed door, the seemingly impossible challenge — or I can believe that nothing is too hard for God-with-us (that is Emmanuel, one of the names of Jesus). Maybe your situation is darker this year than last, but if you know God as the Great Provider, you can choose to declare:
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength…” (Habakkuk 3.17-19)
I’m grateful for parents who taught me early on that Thanksgiving is actually a way of life. Recently I discovered a small piece of paper with a long childhood list — my ‘ticket’ to Thanksgiving dinner…
My Thankful List 1965
(misspellings are original, italics are updated notes)
“Food: Turkey, Ice Cream, Spagetti
Shelter: Brookside (our farm in the country), Pinecrest (our house in town), Treehouse (mine!)
Family: Mama, Daddy, Susan, Cathy
Pets: Friskey, Rusty, Animals (Frisky, Rusty and Polka Dot are pictured right with me)
School: Education, Teachers, Materials
Clothes: Slacks, Skirts, Dresses, Shoes (old), Jeans
House: Kitchen, My Room,
Senses: Hearing, Seeing, Tasting, Feeling, Smelling
Workers: Fireman, Doctors, Nurses, Pulpwood Dealers (this is what my daddy did at the time), City Workers, Farmers, Radiomen
Transportation: Bycicle, Automobiles, Airplane, Train, Jet, Rockets
Movie Stars: Hayley Mills, Kevin Corcoran, Doris Day, Peter McEnery
Machines: Television, Radio, Intercom
Nature: Birds, Trees, Plants, Animals, Music, Smell, Wonders
And that is just a little bit of what I’m thankful for.” Cindy Secrest, Thanksgiving 1965
What is one thing you can Thank God for today? Even in the pain, even in the loneliness, even in the uncertainty. Now breathe it out or write it out. Good for you.
under the mercy, Cindy
©2014 Lucinda Secrest McDowell
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