Monday, November 24, 2008

At the Well - Having A Thankful Heart

Today's At the Well is hosted over at Women Taking A Stand. Today the discussion centers around Having A Thankful Heart - In the Midst of Difficult Times.

Some questions we are discussing are:
How do you give thanks during a difficult time?
Share a testimony of how God helped you through a difficult time.
Share a memorable Thanksgiving.

We all know how easy it is to be thankful when things are going well. During these times we thank God for all that He has given us, all He does for us etc. I find that when things are not so good, when we have a serious need or situation, that thankfulness does not seem to flow so well. It takes some digging deep to get past the thoughts of what I need NOW(!), to find piled underneath is the realization that even though things are bad, there is still much to be thankful for. When my feelings fail me, God's Word brings my heart back around to the truth that God loves me and cares for me and in every situation, He has an answer. Many times I lean on His Word and a favorite Scripture is: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7 This reminds me that I don't have to worry, I can pray about anything, reflect on the blessings and thank God for them. When I do this, He gives His peace which has no limit and is so overwhelming and abundant, even though the circumstance may not have changed, His peace is guarding my heart and mind.

The most difficult times I have experienced have been the death of my parents. My father died almost 20 years ago. His death occurred through a violent act which tore through our family like a nightmare. Following his death we were shaken by loss, gripped with fear, anger and confusion. Many times in the days as we struggled with these circumstances, my mother would remind us of ways we could be thankful. We paid closer attention to other victims of crime and would be reminded of the fact that no matter how bad things were, there was always someone who had things worse. That became somewhat of a motto for us and a way to look for blessings in the midst of tragedy. With God's strength, grace and comfort we found closure and forgiveness. My mother passed away after a sudden illness almost two years ago. Because of the attitude instilled in us that it could always be worse, we found grace and comfort in the fact that God was merciful event through our loss.

The most memorable Thanksgivings were spent at my aunt's home. My aunt and uncle lived about 6 hours from us when I was a child. It was a delight to spend time in their home and visits there were eagerly looked forward to. I realize now that the attraction was Christ's love which flowed from their hearts into their home and enveloped you with warmth and welcome. We enjoyed Thanksgiving with them a few times and the feeling of love, acceptance and home cooked meals prepared with love will forever be treasured memories and inspirations to create that atmosphere in my own home.

Thanksgiving week is a wonderful time to reflect on our blessings, remember the difficult times where we found comfort and strength and to be inspired to continue on in hope because our God reigns!

8 comments:

  1. Loved it. Thank you for sharing from your heart how God has brought you thru difficult times but yet given you a grateful heart. I loved what you said:

    "Philippians 4:6-7 This reminds me that I don't have to worry, I can pray about anything, reflect on the blessings and thank God for them."

    He is a God of plenty isn't He? Thanks for sharing with us today over At The Well! -Blessings, Laurie

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  2. Thank you for sharing so openly about something so painful. What a blessing your mom was to you, to teach you to keep your focus on the Lord, and to look for things to be thankful for!

    You are right, there is always something we can find to give thanks for. We just need to open our eyes (and our hearts) and look for it.

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  3. What a touching and emotional rememberance of your childhood loss. I lost my father to cancer when I was 25 and a loss that I still feel to this day. I can't imagine losing my father as a child. God promises to be a father to the fatherless and isn't He amazing.

    Your childhood memory at your aunts made me smile and think back to those wonderful days in my childhhood.

    Thank you for sharing you heart with us today. I love your motto about looking for blessings in the midst of tragedy. We all need to apply that to our own lives. None of us will be able to avoid tragedy in our lives all the time and we need to know how to handle it. You blessed me today!

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us. God has definitely brought you through some tough times, but with that Scripture, I'm sure you've found comfort! Loved reading your Thanksgiving memories!

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  5. When my feelings fail me, God's Word brings my heart back around to the truth that God loves me and cares for me and in every situation, He has an answer. So well put!

    God is so good!

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  6. Wonderful Memories and wonderful reminder as to how we can be thankfulin the midst of uncertainity and trouble times. God's assurance in His word carries me through.

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  7. Your mother was right; there is always something to be thankful for! And there is always someone else worse off than we are. How wonderful that she passed that knowledge onto her children. Praise God for His praying mothers.
    Thank you for sharing from your heart; you have been a blessing!

    Blessings,
    Sandi

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  8. hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

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Thank you for sharing your commment. It is a joy and blessing to hear from you and your words are appreciated.