by Joy Martin, Co-founder Set Me Free Ministries
It’s that time of year again: The leaves have turned and are falling off the trees. Warm coats and mittens have made their way out of the closet. Jeans and sweaters have replaced shorts and T-shirts. And all that can only mean one thing: Fall has arrived, and Thanksgiving Day is around the corner.
On Thursday, families across the country will sit down to dinner and gorge themselves with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. It’s a day when we take the time to count our blessings. Every year at my parents’ house, we go around the table and share something we’re thankful for. Last year I was thankful for a new baby on the way. This year I’m thankful for a healthy baby girl, a wonderful son, and an adoring husband.
In fact, most years, I’m thankful for all the things I’ve been blessed with—a loving family, supportive friends, a good job, etc. But that’s easy, isn’t it? I mean, how hard is it to be thankful for everything that’s gone right? So this year, I’m shaking it up a little. This year I’m thankful for all of the things that haven’t gone my way.
To be honest, 2009 has been a rough year. I have faced some of the darkest moments in my life this year, and there have been days that I wasn’t sure everything was going to be OK. But I am thankful for each and every one of those trials, because they made me stronger. In each dark moment, I was reminded to cling to Jesus and ask for His peace and strength. When I couldn’t see that for myself, I had people there to take my hand and guide me. And because of that, we made it. In fact, Jesus is the only reason we made it. I believe that without Christ holding us up and leading us through the valley of 2009, this year would have ended much differently. But the fact is that, even when I couldn’t see it, God had me in the palm of His hand. And for that, I am forever thankful.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” What a great reminder this Thanksgiving! We don’t need to be reminded to count our blessings. That’s the easy part. No, we need to be reminded to count our trials and tribulations as blessings, because it’s in those circumstances that God can do His work. He can take the broken pieces of all that goes wrong and put them back together into something amazing.
It’s also important to remember that even in the dark moments there are things to be thankful for, even if they are small things. It may sound cliché, but be thankful for the roof over your head or the food on your table. Be thankful for your family or a valued friend. Be thankful for the coat that keeps you warm or the pillow that cushions your head as you sleep. There is always something to be thankful for.
Thank you, God, for the tough times because I know that You will bring me through and show Your glory in the process!