Sunday, October 6, 2013

Giving thanks when it's hard...

It's been a lovely weekend after a very rainy week.
I think we're sometimes hesitant to be honest and admit that it's easier to give thanks when the weather is to our liking, or to be exact, when our life circumstances are to our liking.

The words of Habakkuk in chapter three amaze me,

"Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
    and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
    and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
    and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!

    I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!"

I don't think Habakkuk's words are a natural response of the flesh,
but a supernatural response of the spirit.
The mind and emotions may kick and scream that life isn't fair, 
may want to do anything but rejoice, 
may want to do anything but choose to be thankful, 
but once your will makes a choice I believe the Holy Spirit helps you, 
helps me, to do the impossible...
to actually praise and thank God in the middle of our rainy day, 
in the middle of our messy circumstances, 
even in the middle of our heartache.

So, I'm going to be honest with God and tell Him when it's hard to give thanks,
when it's hard to rejoice,
and ask for His help.
-help to see the blessings in my life through the rain, when things aren't going my way
-help to trust and know that He is in control no matter what

And so, I've made my choice,
 I will give thanks, I will count my blessings, I will rejoice,
even on the rainy days, 
even in the middle of messy circumstances,
even in the middle of heartache.

In 2012 I followed the prompts in Ann Voskamp's Joy Dare in counting my thanks.
In 2013 I'm going back to the way I did it in the beginning,
just noticing and recording the many extraordinary blessings in my ordinary life.
And so I continue to count my thanks
piling up gratitude day by day
in my little black journal.
(and capturing some of them via my camera or iPhone)


-a slow morning after a busy weekend
-texts and facebook messages about how good retreat was
-white pumpkins
-candles glowing

-hot tea in a favorite cup

-Handel's Messiah playing in the background

-the sound of rain on the roof
-laughing with my friend when we got caught in a huge downpour as we were going into the Olive Garden for lunch
-hot soup with salad and breadsticks, the perfect lunch on a rainy day
-a fun day with no agenda, just what I needed

-talking on the phone with my big sister
-a hair cut and color 
-loving texts from the Hubs
-dinner with our dear friend from Ghana, Bishop F.

-four year old granddaughter having a sleepover with us

-having coffee with our church's Mom2Mom group
-going to our church's prayer night in spite of not feeling well, and being glad I did

-taking a nap-fighting off a cold
-an open house at our daughter's for our Ghanaian friend, Bishop F.
-a beautiful day after a rainy week

-spending the day with our two oldest grands

-them going on a run with me
-making one of our family's favorite dishes for Bishop F. and our daughter and her family
-our church leaders and Bishop F. praying together for America

-Bishop's message to our church about having a harvest mindset
-all our kids and grandkids together for Sunday dinner
-God's help to give thanks in all things

gratefully yours,


  1. Oh, this one really ministered to me, praise the LORD. Thank you for using your blog to lift up and spread Gods wonderful benefits. I think what really hit me out of your article was the concept of two things, Decision and Choice. You make a decision to choose to praise God in all things. Once the decision is made it is always easier than during the period of time where you don't know what to do or which way to go. Then if you make the choice to praise you know it has to be better than to be depressed. It is also pleasing to the Lord and more open to his blessings. Thank you again.

    1. I'm so glad this blessed you! I made myself thank God is spite of some tough situations yesterday, and by the end of the day the Lord had taken care of them! Praise Him!

  2. Such a lovely, love-filled post, Elizabeth. My mother used this Scripture in one of her books. Isn't it amaaaaazing! Thanks for the reminder.


    1. I'd love to know more about your mother's books! Do tell!

  3. Sacrifices of praise indeed....
    This morning, Paul David Tripp tweeted: "You don't protect God's reputation by faking that you're okay when you're not okay. Grace makes honest living possible."
    I think we need more "honest living" along with our "sacrifices of praise"...
    Hope you're having success staving off that cold, Elizabeth. Grace to you.

    1. I never did get a cold, thank God! Just felt like I was trying to get one. I'm so thankful to God. I told Him I needed some encouragement yesterday, and by day's end two things that had me disheartened had been resolved! Praise His Name!

  4. Amen, Elizabeth. I'm learning not to despise trials and trouble, but to wait expectantly for the good God is going to bring from them. I was writing those very verses out just a couple of days ago when I read them in my devotional for that day.

    1. Oh, Carol, I wish my attitude was consistently better about trials. God did turn around what I was a bit discouraged about, and I'm so grateful!

  5. Thank you for this post. Since I actually love rainy days, I will thank Him for that since it raining here today! I agree with Carol, above.... not that I am asking for trials, I just know that they will come and it is in those times when I just hunker down with Jesus and let him wipe away my tears. I love the closeness that those times bring. Sometimes when things are going just fine, I find myself getting too busy and distracted. I WILL praise Him in the storm...always.

    1. Oh, to be drawn closer to Him whether times are good or bad! Thank you, Debby, for encouraging me!

  6. Thanks for this post. A good reminder to find thanks in every situation. I especially liked your one "Bishop's message to our church about having a harvest mindset". This was a reminder to remember for every seed I've planted I will have a harvest if I don't abort it by my words.

    1. Yes, our words can bring life or death, friend. I want to speak life over the seeds I've sown.

  7. A lovely nice to see how you are welcoming the season!

  8. I used to grumble all the time about the weather ... too hot, too wet, too cold. Not anymore! Now I love the blessing of a rainy day or one that's cold. Each one holds something special. Thanks for the reminder, Elizabeth! xo

    1. You are such an example of God's grace being evident in you during severe trials and testing. I think you are amazing, Lynda.

  9. Oh dear friend, you have no idea... but God had every idea.... how much that passage of scripture ministered to me this morning. I had just returned from the prayer chair when I came here, too.

    Love this so much and feel so blessed to have this blog in my life.

    1. Oh, Debbie, you bless me more than you could know. Thank you, friend.

  10. Needed this on this morning - a reminder to be grateful for all the many things I have when lately it just seems as if I am having to battle everything ... thanks, Karen

    1. Karen, doesn't it seem like there are seasons when the battle is relentless? I don't know why, that's for sure. But, I do know, that all around me are blessings if I'l just keep my eyes and heart open to see them.

  11. Adam and Eve had perfection in the garden and still found a way to be dissatisfied. The one thing that they thought they wanted (thought they had been denied and something held back from them that was good) they got and it gave them this imperfect world we now live in. God truly knows best. Satan is a deceiver and likes to get us dissatisfied with what we have even when what we have is great.

    1. You are so right! Satan wants us to be perpetually discontent and dissatisfied, while God wants us to be perpetually grateful and giving thanks!

  12. your message was much needed to today for me. I have been suffering from lumbar stenosis and arthritis pain for quite some time now. I find it hard to be thankful, to be helpful to others, to pray, and to continue on my household duties when I am in such pain. Today, I planted my pain the the garden of God and He will allow something better to grow for me. Sometimes I feel forgotten and abandoned by God. I know it is spiritual attack. Asking for prayer, ginny

    1. I am so sorry you are living in such pain, Ginny. I do know some about chronic pain and it definitely is a challenge to live with and maintain a grateful heart. It really does take God's help, doesn't it?


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