Monday's Musings - An Unusual Thankfulness

by Mary Denman    @MaryDenman

As Thanksgiving here in the states draws closer, lots of people are realizing they have much to be thankful for. 

I am, too. 

However, this year, my focus is a little different. I do want to be thankful and list the blessings in my life. 

But my Thanksgiving list isn't typical. You might even say it's a little unusual.

While saying that you're thankful for your health, family, home or job is a good thing, I want to pose some questions about that.
  • What happens if your health goes sideways? What if you're in lots of pain, you get a bad diagnosis, or your doctors can't find answers?
  • What about having strained relationships in your family? Deaths of close loved ones very close together? 
  • What if you have longterm leak and water damage in your home, or your appliances conspire to go out in very short order, or your foundation settles and requires lots of money to repair?
  • What if your spouse's job is difficult and demanding and cuts into family life?
I'm certainly not trying to bring you down with these questions! 

Foundation Problems
But this is real life. Actually, it's my real life. Yep, I've been through or am currently going through all of them. 

Your list will be different, but I know you can relate. 

We could call all that stuff suffering.

As I've said before, I don't like pain or suffering. I like comfort. 

Most of us feel that way.

Unfortunately, suffering has defined my life too many times. But that's changing.

What's different now?

My perspective is changing. I'm seeing the bigger picture, the longer view. I'm thinking to eternity and not just the here and now. I'm realizing God doesn't waste suffering. I may, but he doesn't. 

So, what are some of the things I'm thankful for? 
  • That God can use what suffering I go through to help others.
  • That trials I've been through have prepared me for greater things.
  • That God put a stop to plans I desperately wanted. Years later, I've looked back and thought, "I'm so glad he said 'NO'!" But at the time, I couldn't see it.
  • That as a mom, I'm challenged to grow and need to keep going back to God to help us raise our kids. Good parenting ain't for wimps! ;)
  • That my husband and I are walking through the season of difficulties together.
  • That my mom suffered well. She once told me that she was thankful for her stroke because it brought her so much closer to God. Just so you know, the stroke altered her life completely. Her right arm remained paralyzed for the rest of her life and she became an insulin dependent diabetic overnight. Yet, she was thankful. What an example and encouragement!  
  • That God has put people in my life who love me, walk with me in the trials, and help me keep my focus where it should be. On God. Not me.
  • That God brings me new friends, including some of you! 

Beauty in the Bleeding Hearts
I have much to be thankful for. The list could go on. 

But even writing this post has made me think more on the subject. What defines me? My suffering or a thankful heart? I want it to be thankful heart that overflows with love for others. 

I hope you'll take a few moments to find something to be thankful for. Something unexpected. Unusual maybe.

And please let me know what unusual thankfulness you find! 

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!
1 Chronicles 16:34

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  1. Mary, I loved usual. I loved the line, "what defines me, my suffering or a thankful heart? I want it to be a thankful heart that overflows with love for others. Well my friend, I can say from experience that you have a heart that overflows with love. You've caused me to step back and take another look at the suffering I've been through lately. I have to admit that I've not had a very thankful heart towards it. I'm praying for God to change my heart. Love you, my precious friend.

    1. Jamie, I'm glad that what I've gone through can encourage you. I know you have lots of challenges in life as well. Praying for God to change your heart and mine as well. :)