We all know this day is when the pressure to be thankful is not just suggested, but demanded on every social media account in the U.S.
If you are not thankful on Thanksgiving, you are considered terrible, and perhaps even a brat.
Yet life has its pitfalls, and some are so deep, they are the last thing anyone could be grateful for.
A few years back, my daughter spent Thanksgiving in the children’s hospital, attached to tubes and on oxygen.
It was by far, a very ugly Thanksgiving.
I need reminders to be grateful, especially when life hurts.
The picture for this blog, is of a piece of canvas art in my home that’s on my wall for a reason.
‘A grateful heart sees many blessings.’
That’s a fact I need to check often, because for me, it’s so much easier to be pessimistic.
So I need something to see everyday that warns against our tendency to be ungrateful.
We all love optimistic people, and their gratitude is more than likely why.
To find the joy in the little things and yes, joy in the ugly things, makes us strong.
That accomplishment cannot be achieved alone.
In order to truly find gratitude, we must appreciate the one who created who we are, and all we have.
We need God.
That’s not to diminish any challenge, sorrow or pain you may be experiencing.
There are many reasons why this Thanksgiving may be ugly for you, but only one can make it beautiful.
You may be feeling alone this Thanksgiving, or even worse, rejected. Regardless of how alone you may feel, God is there.
Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me. Psalm 27:10
The idea of gratitude slips away nowhere else as easily, as it does in the halls of a children’s hospital. That is one of those places where all the why’s in the world cannot be answered, and only two paths remain: hope, or despair.
I’ve been there, and had to choose hope. It was not easy.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those who have young. Isaiah 40:11
Divorce, or the loss of a loved one may keep you from feeling grateful this Thanksgiving, and rightfully so. But in the midst of your disappointment and pain, God is there. He not only wants you to call on him, but he wants to make it better. He wants you to share every detail of your pain with him. It’s hard to think God cares enough to hear the ugly, but he does. God wants to heal you.
In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free. Psalm 118:5
As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the LORD finally brought about. The LORD is full of compassion and mercy. James 5:11
But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead. Isaiah 26:19
Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Luke 6:21
He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces. Isaiah 25:8
You may be battling with the sorrow of job loss, or perhaps you did not get the promotion you were expecting, but don’t lose heart. God has something even better waiting just around the bend.
I know O LORD, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps. Jeremiah 10:23
Perhaps you are under the pressures of someone else’s expectations, to where the weight on your shoulders is too much to bear. Know that Jesus said:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Whatever it is you are dealing with that’s made this Thanksgiving ugly, do not hold back from pouring your heart out to God. He will give you something to be be very thankful for:
There is no other love, no other power, no other comfort, no other strength that’s better than God.
May God uplift your heart and make this Thanksgiving a day of beauty and praise.
But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31