It’s the season of Thanksgiving, but giving thanks isn’t always easy. Is it really possible to give thanks in all things?
If ever there was a blog post I didn’t know how to begin, this is it.
A year has passed since I wrote my last post a month ago. At least it seems that way.
Two years of caring for my father-in-law came to an abrupt end a few weeks ago when he went to the hospital and never came back. He went home.
A week later, my husband came home from a doctor’s appointment and said the “C” word.
The world has been spinning in slow motion ever since.
And the people I pass on the street don’t even know it.
I look around and wonder how they don’t realize the world has been rocked right off its axis. They’re all still standing up straight. They have no idea that what started by looking like nothing more than a pimple has put everything else in its place.
That’s the name they give it. You can Google it. I know I did. So did our family friend who’s a doctor. It’s rare enough he hadn’t really heard of it.
Two surgeries down and we are waiting on test results.
The first, a PET scan, was clear so we know it’s hasn’t progressed far. The other results we should have this week, as well as another surgery soon.
My husband looks good in a skull cap.
It’s the little things like that which have kept us smiling and laughing, and it’s the big things like grace that have kept us going.
Because the terror you feel in your heart when you hear it’s cancer is nothing compared to the pain in your heart when you see that same terror in your kids’ eyes when they hear it, too.
Because it’s not “just a skin cancer,” as if there’s such a thing.
Because as you near your family’s out of pocket limit, you finally understand why so many people avoid going to the doctor like they avoid the plague.
And because God is good.
All the time.
He sends words of encouragement at precisely the right moment and friends to stock your freezer with breakfast for days.
He reminds you that all those little problems you thought you had pale in comparison to his plan.
Because we trust that, somehow, this is his plan. That he has a purpose.
And that, in all things, he will be glorified.
So we give thanks.
For our family, from my mom who came to keep kids to my niece who brought them home from school to my dad and his wife who give those kids a safe place to go and relax and be loved to my sisters who pray and encourage and help in so many ways.
For our friends, the meals they’ve brought and the love they’ve shown and the fact they remind us we are not in this alone.
For tests that are clear and those that are not. Each one brings us closer to understanding what we’re facing and how to fight it best.
For our children who are brave and loving and learning to trust in God one step of faith at a time.
For each other…oh my…almost 20 years of marriage can tempt you to take your spouse for granted, and two years of constant caring for others can make it easy to overlook one another. No more. We’ve held hands more often in the past two weeks than we have in a decade. He’s at work today, and I am counting the time until he comes home and thanking the Lord for him anew each day.
For the falling leaves and the cool breeze and the fact Starbucks is selling peppermint mochas again.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says it this way: “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
I can’t pretend to like all of our circumstances right now, but I can be thankful in the midst of them.
Paul didn’t write Philippians 4 from a party. He wrote it from a prison.
And he chose to rejoice.
He told us to do the same.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Verse 6)
I can’t explain it, but I know it’s true.
Do we have anxious thoughts? Absolutely. There are moments when fear grips me and holds me tight.
He is good. He knows the end from the beginning and has ordained all our days. (Psalm 139)
We trust him. Do you?
Maybe you’re grieving this Thanksgiving and wondering if you can have gratitude in the midst of grief.
Perhaps you’re in pain and wondering “Can you still have joy?”
If so, I hope you’ll find encouragement here. And remember: God gives grace. So, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
He will do it, you know.
Isaiah 40:29-31 promises:
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 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.”
Psalm 29:11 says, “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”
I pray he gives you peace today.
More Encouragement for the Season of Thanksgiving:
- 3 Reasons to Give Thanks to the Lord
- Give thanks because God is Good
- Why is Thanksgiving So Important?
- How to Have a Grateful Heart this Holiday Season