Luke shared a message this morning about the idea of thankfulness being a priority and not a leftover. I love this idea, but what happens when we get side swiped by a situation that breaks us down? Are we to be thankful even in bad circumstances? This sounds absurd. I have been tossing this one around all day. I’m sharing because maybe you find yourself at a loss today.
It’s easy to be thankful when things are going YOUR way. You got the job, bills are paid, everyone’s healthy, etc… Gimme more of this, please! What happens when you get a call from the doctor you didn’t want to hear, loved one dies, the job disappears, etc… Being thankful in situations like this seems impossible.
The most painful thing I ever experienced was the death of my first daughter, Jourdan Leigh. How could I be thankful? I hated God with every fiber in me. I turned my back to anything related to God. How could a loving God, give me this precious little girl, only to take her away so quickly? Thankful??? Not a chance.
I don’t know anyone that chooses to be thankful in the midst of their struggle. Usually when people say they are thankful for what they are going through, it’s just their way of coping. It surfaces later, they were trying to hide the hurt or whatever else is beneath the surface. Been there, done that. I don’t have a 5 step plan to healing and being thankful but can share some personal experience. Under no circumstance deny your hurt, pain, anger, shame or whatever you truly feel like in the moments of despair. I learned this the hard way… It’s OK to NOT BE OK. You are not a superhero and neither am I. Acknowledge it. Own it. Grieve it. There is nothing wrong with ‘Being Strong’, it’s a healthy thing to do. Just recognize when you can’t be strong and allow yourself rest.
Time Heals. I know its cliche. It sounds like a cop out, but it’s true. I do not hurt nearly as badly today about Jourdan, as I did when she passed. I hurt so badly back that that I couldn’t even feel. Now, I am thankful for the time we did have with her. I remember how she felt, her smell, her sweet little cry. These are treasures to me! Time helps the baggage you are carrying, get lighter. Every step makes you stronger and the luggage lighter. You still carry it, but it’s not affecting your steps as much as it did. The most beautiful things that have come from the loss of my daughter, have been given to me in the form of my other children. I have a different appreciation for how precious life is. Not to mention the bonds I have made with other parents who have lost children. We connect with each other’s brokenness to make something beautiful.
Accept help from others. This is huge. I’m stubborn and when I have been in despair, asking for help is the last thing on my mind. I want to fight it out alone. That’s silly. Take the help.
Hope is ultimately what will bring to a place of thankfulness. It may be way later, but it will come. My hope is in God through Jesus (I know Luke’s is too). Our minds are small. We like to put God in a nice little box and do our thing, right? Someday, somehow all of these struggles, pain and suffering are going to make sense. In my tiny mind now, all I can see is the character it builds to overcome, the relationships I’ve built to keep each other moving forward and preparing me for future cracks in my life. No one wants to prepare to be broken, but it’s inevitable. My Hope is all things happen for a reason and my little brain can’t make sense of a lot of it. Hope turns to trust. I am trusting something way bigger than me, is in charge and when I meet him someday he will look to me and say ‘You believed that I loved you, through all that came at you. Job well done.’ Then I will ask a million questions of ‘Why?’
I don’t know what you are facing today, just don’t give up. Don’t stop fighting. It may be hard to see but good things and thankfulness are on their way. You have a choice to stand there or take the first step up the Hill of Healing. It’s the hardest one to take, but so worth it. I am living proof.