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The Thankful Focus
I love Thanksgiving, both the holiday and the attitude, because I’ve learned how thankfulness can change my perspective from what I don’t have to what I do. It doesn’t magically bring back those I love who’ve left this world too soon or fix all my problems, but it does do something to my heart. Somehow thanksgiving gives me joy and strength.
A friend told me that her problems were running neck to neck with her blessings. That’s probably the case for many of you reading these words. If so, can I share with you a secret–something I’ve learned to do during the very hard days? I’ve learned the power of thankfulness. It does seem magical, but it’s so much more.
Thankfulness is not some sort of magic formula; it is the language of Love, which enables you to communicate intimately with Me. A thankful mind-set does not entail a denial of reality with its plethora of problems. Instead, it rejoices in Me your Savior, in the midst of trials and tribulations . . . . ”Jesus Calling
Thankfulness is the Language of Love
Oh my friends, please read that quote one more time, maybe out loud. Thankfulness doesn’t change everything, but it is the door to intimacy with the Father. It enables us to communicate with the Lord, the One who loves us more than life itself.
Elections, Pandemics, and Holidays
I’m so tired of political ads and controversy. Yet, I admit I check the news every night before I go to bed to see if there is any good news. I’m thankful we’re close to election day, but I also worry about the outcome.
I’m also tired of this pandemic. My heart aches for all who’ve lost their lives and those who’ve lost loved ones. A colleague lies in ICU on a ventilator, and I fear for her life. 2020-2022 have been difficult years for so many people. (I wrote this in 2020, and my colleague miraculously pulled through! She’s back to teaching. Praise God!)
Despite the tragedies all around us, life does not stop. Horizons blush with promise every morning (thank you, Lord). Green leaves turn golden and amber as the weather begins to cool, and the holiday season begins.
Little kids dress up like pirates and princesses gathering candy in their pumpkin pails, and the time change occurs. (Which I like because I hate driving to work in the dark!) Some of us are beginning to make our plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas, yet there are many whose holidays will cause heartache. A hole sits in your heart. If there is an empty chair around your table, or this Thanksgiving will bring much pain, read my article about celebrating Thanksgiving when it’s hard.
3 Things to Do if Your Heart Hurts
If you are struggling with sadness or worry this season, please know you are not alone. Not only do you have sisters around you fighting battles too, you have sisters praying for you and a Father who has not left your side. When I struggle with shadows in my soul these three things help:
- Get Outside. I go for a walk either at sunrise or sunset or both, breathe in the cool fresh air, and look up to the heavens. If you can’t walk, get out to your porch and sit awhile with the One who made the beauty around you.
- Journal pain and blessings. I journal my heartache and then I list five things I’m thankful for.
- Get into the Word. I read scriptures about the goodness of God and the reasons to be thankful. Nothing lifts the shadows like God’s faithful truth.
Bite of Bread Reading Plan
Join me this month for 30 days of scriptures that will stir the thankfulness juices in our souls. Find time in your crazy day to light a candle, grab your journal, and commune with the Lord. Here’s a sneak peek of the printable you can use daily.
The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving/Thankfulness
Sometimes being thankful is not easy. The Father knows that. He knows there will be days in our lives when our thankfulness is a sacrifice.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind. Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy.Psalm 107: 21-22
The ancient Hebrew is beautiful here. Under our translation lies a word that connects thankfulness with a special sacrifice. Read this commentary: “The word describes an offering of thanksgiving or sacrifice of thanksgiving. It is a subcategory of the fellowship offering–or the offering of well being….” (Key Word “Towdah” p. 1980).
The Offering of Fellowship
I love this. Thanksgiving is an offering of fellowship with the Lord. And isn’t that what faith is all about, fellowship with God? I don’t want to be a grumpy Israelite who focused on her negatives rather than her blessings. I want to nurture my relationship with the Giver as I recognize daily manna.
Love Him my friends. If you wonder how to love the Father, and you need to make this commandment tangible, be thankful. Let your thankfulness open the door to deeper intimacy with Holy Spirit. This is why thankfulness is so important. Don’t miss it. Join me for 30 days as we nurture hearts of thankfulness.
Instagram Live/Faith Fridays
Join me on Friday mornings at 9:00 AM ET for an extra shot of faith. We gather together with our coffee and Bibles, share the highlights from the week, and dig into a scripture from the reading plan. Come on over to my house. Let’s get our faith on! Life and faith are so much better together. You can find me @wordsbyandylee. Hope to see you Friday!
PS. Here’s Wednesday’s Live Study.