The Heart of Thanksgiving

I hope to sum up one holiday message. Don't be thankful because your life is happy, that is shallow. Be thankful because despite circumstances, Jesus has given His life for you and blessed your life with many things. There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for. Always.

Your attitude is everything. If you have a easy life and things normally go your way, you probably find yourself very thankful. If your circumstances are difficult, a thankful heart is pure gold. For a long time I struggled with believing a "health and wealth" Jesus. If you were a good christian, worked hard, went to church, served others, took care of your body, invested in your marriage and children, then you would be happy.... have healthy babies..... make a lot of money...

Right?? WRONG!!!

Since I have heard this straight out of the mouth of many recently let me just be the first to tell you, "It's wrong people!!!! It's a straight lie from the enemy!! If you believe Jesus gives you health and wealth for all the "good" things you've done, you are 100% wrong." I'm not going to throw up a bunch of verses on you, but here are a few to think about.

Isaiah 64:6. All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

What if??? What if..... what if all you had was Jesus? Would HE be enough to be thankful for? What if you didn't get YOUR way? Or your wants?? Would you be thankful?

To redeem those who are under hard circumstances, we have been there. And we have felt the weight of those circumstances. It's hard to fight the thought of, "Did we do something wrong?" to try and explain hardships. To try and justify why things may have gone bad for you at times.Let me shine some truth:

You are promised trouble. You just are.

In John 16:33 Jesus says in this world you WILL have trouble... not IF, but WILL.

We live in a fallen world and right now, sin reigns. Jesus says not to love the world or anything in the world.

God also disciplines those he loves. If He loves you, you will be tested under trial. How deep is the love and thankfulness this year in circles where there is loss, hurt, and pain. We have so many friends and family going through a hard time. And our life has not been a bed of roses either.

Tim has one semester left of his HVAC degree. He has crammed a 2-3 year degree down to 18 months. One top of a full time job, full time school, and him starting at the bottom of the chain ladder in his industry, we have fought hard and are getting close to the finish line. After 2 miscarriages in 2011, we are thankful for our 2 babies here.... but often think about being a family of 9 in heaven with our 5 babies there! Earth is not heaven. If you live around people that think that way, find new friends. Comfort those during their hardships..... soon enough, you will have some of your own. I can't imagine going through trials of life without family and friends.

Our trials have made us and have deep gratitude for family and friends on this Thanksgiving holiday.

I love reading the Cathy Blog (chick-fil-a) founder. It's neat that we had the exact same thing on our heart:

One of my favorite holidays is just a few days away. I love Thanksgiving. I think any time we can pause and reflect on the things we’re thankful for is time well spent. Sometimes, though, that’s not so easy. Sometimes it’s hard to see past our circumstances.

Let’s face it; times have been hard for a lot of people for a long time. A still-struggling housing market and poor employment conditions continue to put a strain on companies, individuals and families every day. Unfortunate circumstances can penetrate our hearts and hinder our ability and willingness to take time to be thankful. For some, Thanksgiving might even seem like a reminder of what’s not-so-great. It can hang over us and cause us to focus on all the things we wish were different.

A friend of mine’s father passed away when my friend was just a teenager. A few weeks before his father died, my friend woke to a note taped to the outside of his bedroom door. His dad had written the note some time in the middle of the night. He told his son that he was just up thinking about how hard it must be to be an eighth-grader.

Here’s how the note read:

You are going to have a great day. It’s yours, and you can make it anything you want it to be. If the weather calls for rain, decide now that you will enjoy getting wet. If the test score is low, make up your mind that ‘it can only get better from here.’ If punished unfairly for something, just smile for the many things you’ve not been caught for… Attitude is everything. Today is not yet anything. Fill it with laughter. Dad.

Talk about perspective! My hope is that we can all take a deep breath – even for just one day – and rearrange our thinking to focus on the wonderful grace we’ve all been given and the opportunities we have to choose joy over circumstance.

Here is some pictures of some blessings Jesus has given me that I don't deserve!


Amber Vestal said...

Thank you! I'm all teary eyed! So glad to know you :)

Jess Sykes said...

Love the boots Jen! Y'all look great! I LOVE the pictures. Eh hem a holiday card for the Sykes please!

Cecilia said...

I have an issue with the 'Prosperity Gospel' too. I don't think people realize it/mean it poorly when they say those type things, but they can do a lot of damage.

Have you read Ann Voskamp's book? I'm only 2/3 of the way through, but love it so far. It seems to parallel what you are thinking about. Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

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