Giving Thanks That Leaves Room For God
By Beth Mabe Gianopulos
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100:1-5 ESV
Have you ever had a bad year?
For me, 2014 was that year. It was the year I suffered a trauma that left me in shock and completely devastated.
When 2015 rolled around, I was attempting to live life again. In some ways, that was more painful because without the shock to protect me, I had no choice but to feel all the intense grief and pain.
As Thanksgiving approached, I felt anything but thankful. My heart was shattered, and I didn’t know if I would ever feel joy or hope again. I was trapped in a pit of darkness and despair.
Despite my sadness, I knew that I wanted Thanksgiving to be special for my kids.
I bought a wooden tree, and the kids helped paint it green. We cut leaves out of construction paper, and placed them near the tree. We decided that in November, we would write what we were thankful for on the leaves and hang them on the tree.
My kids filled the tree with their thankfulness – they were thankful for bugs, family, friends, a favorite food, a beloved stuffed animal, and our cat.
As I watched the tree burst forth with fall colors and thanksgiving, I chose to be thankful in my heart. If my kids could be thankful for the smallest things, I could choose to be thankful for the blessings that had been showered upon me, even if my heart still felt empty and broken.
In the Psalms, you can follow David as he rages, grieves, praises and loves God. In Psalm 100, David instructs us to make a joyful noise to the Lord, to serve the Lord with gladness, and to come into his presence with singing.
We may not always feel like thanking God, but if we choose to be intentional in giving thanks, our hearts will open to God’s healing.
Sometimes, we have to act our way into a new way of feeling.
Thankfulness is as much a choice as it is a feeling or emotion. In 2015, our family chose thanks. I hope that you will choose thanks this year.
It is so hard to be thankful when your heart is shattered. However, thankfulness is a choice, not a feeling.
I encourage you to find a visible reminder of the blessings you are thankful for. With time, the disciplined act of thanking God daily will help you act your way into a new way of feeling.
Jesus, thank you for the blessings you have poured upon us. Open our eyes and our hearts to all that we have to be thankful for. Give us strength to continue to thank you, even as our hearts are breaking. Bring healing to us as we thank you and praise your name. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
© 2016 by Beth Mabe Gianopulos. All rights reserved.
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