Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare. Psalm 40:5 (NIV)
I am looking forward to having more joy this year. How about you? I don't want my feelings to be solely controlled by what's going on around me anymore. Why? Because things are always changing and there is always something going on. There is always something to complain about but I have found that there are even more things to be thankful for.
I have found that one of the things that inspire consistent joy is when I go over my thankful list. I jot down a list of things that I am thankful for and just the thought of these things start to make me feel a special joy. I try to make thankfulness a part of my life throughout the entire year because I don't like to wait until a certain day to thank God for all that He has done.
It can be easy to just have a heart of thankfulness more so on special occasions such as New Year's Day, Christmas or Thanksgiving Day probably because there is more talk about being thankful everywhere you look.
I came across a devotional that I had read and printed out not long ago by Lysa TerKeurst entitled, The Treasure of Thrown-Away Food. She talked about a paper written by her adopted son Jackson that spoke about his life in a forgotten orphanage in the third world country of Liberia, Africa. In one part of his paper he described what it felt like to be naked digging through the trash looking for the treasure of thrown-away food.
I have four children and the thought of any of them or any other child hungry is heartbreaking. It brought tears to my eyes just reading the words as I'm sure it did to Lysa as his mother. As holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas have passed many of us can barely remember all of the food that covered our tables. We sat around tables loaded with turkeys, hams and all the trimmings that go with this type of feast.
But somewhere there are children that consider food from the trash a treasure. Other than crying these words inspired feelings of gratefulness that Lysa's son is now safe and away from that former way of living. I also felt an extra special thankfulness to God for provision and safety for my own children. I also said a prayer for the hungry, homeless, abandoned and abused children all over the world.
Then I began to think about how much I complain sometimes about issues in my own life instead of putting more emphasis on how blessed I really am. As the psalmist stated, were I to speak and tell of the Lord's deeds, they would be too many to declare. We are so blessed and God has given us so much.
Listen, I know that we all go through things in life. I have things going on right this very minute that keep me constantly on my knees before God. But I have found that when I am intentional in finding things in my life to praise God for I feel better.
I am not dismissing the hard stuff but I am saying that I am making a choice to not put all of my energy into these things. After all God has been faithful to us regardless of our present circumstances right?
So what are you thankful for? Think about it. It could be something you consider a big or small thing in your life. Maybe it's something that the Lord has done in the past for you or a loved one. I am going to write these things in my journal I would also like to share some of the things that I am thankful for with you. Believe me the list is much longer than I can write here but these are just some of the things.
Ann's Thankful List.
I am truly thankful for my relationship with Christ as my Father and Lord.
I am thankful for my wonderful husband and children.
I am thankful for my friends and family.
I am grateful to God for his provision for me and my family.
I am thankful to Him for making a way for my son to stay in college even though I lost my job and all of our bills were based on two incomes.
I am thankful to God for good health (especially since I don't always take care of myself the way that I should).
I am thankful that the Lord is revealing to me my purpose and allowing me to walk in it.
I am thankful for God's unfailing love, faithfulness and His grace, mercy and favor.
I am also very thankful to God that He knows everything about me and He loves me anyway.
Father, we thank You so much for all of the things that you have done. You are always there for us regardless of the situations we face in life. You have been better to us than we have been to ourselves. Thank you for keeping our families safe from harm. Thank you for providing for us regardless of the economy or any other circumstances beyond our control. Please help us to be more intentional in having a heart of thankfulness not just during the holiday season but all throughout the year. We love you always. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Take some time to write down the things that you are thankful for. Write these things in your journal and refer back to them daily but especially on days where it seems like you don't have anything to be thankful for. I would love to hear about your thankful list. Join the conversation on Facebook.
2 Corinthians 7:4 (NIV)
I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.