Caravan Sonnet: finding thanksgiving and gratitude in the hard seasons of life

11/9/15

finding thanksgiving and gratitude in the hard seasons of life

"The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!" 
-Henry Ward Beecher-

Tis the season to be thankful isn't it? The time of year where our social media sites are flooded with people listing out things that they are thankful for, where friends share their gratitude and where the world seems intent on expressing all of the blessings that they experience everyday. I get it... I honestly do. I think I used to chime in and express all of these things myself... but lately in this hard season of life I have been struggling to find the things that I am thankful for. 
A couple of years ago I came across a verse in the book of Psalms that has humbled and encouraged me on this journey. It was from the 26th chapter, verse 3: "For I always have been mindful of your unfailing love § have lived in reliance on your faithfulness." I have read this verse once a month for the past two years and yet this year it hit me differently then it even did last year when I wrote a post about "finding gratitude".
Life is hard. These past eight years have been filled with difficult circumstance after difficult circumstance in my life. Somethings I have shared - like a fiance' who walked out months before our wedding to fighting a couple of diseases (Advanced Late Stage Lyme Disease and Cancer) to shattered dreams to loss and to sickness and pain so great there are days that I have wondered if I will be able to take another breath. And there have been other things in these last 8 years... but many of them are to personal to share on this site. 

Just when I feel like I have "caught my breath" and say to myself, "okay, that was the worst it will get" something else seems to happen. This fall has brought its own challenges and heartaches. Life does. Things happen that seem so insurmountable that we think we will never recover or heal and it often seems like there is tragedy at every corner and heartbreak instead of laughter at what our future holds.
As I lay here I am forced to consider again Psalm 26:3. Am I really always mindful of God's unfailing love? And it hits me like a bucket of cold water... if I was... wouldn't I be going beyond viewing some things in my life that I am going through in a different way (like I talked about last year) to actually finding thanksgiving and gratitude in the hard seasons of life?

Yes, I would.
 As I tearfully consider all of this I am forced to not only confront the questions in this waiting time with courage and to use time in this hard season well, but I also find thanksgiving and gratitude showing up in new ways than I could ever have imagined. 

I am challenged deep in my soul to go beyond writing lists on social media to writing lists etched deep in my heart of the Lord's goodness and mercy to me each and every day. Psalm 26:3 has shouted deep to my heart about being always mindful of God's love- not just for a season but for each and every day. 

And in God I am finding gratitude. Not for a thing, item, or person. But for Him.
I am realizing anew that no matter what else is happening circumstantially in our lives at the end of the day saying "it is well with my soul" is the deepest gratitude we can express, not because of what we experience now but realizing that our thanksgiving and gratitude goes beyond what we see right now to the hope of what is to come:

"On that day it will be said, 'Look, this is our God; we have waiting fr Him, and He has saved us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him. Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation."
-Isaiah 25:9-
I am learning that gratitude accepts from God the present and looks towards the future with hope because we are always mindful of His love. Perhaps that is why the woman described in Proverbs 31 could "laugh at the days to come". Her strength (and her dignity) were found in the One who has given us life. What deeper gratitude could there be then to show ultimate trust by laughing at the days to come?

There may not be anything that you can think of to thank Him for or to find good right now in your brokenness and in this hard season that you are experiencing and that is okay friends. BUT I promise as you keep yourself "always mindful" of His love He will show Himself to you more and more. Rest in Him. 
As I live mindful of God's unfailing love I am overwhelmed each day by the blessings that the Lord has surrounded me with. My eyes go off of my circumstances and onto His love. I am overwhelmed and humbled by the joy that is found by being mindful of God's love and find myself overwhelmed with gratitude for the hundreds of blessings He gives me each day. 

Hold on to His unfailing love and I promise that you will find slowly and surely not only find thanksgiving and gratitude but our merciful God who is tenderly walking with you during this hard season of life. 

"Let us acknowledge the Lord, let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rises, He will appear. He will come to us like the winter rains..."
- Hosea 6:3-

8 comments:

  1. I always love your attitude! I agree - life is HARD, but we also have so much to be thankful for. Thanks for helping redirect our focus!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww thank you friend for your sweet words of encouragement!! I so appreciate your kindness and all of your encouragement! You are TRULY a blessing!!! I hope that you have a fantastic weekend!!
      Blessings,
      Rebecca :)

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Thank you so much Angela for stopping by and leaving a comment! I so appreciate your time! I hope that you have a wonderful Friday!
      Blessings,
      Rebecca :)
      p.s. I would have loved to email you back directly but unfortunately you are a "no reply blogger". I hope to connect with you more in the future!

      Delete
  3. I love this piece! I always have to try to take a step back and make sure I'm giving thanks to everything in my life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Alanna! I so appreciate your sweet words and that you took the time to stop by, read, and leave a comment! I hope that you have had a wonderful week and that you have a lovely weekend!
      Blessings,
      Rebecca :)

      Delete
  4. Wow...just wow. So beautiful. I love how you said you want gratitude to be etched into your heart instead of just the occasional post on social media. The way you are fighting to cling to God's goodness in the midst of SO many hard circumstances is beautiful. Your faith and your heart are beautiful and vulnerable and inspiring and I'm so glad to have found you in the blogging world!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such a sweet comment on this post Lauren!! Thank you so much Lauren!! Your words are such an encouragement to me in the midst of this difficult journey!! I am so thankful that we have connected in bloggy world!! You are truly a blessing!! I hope that you have a wonderful Friday and a wonderful weekend!!
      Blessings,
      Rebecca :)

      Delete