From Hope Valley (Week 38): Finding Thanksgiving When You Feel Brokenhearted

November 22, 2017

One of my favorite parts of the 7th episode of season 3 was the conversation that took place between Abigail and Pastor Frank in this beautiful scene. There are so many times in life when it feels like we are being tested beyond are limits and like Abigail we find ourselves at the end of our rope. Circumstances can seem to pile on again and again and soon we feel crushed and brokenhearted under the weight of it all. 

And as we approach this holiday season with Thanksgiving before us tomorrow, I am well aware that many of you are having some "Abigail moments" in the kitchen like what was portrayed in this scene. You are bravely and courageously putting on a smile, cooking the huge thanksgiving meal, but inside you feel like weeping. This beautiful scene gently reminds us that in the midst of all of the sad and hurt the one thing that we can find thanksgiving for is that there is a plan even when we are not seeing it this year. 

In my own life it seems like these past few weeks have been filled with watching some of my dearest friends walk through very difficult situations. From the loss of a 10-day old child to a new Cancer diagnosis to the heartbreak of unresolved family issues to once again dreams of what life would look like right now life is extremely difficult. As we lead up to the holidays I am seeing more and more grief than rejoicing as many are walking through some unbelievable challenges that could never be imagined. 

I get it. I really do. It is hard to find thanksgiving when you are brokenhearted and when your dreams feel like they are turning to dust. Like Abigail you may be having a few crying sessions that come from the deep recesses of your heart. 

Maybe you are a mama who longs to have reconciliation with a child and the holidays remind you of the deep wounds that still exist. You wonder if the holidays will ever hold joy again as you watch families gather and you see the empty seat of the child you raised before you. 

Maybe you are in a marriage where you long to have things thriving and you find that instead of moving forward together you find yourselves drifting farther and farther apart. As you watch happy couples before you, you doubt if joy could ever be found again in your relationship.  

Or maybe you are unemployed and have been trying so hard to find a job with no luck. You dread the upcoming holidays as you struggle to provide for daily needs let alone the "extras" and struggle to have hope. 

Maybe you are struggling through the heartbreaking road of infertility and dread checking the mailbox for the holiday cards that announce more and more births. You weep as you hold the cards, longing for the child you have always prayed for. 

Maybe you are heading to a thanksgiving family gathering that you are dreading. Maybe you are single and longing for the thanksgiving family gathering and find yourself alone again this holiday. Maybe, well maybe, there are reasons that are to painful to discuss and you want to have tomorrow and this holiday season pass as quickly as possible. 

This week I was talking with a dear friend and she said something that I have been reflecting on ever since. She said (in tears) after a difficult situation has arisen, "I just don't understand Rebecca. Why is life so easy for some people and so hard for others?" I cried with her, understanding exactly what she means. Some of you reading this are nodding your heads as you are wondering the same thing.

Life is hard. In my own personal life these past ten years have been filled with difficult circumstance after difficult circumstance. Some of these things I have shared in my books and on the blog- like an ex-fiance' who walked out just a few short months before our wedding to fighting several diseases and illnesses to shattered pain and loss and to dealing with such severe pain and sickness that there have been days that I have wondered if I will be able to take another breath. 

Other things have not been shared in such a public space because they are so incredibly personal and private. Recent days have brought its own challenges and heartbreaks. Life does. Things happen that seem so insurmountable that we think that we will never recover or heal and it often seems like there is tragedy at every corner and heartbreak instead of laughter is what our future holds. 

And yet in this hurt... in these circumstances where it feels like we can't even breathe... there is a thanksgiving that can be found. Not in the food or the circumstances that we long or wish for but in the gift of faith.

I recently came across Psalm 26:3 which states; "For I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance of your faithfulness." I have read this verse once a month for the past four years but this time it really jumped out at me. I was stopped in my tears and forced to ponder... Am I really always mindful of God's unfailing love? And...  if I was wouldn't I be viewing some things in my life that I am going through in a different way?

In tears and hurt I can admit that yes, I would.

In admitting this I am forced to see the concept of Thanksgiving and gratitude in a completely different way then I have considered before. Instead of just listing out my thankfulness I am forced in the painful brokenhearted season to write lists etched deep in my heart of the Lord's goodness and mercy to me each and every day. To be always mindful - not just for this day or for Thanksgiving tomorrow but for each and every day. 

Henry Ward Beecher once said: 

"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!" 

Maybe right now in your grief there isn't anything that you can think of to thank Him for or to find the good in right now. That is okay friends. It truly is. I am reaching out across this space to give you a gentle hug. I promise that as you continue to look He will meet you in tender grace in your unique situation and circumstance. 

For it is in this tender grace that we will find true thanksgiving. Not for a thing or a circumstance or a person. But for Him. 
For Faith. 
For love. 
For Hope

Each and Every day. 

"So I never lose sight of your love, but keep in step with you, never missing a beat."
-Psalm 26:3, the message-
Looking for past From Hope Valley Devotionals? You can click HERE to find a complete listing of all of the devotionals! 

I receive several emails a week asking where you can watch older episodes of "When Calls the Heart". If you have a Netflix account you can find seasons 1-3 there or you can purchase them on Amazon. You can purchase and watch all of the seasons and episodes by clicking on the links below:

*Please note that the quotes used in these weekly devotionals are the sole intellectual property of Hallmark Channel, WCTH, & Crown Media, LLC. These on-line posts are in no way supported, endorsed or affiliated with WCTH, Hallmark Channel, or Crown Media. They are simply encouragement inspired by Janette Oke and this precious show.*

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