Words of My Life: Thanksgiving 2


In ongoing celebration of my Jubilee year of 50 years in ministry and 70 years of life, I am sharing some of the words of my life. In this month of Giving Thanks I will share two posts with you. You can read the first one here.

It’s almost Thanksgiving.  For many of us, Thanksgiving is a hard time.  Family tensions, hurtful memories, loss of a loved one, loneliness-- all can be so challenging.  And make it difficult to be thankful.

But that is exactly what we need to do.  Give thanks.It has been one of the most important, helpful, even life-changing truths I have learned.God is so clear in Scripture:  Pray about everything, with thanksgiving.  In all things, give thanks. (Philippians 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Why does He say this?  Everything?  All things? How can we do it?He says it because He knows giving thanks is the fastest way to change us.

When we say, “Thank You, Lord,” almost immediately our focus changes. Instead of centering on the pain caused by my circumstances, I center on God. Sometimes it is barely perceptible, but it’s there.  A small shift from fear to faith.

When we say, “Thank You, Lord,” we are saying, “I believe You are God and I believe You are good.  It doesn’t feel like it right now, but Your Word assures me it is true,  I have known it to be true, and I choose to believe it now.”

When we say, “Thank You, Lord,” we are expressing trust in God and His trustworthiness. That step of faith and obedience does a couple of wonderful things. My mind and my emotions quiet, settle, perhaps even relax. I begin to experience peace in the midst of turmoil, hope when there seems to be none.

And in ways I don’t fully understand, saying “Thank You” begins to open doors. It's as if those words said in hesitant trust give God a key to us, to our hearts and minds.  With that key He unlocks doors shut by our pain, our anger, our fear, our resistance. We begin to get glimpses of answers to our prayers, of more steps forward than backward, of new attitudes.  And occasionally of outright transformation.

So my encouragement to you this Thanksgiving season is to do just that:  Give thanks.

How?  Every day, name or write down at least one thing you are thankful for. Can’t think of any?  Then start with things in your own life and relationship with God.  Look over the list in my Thanksgiving 1 post. Try adding one more specific “thank you” each day.  By Thanksgiving Day you would have named 14 different things you are grateful for.

But if one is all you can manage, God will gladly receive that.

And still begin that transforming work in your heart and mind.

What about you?  What’s the first thing you can thank God for?

C 2014 Judy Douglass.