How to Have a Grateful Heart Despite Heartbreaking Circumstances…

Perspective Makes a Grateful Heart

Life is so hard.  It is full of hurts, disappointments, betrayals, and loss.  It is easy to get bogged down in all that, and forget about all the good things.  One thing I was taught as a child, and has always proved true, is that having a grateful heart can make any situation better.  Focusing on the good things in life makes the bad things seem not so overwhelming.  But as an adult, I know that’s easier said than done sometimes.  

Sometimes it is a diagnosis you didn’t see coming.  Sometimes it is that knock on the door or the midnight phone call that delivers devastation.  Sometimes the proverbial rug gets pulled out from under you, and your life as you knew it is over.  Where is the good in any of that?  How can you find the sun when a category 4 hurricane is blowing your life to and fro?

We did Special Olympics physicals for some kiddos a couple of weeks ago.  It is honestly one of my favorite days of the year.  We don’t get paid to do it, and we don’t want to be recognized for doing it.  It’s just that we can’t stand the thought of some kids not being able to participate because they could not get a physical.  I asked most of the kids I saw if they were ready for Thanksgiving break and what they were most thankful for.  Two kids rocked me to my core.  

The first said he was most thankful for his church family.  If you don’t have a church family, or if you go to church but don’t get that sense of family, then you are missing out.  Find one.  At the hardest times of my life, these people carried me through.  They prayed me through.  They held my hand and my face and looked in my eyes and reminded me of the truth I already knew.  They brought food and held babies.  They loved when love was all that could make it better.  They celebrate with me and love my kids (even when my son mooned the whole congregation during the sermon).  I am thankful for my biological family too, but also for my church family, my friends family, my work family, and my community family.

The second child was almost non-verbal.  He was only able to articulate two or three words during our visit and was working hard to do that.  But when I asked him if he was ready for thanksgiving, he shook his head yes with a smile.  When I asked him what he was most thankful for, he said “talking.”  Wow! When was the last time you thanked God for being able to do something as simple as talking?  When did you last thank him for the ability to see, or to hear, or to feel?  

I read a quote recently that said, “What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today?”  Y’all, we have so much to be thankful for.  It’s not just the big things like a warm home or car that runs.  It is the every day little things that make life worth living.  And it is the ultimate hope we have that Jesus died for us, so that no matter what this life brings, we can trust God’s holy plan for us, and we can know that this life is not the end.  It is just the staging area.  

I hope that today is filled with your favorite foods and your favorite people.  I pray that the list of your blessings grows as you consider every little good thing in your life.  I pray that your heart is full and grateful, despite what circumstances you face.  And I pray that the peace that passes all understanding, that comes from God, helps you face those circumstances steady and strong.  

Happy Thanksgiving! We are so thankful for each of you!