Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
~1 Thessalonians 5:18
Gratitude saved me. It seemed extremely counterintuitive considering I was at the lowest point of my adult life. What could I possibly give thanks for?
Fortunately, I knew. My heart may have felt more at home in the pit of despair, but even so, I knew I still had much to be grateful for. As I quieted my emotions and began to give thanks for God’s continued graces, my perspective slowly started to change.
Gratitude does that.
Our problems have a way of getting up in our face and blocking our view. <<Click to Tweet
With each thanks-giving, my problem took a step back. It didn’t go away; it just found its proper place in the outlook of my life. Yes, it was still a problem. Yes, I had to deal with it. Yes, it broke my heart. But it wasn’t the beginning, middle, and end of my life. It was a page in my life’s story, maybe even a chapter, but it didn’t define me.
Some may question giving thanks when our hearts are weary worn, as if it’s disingenuous or even delusional. But I’d argue the opposite. The delusion happens when we allow our problems to consume and define our reality. Gratitude restores a proper perspective. Giving thanks reveals reality. It puts God’s good gifts on display where they stand as evidence of His intimate love and care for our hearts in the midst of our trials.
Gratitude consists in a watchful, minute attention to the particulars of our state, and to the multitude of God's gifts, taken one by one.
It fills us with a consciousness that God loves and cares for us, even to the least event and the smallest need of life.
When this feeling is awakened, the heart beats with a pulse of thankfulness.
Every gift has its return of praise.
It awakens an unceasing daily converse with our Father -- He speaking to us by the descent of blessings, we to Him by the ascent of thanksgiving. And all our whole life is thereby drawn under the light of His countenance, and is filled with a gladness, serenity, and peace which only thankful hearts can know.
~H.E. Manning, Daily Strength for Daily Needs
As I chose to intentionally pay attention and give thanks through my valley, I discovered that “unceasing daily converse with [my] Father.” My eyes were opened to His goodness, His power, and, most importantly, His presence. He was walking with me through my valley, and that gave me the courage and confidence I needed to persevere.
Our Father is wise and good. And He knows that when we acknowledge His wisdom and goodness, our hearts and minds are set at rest as He draws us close to His side through gratitude.
Thanks-giving isn't a day in November. It's the proper and beautiful response of a beloved daughter's heart in response to the love and care of her Father. In every circumstance.
O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His lovingkindness endures forever.
Kim Hyland is a writer and speaker, the founder and host of Winsome, an annual retreat for women, and the founder of Five-Fifteen, an organization fighting human sex trafficking through corporate prayer. She is also Jeff’s wife, a mom to five sons and one daughter, mother-in-love to three, and Amelia and Eli’s grandma! Kim’s passions are to love her family and friends well and encourage women through speaking and writing about her imperfect path and God’s perfect plans. Connect with Kim at her blog Winsome Woman and on Facebook & Twitter.