If you’re one of my regular blog subscribers, you’ve probably noticed I unexpectedly haven’t blogged in over a month, which is a little odd for me. But there’s a good reason for that.
In fact, a lot of good reasons. Some situations in my personal life went haywire, and my heart has been aching. This is one of the hardest seasons I have ever experienced, and there have been days when I didn’t know if I could get through. Days when God’s strength and my faith are the only reasons I got out of bed. Days full of “whys”. Days when I’ve questioned God about suffering, the unfairness of life at times, and unanswered prayers. I’ve carried the weight of overwhelming emotions, fear, heartache and hurt. And if I’m honest, I really cannot say I’m thankful for what’s happening in my life right now. At least not yet.
But despite my circumstances, there is one thing I can say for sure. One thing I heard myself saying in prayer just a couple weeks ago. One thing consisting of five simple words that poured from my heart, actually catching me off guard. One statement that when I spoke it aloud, changed my heart.
I still love you Lord.
My Proverbs 31 devotion today talks about not only being thankful, simply because it’s the season for it, but being thank-full, simply because the One who blesses lives in our heart. Little did I know when I wrote this devotion months ago, that my own words would be what God would use to remind me to be thankful and grateful for Jesus and His ways, even when I’m not feeling it. To still love Him, even when it’s hard.
When life is going good, it’s easy to feel thankful. When we’ve had a great year, it’s natural to spend this season of Thanksgiving counting our blessings. Yet when it’s not been a good year, and our hardships have fogged our view of our blessings, it’s not quite as easy to feel thankful — much less express our gratitude to the One who doesn’t seem to be blessing us in the ways we had hoped and prayed for.
That’s why Thanksgiving is the perfect time to ask ourselves a very important question.
Despite everything – do we still love Jesus.
It might be a hard question. A trying self assessment. A true test of faith. But it’s a question that can serve as an indicator of whether our heart is thank-full in all times, or just thankful in the good times. A question which compels us to examine if we are not only thank-full when He gives, but thank-full when He takes away.
Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.” I can’t help but notice how this verse doesn’t say “give thanks to him and praise his name if he blesses the way we asked for”. Or “give thanks to him and praise his name if we don’t have any problems, worries or disappointments.” Nope. It says gives thank and praise His name. No strings attached.
I have plenty of unmet blessings I could grumble to God about. But if I choose to instead purposely focus on all the blessings I do have to be grateful for, my gratitude list will always be longer.
As promised in today’s P31 devotion, I’m giving away two simple (yet cute and adorable) Gratitude Journals, because gratitude is something we have to practice. I’ve learned being thank-full doesn’t always come naturally, and intentionally keeping track of our blessings equips us to be able to say “I still love you Lord”, no matter what.
To enter to win one of the journals, leave a comment sharing what you are most grateful for this Thanksgiving. Or, leave a brief comment sharing something difficult in your life which forces you to focus on having a thank-full heart which can always say “I still love you Lord”.