by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson
Exposure to mold a while back triggered some health issues in me, including ongoing fatigue that worsens in warm weather. Last year, our extended warm fall left me afraid I’d never have energy for anything again. I struggled to complete small tasks. One week, I succumbed to hopelessness.
The admonition to “always thank God for everything” doesn’t make much sense until you consider that even unpleasant experiences play an important role in God’s plan. One day I noticed how jewels are displayed against dark backgrounds to showcase their sparkle. I realized that is true for life too. Without an occasional rainy season, we take sunshine for granted. And joys taste sweeter after disappointment.
Several friends prayed for me the week my hope plummeted. Friday afternoon, the heaviness lifted. I shot off three query emails to publishers and finished preparing for an upcoming retreat. A sense of God’s presence energized me.
Thank You, Lord!
God showed His favor in special ways the following days. Two publishers asked to see my book proposal. God worked in the hearts of the women at the retreat where I taught. My daughter and I took a short trip to Boston.
A snafu in our accommodations resulted in an upgrade in our apartment size and location, and a free dinner! When it was time to fly home, I couldn’t believe it when my daughter’s favorite seafood restaurant sat in front of our boarding gate. We enjoyed a delightful lunch between tables of friendly Bostonians.
I hosted a fund-raising event for a ministry, and God moved women to support this outreach. The same evening, I received an email from a publisher offering me a contract on my book.
My son and I participated in a ministry on the University of Georgia campus. After some great conversations with students, my son had a woman pray to receive Christ with him.
All this happened in a brief space of time after months of feeling God was not listening to my prayers.
The Wisdom of Giving Thanks
Why should we give thanks when we don’t feel like it? Because…
- Thanksgiving puts our focus in the right place and opens our eyes to God’s many blessings.The time span of blessing was also filled with hiccups. The weather was cold and raining the days we met outside with students. The Boston Red Sox had just won the World Series and everyone and his sister crowded the streets we wanted to pass. The first place we’d booked to stay was unacceptable. One publisher never responded. Many students weren’t interested in hearing about Christ.
- Giving thanks demonstrates and strengthens faith. And faith, not happy feelings, pleases God (Hebrews 1:6).God rewards those who seek Him. My experience reminded me that just because I don’t see God working doesn’t mean He isn’t working. God knew the good things He had planned for me even when I felt forgotten.
- Giving thanks is good for your health.Studies have shown that thankful people are more optimistic, have lower blood pressure, and experience less stress!
November is a good month to renew the practice of giving thanks. Something as simple as listing three things you’re thankful for at the end of each day is a good start. Exercising our gratitude muscle pleases God and opens our eyes to His daily mercies.
So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord wants…. Always thank God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:17, 20 GW
About the author: Drawing from her walk with Christ, and years as a Christian counselor, coach, and Bible teacher, Debbie W. Wilson helps women give themselves a break so they can enjoy fruitful and grace-filled lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. Her latest book, Little Faith, Big God, is to be released February 2020. She and her husband Larry founded and run Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit counseling, coaching, and Bible study ministry. She is an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach. Debbie enjoys a good mystery, dark chocolate, and the antics of her two standard poodles. Refresh your faith with free resources at debbieWwilson.com.
Join the conversation: What are you thankful for today?