Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Day 34

Day 34... the first day of the second half of The Thankfulness Experiment.  Kinda exciting, huh?  I really enjoyed reading what you've learned so far... thanks for sharing your own personal stories about this experiment.  Thanksgiving is such a powerful tool... it can change our thoughts, which then changes our attitudes.  Pretty amazing how simply choosing thankfulness can have such a positive impact on our lives. 

And now that we're experiencing the benefits of thanksgiving, we can better understand why God tells us to "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for us in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  He wants us to give thanks because He knows we benefit from it. 

Remember how I told you I was haunted by 1 Thessalonians 5:18 because it tells us to give thanks in ALL circumstances?  Well, my hubby gave me a new way to think about this verse... one that makes the "all" a little bit easier to digest.  Are you ready for this?  He pointed out another small word.  He reminded me that the verse tell us to give thanks "in" all circumstances, not "for" all circumstances.  Aha!  So when I had my toilet trouble, while I was not excited "for" the sewage mess, I was thankful "in" the circumstance by recognizing my rug didn't get contaminated, I had a plunger and paper towels combined with bleach to clean up the mess, and my house didn't stink as a result of the sewage pooling on the floor.  Isn't it amazing how one word can change your perspective?

While this new perspective based on the word "in" is helpful, there are lots of life experiences that make it super difficult to choose thanksgiving.  Like how can you be thankful when your loved one is dying?  Or when your child is sick?  Or when you desperately want to be married, but the right mate hasn’t come along yet? Or when the pregnancy test is negative again? Or when someone hurt you really bad?  Or when…. You fill in the blank….

We are still called to be thankful when we are going through trails.  But thankfulness during trails calls for something different – something called “gracious gratitude” according to the American Theologian Jonathan Edwards.  Gracious gratitude occurs when we focus on praising God for WHO HE IS rather than just thanking Him for how He blesses us.  Gracious gratitude is all about focusing on God’s character.  To learn more about gracious gratitude, check out the article that houses the information you just read:  Radical Gratitude: Grateful to God in Tough Times by Chuck Colson. Here's a link to the article:  http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/17365
I’ve found gracious gratitude, or focusing on God's character, to be a powerful tool in my prayer life.  When I’m struggling or frustrated, I’m learning to pray scriptures about Who God Is to remind myself that God is so much bigger than my trial and I just need to trust in Him.  Here’s some scriptures that can help us focus on gracious gratitude…

Thank you, Lord that you are close to the brokenhearted and you save those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18

Thank you, Father God, that you can turn my wailing into dancing; and that you can remove my sackcloth and clothe me with joy just like you did with David in Psalm 30:11.

Thank you, Father God, that nothing is impossible with you.  Luke 1:37

Thank you, Lord, that you can do immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine.  Ephesians 3:20

Thank you, Lord, that you are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.  Psalm 103:8

Thank you, God, that you can deliver me from all my fears.  Psalm 34:4

Thank you, Father God, that you can work all things for the good of those who love you, who have been called according to Your purpose.  Romans 8:28
Christmas can be so tough based on your circumstances... whether circumstances from your past or something going on in the present.  So many people hurt, struggle, and mourn behind the scenes.  Focusing on God's promises during these difficult times can bring hope in the midst of trails.  My prayer is that you experience God in amazing ways as you choose gracious gratitude in your circumstances.
Today, I am thankful for...
1.  Potty trained boys that can use the bathroom in the middle of the night without help
2.  Brainstorming
3.  God working behind the scenes to fulfill His plans
4.  My three year old's delight over a trucker seeing him pumping his fist and therefore, honking his horn in return
5.  Girl time
6.  A surprise gift and touching card
7.  Listening ears
8.  Wise counsel
9.  Talking things through with others
10.  Rain drops on the window that looked like shooting stars
11.  The amazing things a three year old can create decorate with a tape measure
12.  My mom's yummy queso chicken for dinner
13.  My mom loving us so much that she has us over for dinner each week - so blessed by this!
14.  Marshmallow World by Francesca Bastistelli
15.  Getting something checked off my To Do List... ah, relief!
Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 6,346 to go...


  1. I am thankful for
    1. Atley sleeping in.
    2. Doing more party shopping at Sams.
    3. Making cookies for family dinner.
    4. Finding out that I will not make these
    cookies again. (they were good but not
    5. Having family dinners.
    6. Seeing the kids running around playing with
    each other.
    7. Making a meal even the kids liked.
    8. Atley going straight to sleep when we put
    her to bed.
    9. Watching U of L play basketball on TV with
    my husband and them winning.

  2. Thankful for...
    1. Hazelnut coffee - I forgot what flavored coffee smelled like
    2. My son seeming to be ok despite the "gagging" scare this morning
    3. Getting the "to-do before baby" checklist finished
    4. A mother who is sympathetic to my situation
    5. Smiles from a friend's baby
    6. sunshine
    7. A comfy sweatshirt
    8. the warm glow of our Christmas tree
    9. A husband who is always willing to help someone else out
    10. Bright, cheery colors (especially once the landscape is gray)
    Meredith B.

  3. I am thankful:
    1. for the smell of fresh fruit...particularly oranges.
    2. Christmas lights in the neighborhood.
    3. the clog in the kitchen sink unclogging itself.
    4. the taste of pomegranates are worth the work of getting them seeded.
    5. for listening my children create a play.

  4. I am thankful for:
    1. airplane rain coats
    2. having lunch with my Mom
    3. the sound of my Dads voice being stronger today
    4. healing
    5. 3 precious children
    6. Paul Alan Nagy
    7. a family that appreciates sitting down to dinner together
    8. A teenage girl who can't wait to go to Youth group each week
    9. the opportunity to help others
    10. Sean Sorleys 18th Birthday tomorrow
    11. celebrations
    12. being 50% stronger than I was 6 months ago
    13. new workout shoes that are helping my feet feel better
    14. The Brave Bible study
    15. My sister
    16. the redecorating in my house coming to a close and everyone feeling the peacefulness and comfort of all the new 'quiet spots'
    17. Mcalisters Tea and lemonade
    18. Jesus being the reason for the season
    19. friends for life
    20. the upcoming weekend and all the fun it holds!!

  5. I am thankful for:
    1. a new mentoring relationship and all the growth that will come forth from it
    2. creative solutions
    3. childcare for our women's Bible studies
    4. our legacy in Christ
    5. the excited chatter of women enjoying fellowship together

  6. I'm thankful for:
    1. beautiful Christmas lights everywhere.
    2. new curtains.
    3. my truck is still truckin' even with it's old age.
    4. smoothies with kefir & fruit.
    5. my nightly big salad for dinner.
    6. my father-in-law's happiness to serve others.
    7. the temperate weather.
    8. the stars I see so clearly out here in the country.
    9. hugs from my girls.
    10. kisses from my man.
    11. on-line Christmas shopping.
    12. finding my wedding rings when I forgot where I'd left them.
    13. my friend Eliza's amazing acting skills.
    14. my friend, Kim's, safe travels, even though it took her almost 24 hours to get there.
    15. beautiful pictures in the Christmas cards we've been receiving.
    16. comfy running shoes.
    17. the blogs my hubby writes that truly make me think about my relationship w/ Christ.
    18. upcoming Christmas activities that revolve around Jesus!!
    19. the manger scenes everywhere reminding everyone the reason for Christmas.
    20. the help that my parents offer so generously.

  7. 1. A peaceful evening
    2. For being needed
    3. For medicine to make my hubby feel better
    4. For being able to start to let a bad situation go
    5. For the season of celebrating Jesus' birth


  8. 1. Appreciation from a coworker.
    2. Packages arriving in the mail (shopping getting done).
    3. My music on the morning commute.
    4. Reading a blog so funny I was laughing uncontrollably.
    5. Talking to my momma.

  9. I am thankful for
    Pumpkin mini muffins
    Being so busy with things I really enjoy
    The fact that my hubby isn't a protectionist neat freak, both my parents are ( love em but it was tuff growing up) we weren't even allowed to sit on our beds, chairs are for sitting they'd say.
    All the little piles ( projects) around my home :-)
    Getting a couple of things crossed off my Christmas to do list.
    Beautiful Christmas pictures of people I adore
    Christmas Lights
    Yankee Candle -Christmas at the beach scent :-)
    Peppermint hand soap
    Knowing in my heart that both my children are happy................
    Kleenex with lotion
    Another day closer to where God wants me to be
    The strength to keep movin forward
    Finding shelter under GOD's wing of protection
    Finding comfort in His loving arms

  10. I am thankful for...
    1. Breakfast with my 2 year old
    2. The smiles that accompany a 2 year old helping me with laundry
    3. Leftover chicken and biscuits
    4. Laughter among kiddos
    5. Girl time
    6. Hot tea
    7. Bibles in a variety of translations
    8. The smiles and joy I get when trying to find something in God'a word....something about flipping the pages versus using my phone!!!
    9. Afternoon rain
    10. Last minute, easy, dessert
    11. Gals to be honest with
    12. A husband who understands how important girl time is and comments on the interactions he sees
    13. Ice cream sandwiches
    14. My season of life
    15. The huge lessons God is teaching me each day

  11. Amanda L.
    I'm thankful for Steve telling me that I'm strong woman.
    I'm thankful for talking with Steve tonight after the girls are in bed.
    I'm thankful for the resolution study.
    I'm thankful for the brave study for speaking up .
    I'm thankful for God.

  12. I am thankful ...
    1) that my son enjoys his youth group each week.
    2) that I was asked to watch a 6 month year old boy for a few hours
    3) for an evening spent with 2 special friends
    4) for my daughter seeking my advice
    5) for this wonderful blog that is helping me grow a little more in thankfulness:)

  13. AmandaL .
    I'm thankful for bunco .
    I'm thankful for winning second place.
    I'm thankful for kelli who host bunco .
    I'm thankful for bunco dinner.
    I'm thankful for all of the talks that we had tonight.

  14. 1. Sales
    2. Shopping
    3. Sleeping in
    4. Long workouts
    5. The care of a dear friend