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Sacrifice of Thanksgiving | Multitude Monday

October 10, 2010

Anything that makes me need God is (ultimately, in the truest sense) a blessing.  -Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy

This week in Choosing Gratitude, I read the chapter “But Not without Sacrifice.” The jist of the chapter was how do we give gratitude for the part of our life that’s painful and hard? That doesn’t go the way we want. There were stories from the lives of everyday, unheard of people as well of famous ones like Richard Wurmbrand and Dr. Helen Roseveare to “put flesh” on what this concept looks like.

The chapter makes the point that life is full of “sacrifice either way. If we go on without gratitude–choosing to be bitter, constantly bemoaning our fate–we force ourselves to live in already unhappy conditions with the added drag of our gloomy disposition. Unwilling to stay mindful of the blessings we enjoy in spite of our difficulties, as well as the strength and sensitivity God grows best in us through hardship and loss, we sacrifice peace. We sacrifice contentment. We sacrifice relationships–and freedom and grace and joy.”

So instead of sacrificing all of those good things, why not just make one sacrifice instead. That of thanksgiving. DeMoss asks the all-important question: “Why not see what could happen if you let the pain drive you closer to His side (emphasis mine)?”

And so, this week I’m going to look back over the hard things of my life and share what I’ve discovered to be thankful for in the midst of what has been challenging and painful.

21. My family lived for a year with my grandparents, while my dad was unemployed, in an unfinished basement with boxes stacked around us to make walls of some sort. I was 13. My mom gave birth to my youngest sister during this time and there was much extended family strife, per usual, only now we lived in the midst of it and were targets of it. I distinctly remember learning the secret of contentment during that time. It was also when my walk with the Lord really became my own and I started having daily time with the Lord to read His Word.

22. I’m thankful that moving around a lot taught me to not be afraid of new places, people, or circumstances.

23. The dissolving of my parents’ marriage and that of my in-law’s marriage taught me that in my marriage I can rewrite tragedy. That I need to start early in marriage to work towards oneness and not let important issues, disagreements, or sinful patterns remain hidden or not dealt with. How thankful I am for that hard lesson, despite the fact that I’d rather have learned it a different way.

24. Through that same trial I’m thankful for knowing the importance having strong relationships within the church for accountability.

25. I’m thankful for learning not to put husband or children first, but to reserve that place for God alone.

26. Unemployment taught me that peace doesn’t have to do with my circumstances . . .

27. that God will provide for all my needs . . .

28. and I can trust Him.

29. I’m thankful that through every trial, the Lord is near.

What hard things are you thankful for today?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 11, 2010 8:03 am

    That is so excellent, Danielle. And, I love how you go back through past events, too. I have done that, and I can attest to how important it is to “re-write” those events so to speak in our minds’ eye. So important and God glorifying to go back in our minds/hearts and make a choice to give thanks for those things and see them through a redemptive lens of God’s love and merciful disposition toward us.
    E.Clancy and I were just commenting yesterday to one another how it is the things that reveal our neediness, weakness and frailty as humans that thrust us toward the feet of Jesus. Yet, no matter how often we learn this lesson, it seems we are prone to wander and crave to be self sufficient. So, I am standing with you today and going to give thanks for my chaotic, disorderly home that is driving me to need Jesus today.

  2. October 11, 2010 9:27 am

    life is full of “sacrifice either way. If we go on without gratitude–choosing to be bitter, constantly bemoaning our fate–we force ourselves to live in already unhappy conditions with the added drag of our gloomy disposition. Unwilling to stay mindful of the blessings we enjoy in spite of our difficulties, as well as the strength and sensitivity God grows best in us through hardship and loss, we sacrifice peace. We sacrifice contentment. We sacrifice relationships–and freedom and grace and joy.”

    wow. I need to chew on that – wise words!

  3. October 11, 2010 9:44 am

    Danielle, thank you so much for sharing this! Light and Truth, from the One who is Light and Truth!!! Blessings to you this Monday……..Cate

  4. October 14, 2010 9:29 pm

    Well written, Danielle. Exactly what I need to ponder during this time. By God’s grace I am learning through what I am experiencing with my health right now to train my mind not to turn left (grumbling) or right (complaining) but straight ahead. I used to think there was something phony about making a list of thanks when my heart was all entangled with anger, fear, sadness, grief, etc, kind of like the kid who huffs “sorr-ee!” because Mom says, “A;pologize right now. Say sorry” and the kid does it w/o meaning it. However, I have experienced the genuine peace that comes from LOOKING FOR BLESSINGS in the midst.

    For me, right now, I am not thankful that my body is weak, in pain, and headed for surgery.
    I would rather feel strong and productive, and never face anesthesia, recovery, or dependence on my family for an extended length of time, cut off from people. Been there, done that. But I am thankful for modern technology and medicine and doctors and insurance and a family who is willing and skilled at taking care of the home and me. I’m thankful that there is a solution to the pain (I trust). I’m thankful that I’m not the first to go thru this. So many reasons to be thankful and I don’t feel phony. I”m nervous at times, but gratitude has a way of bringing peace.

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