I turn to these verses often because I desperately seek the peace promised there. I struggle with fear and anxiety. God has brought us through every adverse circumstance, but I still struggle with trusting His faithfulness.
The little “with thanksgiving” part tucked in up there is what God uses to get me back on track. The fear and anxiety take over when I’m focused on the circumstances---the bills that need to be paid, the major plumbing project and car repairs that popped up unexpectedly, my concerns for my younger daughter’s health and well-being, the need to be present for my older daughter as she struggles to fill the shoes of sibling to a child with special needs, my marriage’s need for time to grow and thrive. The busyness of a schedule filled with therapy and specialist appointments in addition to activities like church, dance lessons, field trips, and play dates doesn't help.
When I stop to give thanks for the blessings in our lives (and there are many, starting with food to eat, a place to live, and family and friends who love us), I begin to focus on God, who has given us all of these gifts, who has never failed to provide for our needs, who will not fail us now. The anxiety eases its death grip. I am able to breathe.
In looking for each day’s gifts and giving thanks, I am able to anticipate God’s work on our behalf, to hope again. And that’s when the peace comes in---in trusting Him and His great love for us.
Father, help me to remember to turn to you in thanksgiving and praise when the pressures of life threaten to strangle me. Help me remember that your love for us is greater than the love I have for my husband and children and that your faithfulness is something we can count on. Thank you for the good gifts you have blessed us with this year. Amen.
~ Jennifer A. Janes