Wednesday, November 1, 2017

When Trials Make You Feel Ungrateful

But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
Ephesians 4: 20-24 NLT

When Thanksgiving season rolls around, I start to ponder that magical question. 
What am I thankful for this year? 

But that really isn't the question. The question is really: What do I have to be thankful for? 

Then the 2017 year in review evaluation begins:
Amount of money spent in medical bills _____ 
Number of medical emergencies ______
Was an ambulance or helicopter involved in a medical emergency this year _____
How many things were canceled due to health issues ________
Was a new diagnosis given this year to a member of my immediate family _______

As you can imagine, if these 5 things dictated my yearly evaluation, I might decide I have little to be thankful for. After all, there are many families who took vacations instead of paying medical bills.There are families whose children have never been in an ambulance or had a health crisis ever much less every year. I'm sure there are families who have never canceled exciting plans because their child was in the hospital. Also, I'm pretty sure there are plenty of parents who haven't had to Google a life-changing diagnosis their child just received this year. 

These things are BIG things. A health crisis or new diagnosis can certainly throw even the "strongest" Christian into a very trying mental and spiritual battle. These life-altering, big moments that cause chaos, fear, panic, and worry have a tendency to temporarily cloud my view of the world. If I let them, they can make it hard for me to see other things in my life that are good and worthy of thanks. 

It's easy to forget the obvious things that I'm grateful for in my daily life. After all:
  • I have a safe home with heat and air conditioning. Our air conditioning went out for a few hours this summer, and I was a complete baby about it. Cool air is a blessing! 
  • I have two great kids who love each other. Even though both kids have a diagnosis now, I'm grateful for their lives and a chance to be their mother.  
  • I have a great husband who has put up with me for 14 years. 
  • My good ol' van is still running, providing me with reliable transportation to my job. 
  • Which reminds me — I have a job that I enjoy.
  • I also have some family members who are supportive and willing to help me in the event of a health emergency. 
These are my blessings. These are the things I'm thankful for this year. I don't want the hard times of the year to eclipse the good and simple things. Life has moments of heartache and struggle, but my life isn't all heartache and struggle. 

I don't want to set those trials of the year on a pedestal. I don't want to give them any more attention and energy. Those trials stole joy, time, and resources when they happened. I don't want to give them more time now as I'm reviewing my year. They don't deserve it. I'm sure God is in Heaven wanting me to see my life from a different viewpoint. He wouldn't want me to determine my gratitude based on the "bad" in the year. He'd want me to look around and see all the good in my life.  

What about you? Are you struggling with thankfulness this year? What's keeping you from being thankful? 

Let's Pray: 
God, Help those of us with diagnosed children keep a Godly perspective this Thanksgiving season. Let us see the blessings in our lives that we often overlook. Let the positives stand out and not the negatives. Lord, let us be thankful that we've survived the trials of the year and not allow those trials to trump the good parts in our lives. Help our attitudes to be right, and keep our minds renewed on things You want us to focus on. Amen!



  1. Thank you so much for this important lesson and reminder. Thanks for the encouragement. Glad to know I am not alone in this struggle.

    1. Thanks for reading! It’s that time of year when those thoughts can try to tell a negative story of our lives, but we can tell the real story!