How do we thank God no matter what?

Is this the year we sit around our Thanksgiving tables in fear and loathing, wondering where did it go amok? Do we rattle off our list of thanks with all the enthusiasm of reciting the multiplication tables?

I’ve lived through elections since the late 70’s when I became eligible to cast my ballot. Saturday Night Live heavily influenced my choice for Carter as I’m sure it’s influenced many a generation since. I think their ‘campaign slogan’ was “Carter, he’s taller”. I hope today’s young voters are smarter than my post-hippie crowd.

From all media outlets, social and network, our country seems to be collectively grieving the election results. It would seem clear this will not be on our gratitude list. We won’t be saying thanks for President-elect Trump or his family. We won’t be adding to our gratitude litany the electoral process or free public election process to all registered voters (unless they voted like us).

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I suppose we’ll hang our heads as we mumble our thanks for food, family and faith. Those are the big three around our table said with genuine gratitude. We’ve lost most of our parents and know how this life passes in a flash. We know the faith instilled in us from our family and those two go hand in hand. We will be forever thankful for both.

Hudson Thanksgiving

Hudson Thanksgiving

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But what of the hard things in our life? The job that didn’t come through, the man who walked out on his wife and newborn, an unknown future, the crumbling marriage?

How do these parts of life fit in with gratitude?

“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 the Message

How do we thank God “no matter what happens”?

I don’t know how to find thanks for mama’s Alzheimer’s but I’m thankful that it brought my sister and I closer.

I can’t mouth the words “thank-you” for addiction and relapse but my heart has been softened to those struggling with this disease.

We didn’t give thanks for my brother’s cancer diagnosis but we were filled with gratitude for the successful surgery. Did we miss thanking God for family and friends who came closer together and supported us during that time?

When we gather around the Thanksgiving table again this year, I don’t think our gratitude will be for the chairs that now sit empty. The chairs once filled by my uncle and my husbands parents. We’ve given thanks for their presence but their absence still brings sorrow.

I don’t know the answer to giving thanks in all things. I can only pray to the One who is worthy.

Our Most High God, give us hearts that can sing your praise in easy times as well as the hard. Let us know your presence when the way is dark as we know your presence in the light. May we cry with those who cry and dance with those who dance knowing you are always a good God. Help us to see past our wants to your will. Help us to count all as grace.

More about Debby Hudson

Where do you find grace? Inside the church walls? Around the dinner table with your family? For years, grace was not much more than the prayer we said before meals or a biblical concept. Then I met a group of men who had, as we say, reached bottom. They welcomed me to Graceland. They showing me grace can be found in the darkest of places. I'm still searching and learning. I hope you'll want to come along.

8 thoughts on “How do we thank God no matter what?

  1. Annie Rim

    This, Debby. This is exactly why we take the time to sit together and remember what we’re thankful for. We write our “thankful leaves” every night and it’s been hard. But, finding hope in the everyday. That’s where I’m at, and it’s been good.

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      Finding hope is always a good place to be Annie.

      Reply

  2. sarahgirl3

    Years later, I can’t find the good in losing my Mom, but I am always thankful for her life. We have to choose to find the good, even if it feels like a tiny crumb.

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      I sure understand that Sarah. We’ve never made sense of mama’s Alzheimer’s and why God let her linger though it wasn’t near as long as some do. There seems to sense but we’re thankful for the life they lived. Yes, even crumbs bring gratitude.

      Reply

  3. Valerie Sisco at Grace with Silk

    Debby,
    I love the honesty of your heart in this post! It is hard to thank God for the difficult and heartbreaking things but you’ve managed to look beyond those challenges and peel back the silver lining for a peek at God’s goodness. Love your family photos of those gathered round the table and isn’t it nice for us in Florida to eat our holiday dinners outside? We usually eat Christmas at my sister’s then gather round the pool for coffee and dessert! 🙂

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      Thank you Valerie. We’ve had Christmas dinner on our patio too – no pool but a short drive the beach is pretty nice. Last year we sat at a sidewalk table on the beach on Christmas day with a Santa wearing shorts and tropical shirt but sweating under his cap. Love it!

      Reply

  4. hopeful50

    I, for one, am happy about the election results. So, that WILL be a grateful on our list this year! 😉

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      And I’m grateful we have the freedom to exercise our choice, Susan. Not something to ever take for granted.

      Reply

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