Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankful Thursdays Part 2

Africa Trip 2007
If you missed Part 1 of Thankful Thursdays you can check it out here. On to Chapter 2...this chapter was about the relationship between true joy and gratitude. The two are inseparable. You can not live a full life of joy without gratitude. "The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live..." (page 33) Jesus knows more than anyone about pain and suffering. He had to anticipate it, then go through it for us who don't deserve it and with less than 12 hours to go before his crucifixion he chose to give thanks. This blows my mind, but it also makes so much sense. Why waste all our worries and become bitter about something when God always sees the bigger picture and has our best interest in mind? Shouldn't we thank Him in advance for what he is going turn our suffering into? We need to be thankful for the good along with the bad.

"Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever He gives. Thanksgiving is the manifestation of our Yes! to his grace." (page 39) I have to be honest...I had to re-read this chapter a few times to let the power of it sink in. I started thinking about the concept of being thankful in ALL circumstances as it tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and you guys this is a hard, hard concept! I can think of so many circumstances where people might wonder where God was or why God didn't stop something from happening, but giving thanks in everything prepares the way that God might show us His fullest salvation in Christ. "These things prepare the way for God to show us his fullest salvation from bitter, angry, resentful lives and from all sin that estranges us from Him." God loves each one of his children so much and we have to trust His plan for us!

When I think about the times in my life that have been the toughest I can look back on most of them and say I'm thankful that I went through them because I learned something or I grew closer to God because of it. When I graduated and couldn't find a teaching job to save my life I grew closer to God than I ever had. I spent hours in the hammock in my parent's backyard pleading with God and asking Him what He had planned for me. Months went by and instead of a job I got the opportunity to go to Africa on a mission trip with Drew. If I had gotten a job when I thought I needed one, I never would have been able to take 2 weeks off to go on a trip like that! And now I have a job that I love and I wouldn't trade that year without one for anything! Speaking of joy...if the picture below isn't true joy I don't know what is. And that head in the bottom right corner...that's mine. One of my favorite memories of Africa was an African dance party where this woman chose me to be her dancing partner! These people had almost nothing and they taught me more about being thankful than anyone.
So if you skimmed down here's what I wrote above in a nutshell: Joy and gratitude are strongly tied together, you can't live a full life without being thankful in all circumstances! Don't forget to check out these wonderful gals thoughts on chapter 2 as well!

10 comments:

Kristen said...

"Why waste all our worries and become bitter about something when God always sees the bigger picture and has our best interest in mind?"

BOOM girlfriend!

Amen!!! Great post!!!

Rach @ This Italian Family said...

Oh girl, so true! I really do believe that being thankful in all circumstances is truly part of being full of joy!

Katie Cook said...

ahhhh LOVE this picture darlin...wow, that is JOY! And yes, so true that JOY is the byproduct of thanksgiving! thanks for sharing...LOVED this chapter! finally got mine up, hahahha. love Katie

tiff@thecoffeehouse said...

Amen! Beautifully written and such a great reminder!

Tara said...

I love how you tied this in with lessons learned and not being thankful in the moment but being thankful once the lesson was learned. I thought this week's chapter was great and opened up my eyes to some obvious yet, over looked things!

Oh and I'm thankful for you this week friend :)

jillian at faith that laughs. said...

Such a good post/reminder. Love your heart! xoxo

Megan said...

I've definitely been there this past year, trying to be thankful in ALL circumstances, even miscarriage. And it's hard, but wow, it's so amazing!!

meme-and-he said...

these photos are beautiful! and go along so well with this week's chapter :) Love going through this book with you!

Amanda said...

I love the first picture! That sounds like a blessing in disguise. I had a hard time finding a job right out of college too, but it all works out in the end. Sounds like an amazing trip!

Eden Marie said...

What a wonderful post. Beautiful pictures. Beautiful message. Being thankful is something that I think we all need to remember and keep in mind. XO