Being the parent of a wayward child who struggles with an addiction, is incarcerated, self-injures, is in a same-sex relationship, suffers with a brain disorder or a host of other issues, makes this a most difficult time of year. Giving thanks is so hard – downright torturous – when your heart is heavy and broken; when you don’t see any answers to your prayers; when you have no idea what the future holds, but it doesn’t look good. It can feel impossible.
I remember a time like this in my own life when I was thought, “How in the world can I be thankful? It’s too hard. I don’t know how. I can’t.”
So, how can you express gratitude in the midst of this trial with your child? Make some time today to identify a few of your Maker’s countless blessings, then offer heartfelt thanks, no matter how you feel. Do it anyway. By faith.
Pastor and author Dr. Charles Stanley says we can still give thanks even when it’s hard in these 3 ways:
1. Offer God thanks with music and song. Get out an old hymn book or go to YouTube and type in the names of a few you remember.
2. Offer God thanks by living your life for Him. Everything you do is an offering to the Lord.
3. Offer God thanks with generosity to others. Ask Him for an idea of what this might be.
I know the holidays are hard. Try to do any of these and see if your heart doesn’t feel lighter, your joy slowly return. By the power of His glorious might I believe you can!
“Always [give] thanks for all things” (Ephesians 5:20).
I agree with theologian, William Law (1686 –1761) in these excerpts from his book A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life:
“If anyone would tell you the shortest, surest way to all happiness—
he must tell you to make it a rule to yourself to thank and praise God for everything that happens to you.
For it is certain that whatever seeming calamity happens to you, if you thank and praise God for it, you turn it into a blessing.
Could you therefore work miracles, you could not do more for yourself than by this thankful spirit, for it heals with a word speaking, and turns all that it touches into happiness.
… it be the noblest sacrifice that the greatest saint can offer unto God.”
Father, grace each parent in pain who’s reading this today the peace, comfort, and strength that can be theirs by offering You this most noble sacrifice – thanksgiving and praise for the heartache they’re enduring with their child. Do a miracle and turn it into a blessing.