Thankful even in pain

There is so much to be thankful for even when we are in pain from having a child that is breaking our heart.  You may say, as  I once did, “How can I?  There is nothing to be thankful for! ”   I know,  I know . . . it is so easy to get stuck focusing on all the negative, especially when there may be a lot of it!  (An addiction, an eating disorder, self harm, an unexpected pregnancy, arrests . . .  the list goes on and on.)  One thing that has helped me so much is learning to look for something to be thankful for every day, even if it is just that the sun is out, or that I got out of bed.  (sometimes you have to get down to the bare essentials of life!)  It protected me from self-pity.  It helped me not feel so sorry for myself!

As we are now on the verge of Easter I find myself thinking a lot about what Jesus did for sinful humanity, and that includes me!  I am drawn to the cross and all it represents to me as a Christ follower.   It naturally pulls me outside of myself.  After all, it was his selflessness that took him there!

Father, today I am thankful for my health.  I am thankful for my family – my loving, faithful, husband (of over 33 years!), 3 wonderful children, incredible ‘daughter in love’, precious granddaughter and 91 year old dad who is still living with us.  I am thankful for awesome friends.  I am thankful for a great church.  I am thankful for my home.  I am thankful for beautiful flowers in my yard.  I am thankful for hearing birds sing every morning.  I am thankful for music that lifts my soul, for books that help me and for  Bible verses that comfort me.  One I really like on this topic is:  “Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”  (I Thessalonians 5:17).   I am thankful for the purpose I have found in sharing my experiences with other hurting parents.

I am thankful that my ‘challenging’ daughter (Renee) is still alive.  I am thankful that she tells me she loves me and gives me a big hug almost every time I see her.  I am thankful for our relationship.  I am thankful that she is “working” on her recovery.  I am thankful that you have given her the gift of singing.  I am thankful that even in the midst of pain and uncertainty I can have Your unspeakable Peace.  I am thankful that even when I thought she might not live through the night You were with me.  I am thankful that when everything was so dark, chaotic and out of control, You were in control.   Thank you that you are able to bring purpose out of our pain.

When times are tough help me continue to choose to give thanks instead of grumbling, complaining or feeling sorry for myself.  Help me shift my focus like this more of the time than I do today.  There is always something to be thankful for.

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