Thankful in All Things

Thankful by Katie @home2family

By Roxanne Parks

Years ago I was challenged to create new habit, that of journaling “Eucharisteo,” or thankfulness. After reading Anne Voskamp’s book 1000 Gifts, the Lord forever changed my life outlook. At the time, my father was dying, and my mother was sick. I was their sole caregiver as two of my siblings lived in California and the other two lived in Texas. Our home was in Oklahoma City.

My father was in and out of the hospital for months. During that same time, I was drowning between the hormonal dysfunction of menopause and the hormonal dysfunction of teenage rebellion in my home. My spirit was tested at every turn. After reading 1000 Gifts, I committed not only to recognize things to be thankful for, but also to write them down and give them a name. In time, this totally changed my outlook about everything. This habit has now become a vital lifeline for all difficult things in my life.

Scripture says, In all things give thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Really? All things? Sometimes this is difficult. The Bible does not say “give thanks when things are easy or good or if you like them.” I am thinking there is a giant period at the end of that statement that says “this is God’s will for us!” His good and perfect will? Do I trust our trustworthy God? Do I love Him? Will I obey Him? In all things or just when it is easy?

What I have come to learn is that there are times when giving thanks is easy. Then, there are times of “hard Eucharisteo”–when it is hard to give thanks. During those times, I give thanks as a complete and total act of my will. It is my choice to obey and trust God beyond my own understanding. The choice is not based on how I feel but on my love for God. It is a deep choice to “trust and obey.” It has become a new habit.

Now whenever my spirit starts to be sick with the ways and wiles of this world, I quickly grab my “Eucharisteo” journal and furiously start writing things to be thankful for. This process has proven to be a great anti-depressant. When it is difficult to give thanks but I do so anyway, I bear a greater witness to intimacy with my savior God since I could not do it on my own.

A couple months ago, I was frantically ushered into my mother’s apartment with someone on staff of the senior center where she lived. She had not been answering her door. I was to spend the day with her. When we discovered that she had gone on to be with the Lord, I yelled out “Thank you, Jesus!” It was then I learned that I had made deep, hard thanksgiving a new pattern in my life. What in the heck was I thankful for at that moment? My very words, to my own ears, reminded me of the new pattern of obedience I had developed. This was the hard Eucharisteo. Frankly, I was surprised at my boldness to yell, “Thank you, Jesus!” But at that very moment, I was jolted into reminding myself that He is trustworthy, that His ways are higher than my ways, and that He answered my mother’s prayers, for she had wanted to die in her sleep.

The most amazing thing is that the lady I was with was transformed by my behavior. Only God could have orchestrated such work. She told me  she was forever changed by my bold faith and my heart of gratefulness. God was working in all of this. It all started with a choice to obey God and  pull myself out of the depressing and difficult season that has continued to refine me. Only our God could orchestrate such wise counsel for us. And for that, I am truly grateful!

SISTERS Challenge

Have you started your thankfulness journal yet? What are you waiting for?

*Photo by Katie @home2family

8 thoughts on “Thankful in All Things

  1. Michelle Morgan says:

    So good! Let’s start our own Thankfulness journels❤️😘 I’m thankful for you sweetie! Love you so very much, Mommy

    Sent from my iPad

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  2. Anji Suiters says:

    So so good! Thank you for your heart felt authenticity. It’s so hard to be vulnerable when we are hurting; our emotions can cloud our better judgement. But it’s in our thankfulness (through humility) that God speaks the loudest!! He IS being glorified through your obedience and I am so very touched by your words of encouragement. Thank you again, for sharing the love of Christ. Your trial IS your testimony! Amen, Sister.

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  3. Katelyn Tate says:

    I lost my job in this past October. I have been in a depressed season as my Grandmother – who raised me since age 10 is now declining in health and was just put in a nursing home. All I can do is dwell on it. So a year ago this very same book “1000 Gifts” was given to me. I started my list and haven’t journaled since August. Holy Spirit kept whispering in my thoughts- “the list”. I had been avoiding looking for it until finally I had a bad day and felt a sense of urgency to find it. I looked through my boxed desk items from where they took everything at work off of my desk and out of my drawers and put it in a box where they handed to me out the door. I’ve been avoiding this box in my trunk. Well after searching through the forbidden box it wasn’t anywhere to be found. I knew it had to be though because my journaling from that book always stayed at work. I then felt I needed to ask my old cubicle mate if they had noticed them throwing away papers. She found the list. It’s already changed me through out journaling but haven’t found the courage to let it fully. I’m getting that list tomorrow from my ex coworker. I’m going to have to journal a tough one tomorrow- I’m still thankful for that job. It got me up on my feet. I do miss it but I’m so thankful for it to be on my resume too. Trying to know God is good all the time and all the time he is good. Trying to trust now he will lead my walk. I’m so confused and lost. Thanks for sharing your story. On these sleepless nights it’s encouraging.

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