2013 has been an incredibly tough year. To recall the words of Queen Elizabeth’s speech on November 24, 1992; this year could easily be labeled my Annus Horribilis.
This year has been filled with unexpected challenges at seemingly every turn. My family has weathered challenges that have taken tremendous physical and emotional tolls. We have said goodbye to people we love dearly. Work stress, financial burdens, personal disappointments that shook us to the core; we have felt many times like packing it all in and calling it quits. Yes, it has been an amazingly challenging year. But it has not been one that was a waste.
Somewhere in the midst of the attacks from every angle, we are growing. When all the distractions and noise of the day fall away, the things that matter – which are not things, by the way – stand firm. Faith, family, love still remain. Old friendships are being renewed and the bonds of family grow even stronger. Love is affirmed and faith restored.
We are learning to pray more and talk less about the things that sit heavy on our heart. To focus on our own family and let go of the other distractions weighing us down. We said goodbye to the parts of our life that needed to be let go of, opening the door to new opportunities and beginnings for us all. We have opened the door to Annus Miribilis, or the “wonderful year” that we stand on the doorway to. And yet, for as challenging of a year as 2013 has been, on this day of Thanksgiving, I give thanks to God for it all.
Give thanks in all circumstances.
–1 Thes. 5:18
Did you read that really closely? It says in all circumstances. That’s not always so easy. It doesn’t says “for” all circumstances, it says “in” all circumstances. So, even if today, you find yourself in the middle of a horrible 2013 and under attack from every angle, you still need to stop and give thanks. I am learning that in the middle of every rotten and wicked situation, God’s fingerprints can be found. In each situation, each circumstance, he has left his imprint and shown me an opportunity for me to be a better me, show his love to another or simply stop and find his beauty in the situation. Yes, we can give thanks in all circumstances, because God is present in every single one.
Today, give thanks. Give true thanks that comes genuinely and sincerely from the heart. When our thanksgiving to God doesn’t lean on the happiness we draw from those around us, but from him, we will find an unspeakable joy and incredible strength. Giving thanks will keep our hearts healthy, open and ready to find love. Yes, the challenges we are bearing may be incredibly difficult and our questions may not have answers, but by giving thanks – even in these circumstances – we will come to know God in ways we never could have imagined.
May your Thanksgiving be blessed, be filled with sincere thanks and your heart be humble to giving thanks for all that you have. Yes, all…