Art by French Press Mornings, lettering by Alyssa Martin
I don’t know about you, but it usually takes me a few repeated lessons (several times, in fact) for my thick skull to actually GET what I need to learn. That’s why I’m SO glad Thanksgiving comes around every single year. What better way for us to be reminded to live with a spirit of thanks than for it to be an annual holiday? I surely need the reminder!
It can be extremely easy this time of year to be like a rebellious teenager and say, “Well, since everyone else is saying everything they’re thankful for on Facebook EVERY SINGLE DAY, than I’m just going to be off of Facebook this whole month.” or “BAH HUMBUG…why are people only thankful THIS month?” Complain complain complain, I tell ya. I’ve been guilty myself. BUT that’s not a very good excuse to diminish our thankful spirit. The truth is, those people are normally finding something to be thankful for in the midst of their ordinary, every day life. We should all have this kind of attitude!
Ya know, it takes discipline, prayer, and the Holy Spirit to be in a constant state of thankfulness. Life gets tough. Really, really tough, doesn’t it? It’s easy to focus on our negative circumstances. Job loss. Loneliness. Marital troubles. Divorce. Temptations. Financial struggles. Physical ailments. Relational disputes. Bad weather. Maybe even something as simple as poking your eye with your mascara brush…again. Those situations (among many others) can be extremely tough, and there is ALWAYS something to complain about. ALWAYS. However, this is no excuse to have a negative attitude!
Let’s get real…when you think about people you love spending time with, are they people who are negative all the time? For me, that’s a NO! My attitude starts to become exactly like that…I don’t like that version of me!
Proverbs 17:22 says it perfectly!
“A cheerful heart is good medicine; but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Are you ever around a crushed spirit? Or do you have one yourself? That demeanor sucks the life out of your bones! It’s in scripture!
Ladies, having a grateful spirit literally CANNOT be done on our own. Our flesh gets in the way too much. I love what Adrian Rogers said…
“Living with gratitude is not a human way to live, not a natural way to live – it’s supernatural. And this kind of thankfulness only comes out of a vital relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Holy Spirit is the substance of it, the source of it, and the strength of it. We are to be filled with the Spirit, and we are to be giving thanks. And that’s the only way we can do it.
Whether you’re in a prison, as Paul was, or enjoying your Thanksgiving Day dinner, you can praise God. I’m telling you it will change your life. Bitterness, fear, self‑pity, ungratefulness, and negativism will go out of your life if you will practice the grace of gratitude. It’s possible when you let the Holy Spirit fill you.
I know you and I both can name something every single day that we’re thankful for. But even if you can’t see a silver lining in your circumstances, you can always praise God for who HE is. ALWAYS.
“Rejoice always.” That’s the charge in 1 Thessalonians 5:16. No matter the circumstance, the Lord will never fail you. He will never change. He’s always faithful. Always good. Always just. Always loving. Constantly the one who desires to fill you with joy, that you might be a blessing to others. As another Thanksgiving season is upon us, allow its yearly presence to remind you of the presence of Jesus in your life. Be thankful for the things in life that certainly get overlooked in the every day. The very breath you breathe is a gift. Most of all cherish the giver of life! I want to be someone people enjoy being around—someone who is medicine to those hurting, dry bones. Not someone who sucks the life out of people! Pray for the Holy Spirit to fill you with a life giving presence to all you encounter.
Tyler and I are particularly thankful for this little life changer this year! This guy brings us so much joy!
Citrus Cranberry Relish for the Holidays (Totally YUM!)
Makes 8 servings
2½ c. fresh cranberries
2 oranges, coarsely chopped
1 red apple, coarsely chopped
1 small Bosc pear, coarsely chopped
¾ c. sugar
¼ c. light corn syrup
1 c. pecan pieces, toasted
In food processor, combine first six ingredients; pulse for 30 seconds or until well chopped. Stir in toasted pecans and spoon into bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Total time: 5 minutes