When it’s hard to give thanks…

I know we just celebrated Thanksgiving and this is a time where people give thanks for what they have in their lives. Well, everyone isn’t so thankful around the holidays. While there are many who consider this season a joyful one, there are others that consider this a not so happy season.

To be totally transparent, holidays are hard for me, especially if I’m away from my family. Thanksgiving is especially difficult because I have so many bad memories that have happened around this time. Whether it was a break-up, not being around my family, missing my niece’s birthday, or just a painful experience, things always seem to happen around Thanksgiving time. I can always think of something bad that has happened before I can think of something good that has happened.

Matter of fact, I have spent many Thanksgiving mornings in weeping prayer asking the Lord to take the pain that I feel away. I spent this past Thanksgiving eve laid up on my couch, tears rolling down my face because another year has passed, and I’m still away from my family and of course no significant other to make new memories with.

I know you may think I have it all together, because of all the inspirational posts I put out, but let me tell you, I too have my bad days; I go through it just like you! Holidays aren’t always so happy for me.

I wrote something on social media the other day that said “to live a life for God, doesn’t mean to live a life that is pleasing to the flesh. It’s to live a sacrificial life that’s pleasing to Him.” What sparked this thought was thinking about the call of God on my life. The call of God on my life requires me to live a sacrificial life.

This means being away from my family, being away from family events, and missing monumental moments with my family and friends. But, this is my sacrifice to God! I told God a long time ago; I will go where He wants me to go and do what He tells me to do.

Yes, it’s very tough! I have a lot of sleepless nights. I have a lot of weeping nights. I have a lot of lonely nights, but God has always honored my sacrifices. In some crazy way, in all of my sadness and tears, I can still find peace in knowing that God honors my obedience to Him.

The call of God on your life may not require the same sacrifices I have to face. They may require different sacrifices. Maybe not going to the club, maybe getting a new group of friends, maybe changing jobs, maybe putting drugs down, whatever it is that God requires of you, find peace in knowing that He will honor you with your obedience.

One of my Bible College professor’s, named Matt Pettry, would always say “for every act of obedience, there’s a blessing. For every act of disobedience, there’s a consequence.” I have to believe that even in my sad days, God will honor my obedience to do what He has called me to do.

Even though holidays may be difficult for you, you can still find peace in your sad days. I encourage you to find that thing that drives you and let the peace of knowing you’re doing the right thing rule your mind and heart.

Even in my sad pity party for one, I was still able to someway, somehow, find peace in knowing that I’m supposed to be where I’m supposed to be. I have to keep praying and believing that one day, one holiday, I will be able to share it with my family, my friends, my husband and my children.

When I counsel people, I always tell them, it’s okay to feel sad or cry, but don’t allow yourself to stay there. It’s when you stay in that state of mind that produces a negative downward effect.

The Bible says in Psalm 56:8 “You (God) keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”

God already knows how we feel, how we’re going to act before we even know how we’re going to act. It’s no surprise to God. He is our peacemaker, He is our comforter, He is our Strength.

I know holidays aren’t always the easiest, but let’s try and search for peace in the midst of our storms. Here are a few scriptures for you to remember when times get sad!

Philippians 4:7 – “And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Psalm 46:1 – “…God is our refuge and strength; always ready to help in times of trouble.”

John 14:27 – “”Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Be encouraged that your better days are going to surpass your sad days. And, trust me; I’m speaking it to myself. I’m walking this thing out with you!

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