By Dustin Nance
It’s the season for gratitude, a time that we put extra effort into identifying the things we are most thankful for. So it’s no surprise that I’m writing about it this month. However, I want to challenge you that it shouldn’t just be a seasonal focus. It’s a choice we can make every day, in every situation, it’s a lifestyle.
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I read recently, “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Being thankful Helps you appreciate every moment of your life…the good, bad and downright difficult. A good practice is to write down a few things you’re grateful for each night. It will help you focus on what is going right and even help you see opportunities you wouldn’t see without staying thankful.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
Gratitude strengthens our relationship with God and others. It draws people together and builds trust. It produces a better life for you and those around you! Do you like being around people who gripe and complain all the time? I don’t! Those people suck the life out of me.
It’s also important to not just talk about it, but to be about it. Especially in this season these words ring true, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F Kennedy
Live the life of a person thankful to be alive, thankful for the family that is around you, thankful for the growth and change in your life and most important, thankful for the sacrifice that Christ made for you.
I have a personal story that I want to include in this month’s newsletter. I’m reminded of my family’s thanksgiving season two years ago. My youngest daughter Annabel went through open-heart surgery at eight months old. To say it was a difficult time in our life is an understatement. Waking into the recovery room, seeing her strapped down to that bed, with wires and tubes coming out of her chest is the hardest moment of my life.
However, we were surrounded by people that were praying for us and truly Jesus’ hands and feet to us. I will forever be thankful for those who stood with us, cried with us, made us food, prayed with us, and so much more. Through the entire process we tried to stay thankful because truly, without the surgery she wouldn’t have had a long life expectancy. Annabel came through the surgery and recovery time quickly, and better than ever. It took a couple weeks, but she was full of energy and it was visible that the surgery had done its job. If you have had the pleasure of meeting her than you know she is an absolute joy. She may bare some pretty rad scars, but she is better for them.
Looking back, I am more thankful for that surgery and all that happened surrounding it than I am hurt by it. Sometimes at the deepest points of pain and hurt we find what we have to be most thankful for. For me, it’s a God that loves me, my amazing wife, 3 awesome kids and family & friends willing to stand with us in our darkest moments.
I pray this season is one filled with things for you to be thankful for, but most importantly that we can be people that are truly thankful for the life God has given us and show it to the world around us!