Giving Thanks for the Hardest Things
I use a version of this worksheet myself in one of the most lazy ways possible, but it makes it very sustainable.
Here’s my secret:
I have a home laminator (office stores also offer low cost lamination) so I laminated a print out of the sheet and write on it with a dry erase marker each day.
That’s it. I wipe clean each time I’m ready to write again.
Sometimes it’s the morning, sometimes it’s the evening, but the important thing is that I have tried to make it a part of my everyday routine.
I know that there are many planners etc. that include space for reflecting on daily gratitude, and that’s wonderful. But I think the most powerful part of the worksheet included in the resource package is the fact that there’s a section for things that you were struggling to find any gratitude towards.
My largest strides in growing and gratitude have all come from reflecting on the things that I write down in this section – the things I can’t figure out how to be grateful for until I stop, reflect, and allow God into them.
This is where I put things like the one year anniversary of my miscarriage, which was just last week. But then in writing that down and opening it up for prayer and reflection I realized that I am extremely grateful for my growth in faith that was a direct result of the struggle I went through a year ago. I am grateful for the health knowledge I have gained since then, also accompanied by a lot of struggle, but which allows me to make much better decisions for myself and my family know. I am grateful for the friends that came out of the woodwork to minister to us in our sorrow, and still do. In reflecting, I realized there was actually a lot to be grateful for surrounding that horrible day.
I’m never going to be grateful for the fact I lost my baby girl, and I don’t have to be. Please know that is NOT what I’m suggesting. But I can be grateful for the way in which God kept His promise around the horrible situation: working all things together for good for those who love Him.
Life is hard. There’s a lot of sad, terrible, horrible things that happen every day. And we can’t always see where gratitude could even enter into those things. But if we give ourselves space, not only for us to move away from the situation but for God to move in and around us, I have yet to come across anything in my own life that was only bad, through and through. Yes, many bad things that happened, but God is faithful to his promises in Scripture. He does work everything together for good for those who love and serve him.
Sometimes they’ll be things that I write down in the “heard to be grateful for“ section and I can’t find any gratitude that day. Or the next. Or in the next week. But I have found that if I invite God into my healing, in a year there will be something, even something extremely tangential, that I am grateful for.
You never become grateful for the loss of a loved one or another terrible tragedy, and that’s fine. You don’t have to be. But you can find gratitude for the people who showed you love and support during that time. You can find gratitude for the faithfulness of God in those hard days and nights. You can find gratitude for the strength those experiences nurture in you.
It’s not easy. I questioned even attempting to talk about this as “just a jewelry brand” because it’s a hard topic. But I think it matters, and when all is said and done I want to look back on my life and know that I did things that mattered.
It matters to go to God however you are - angry, hurt, sad, betrayed, livid, whatever - and with whatever is in you, ask Him where He is in the hardest things to be grateful for. He can take your yelling. He can take your anger. He just wants you to bring what you have to Him.
He can only show us His movements if we come to Him to see them. And where God is moving there is always reason for gratitude.
Finding gratitude around the things that frankly are the worst is one of the most formative things you can do as a person. It makes you into the kind of person after God’s own heart.
And that, my friend, is the kind of person I want to be. How about you?