Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Although I truly believe thankfulness is a lifestyle, sometimes it's nice to have one whole day devoted to recognizing all the little blessings in life that call us to be thankful. The things that quickly become expected and deserved, rather than evidences of God's grace on our lives. This verse is one that I frequently have to call to mind, as thankfulness is not always free flowing from my heart. But yet, thankfulness is something God commands from us. And not just in the good times, but in ALL circumstances. If we believe, truly truly believe, that God works all things for the good-- then we are free to be thankful in all circumstances knowing with full confidence that He makes everything work together for our good. Is this how I always feel in my heart? No. Not at all. But I can decide in my mind to be thankful before my heart even feels it, and I can pray that God would soften my heart. And He is faithful, He always does. Thankfulness is not a feeling, it's a decision.
And we have so, so much to be thankful for.
I am thankful for God's grace on my life. That He chose to save me before I even knew Him. That because of Jesus my sinful nature was replaced with holiness, righteousness, purity, and grace. That He is all sufficient and more than I could ever need. That I could study His Word all day everyday and still not know all there is to know about His character. That I am constantly in amazement of His ways. That because of his full, perfect love and unconditional forgiveness that I never deserve, I am able to forgive freely and give love to others.
I am thankful for my marriage, my husband. My best friend. My confidant. My fellow adventurer. The goofiest man in the world that follows hard after Jesus. The man that loves his family and desires to obey the Lord in all aspects of life. The one who works long days and comes home to serve me in any way that he can. The man who's life pushes me to Jesus as he desires to live a life fully dependent on Christ. The one that never complains and can find joy in even the darkest moments. The one full of corny jokes that everyone can't help but love. I am thankful for a man who is easy to love, and a man who finds it so easy to love others.
I am thankful for our family. Parents and inlaws. Brothers and sisters. BILs and SILs. Grandparents. Girlfriends. Aunts. Uncles. Cousins. Nieces and nephews. And I'm not just saying this because I know they will all read this post. I'm saying it because it's true. They are loud and crazy and a little bit wild sometimes-- but Brian and I have never ever had to question whether or not our families loved us. We are thankful for 2 sets of parents that try hard to obey God, walk in righteousness, love each other well, and love their family well. We know for a fact that the reason we love marriage so much is because of God's grace and because of parents and grandparents who modeled healthy marriage to us for our first 22 years of life. And we kind of love how crazy our families are, wouldn't want it any other way.
I am thankful for technology and that even though it hurt our hearts to be away from our families physically, we got to see all their faces and feel like we were there in person. Facetime makes the distance from America to Japan feel a little bit smaller. That I can call my mom and see her face whenever I need to. That I can have coffee dates with friends back home. That I can watch my dear friend's pregnant belly grow. That we don't have to miss out on those things because of distance and a 14 hour time difference.
I am thankful for community-- far and near. For how God has provided for Brian and I since day one in the Marine Corps. Since moving away from the only homes and families we had ever known, the Lord has never ceased to place people in our lives exactly when we needed them. People to do life with. People to pour into us and speak truth into our lives. We are thankful for our church here and our community group that has loved us like they have known us their whole lives. We are thankful for dear friends who are only an elevator ride away (or the stairs if I'm feeling sporty). That if we can't be with our family during the holidays, we get to be with friends who feel like family.
I am thankful for this beautiful place we get to live. For our home that is more than we need. For this adventure that we will look back on nostalgically for the rest of our lives. For a time to be away from comfort and really find out who we are, how we do marriage, and be fully dependent on God. I am thankful for the turquoise water, the white sand, and the warm breeze.
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend full with 2 whole Thanksgiving dinners, lots of time together, cooking and baking, Christmas tree putting uping, black friday shopping, board game playing, fresh flower picking, beach dinner eating, and so much more. Why can't every weekend be 4 days long?
Happy Thanksgiving friends. I'm thankful for you.
Also: side note. It's ironic that after writing a whole post on thankfulness and then pressing publish, and then realizing that my entire post had been lost, I immediately began cursing my computer and blogger and anything in my direct line of vision.
I would say the Lord still has a lot of work to do on my heart in this area :)