With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I thought it’d be fitting to do a mini series on thankfulness (and sometimes the struggles we encounter when we don’t feel very thankful). This is part 1!
“One month ‘til I move off my beloved island, and back home to Seattle. One month.” Tears stung my eyes. “Lord, please carry me through and fill me with strength and peace. This is hard.” –July 2011
I snapped back to the present. My roommates were giddy with excitement at this promising day. We were all dressed in our finest Maui dresses, on our way to a special brunch. Promises hung in the air. We were on our way to spend the morning with our mentors of the past year, and a special woman named Marlene, to encourage, speak truth and pray for one another. It was guaranteed to be a precious moment in our lives that we would remember forever.
With our tummies full from brunch, we all gathered in a circle in the living room, and Marlene began to share that she had a word for each of us, as well as a stone with a word on it. The word symbolized something that she wanted us to pray about, and seek the Lord on for the next 6 months. She began to speak about one of the mentors, and immediately we all begin to tear. Words of beautiful blessing began to flow, and then we all bowed our heads to pray for her. One by one we went around the room.
After some time, Marlene came to me. With her hand on my shoulder, she began to tell me that I am a woman who is confident in Christ, and takes risks for Him, but that I must remember John 15, to abide in Christ. He is my hope, security, strength and joy. Then handing me my stone, she gently adds, “And Alyssa, these next 6 months, I encourage you to be thankful. It may be hard, or unknown, but remember that Jesus tells us to be thankful no matter what you are facing; there is always something to give thanks for.” I looked down at my hand, and on my lime green stone is said “gratitude”.
“Oh, Lord. You knew this is the word I needed to hear. I haven’t had gratitude these past couple of months. I know you’re with me, and you want me to move home, but it’s hard. I want to stay here. I’m thankful for your plan, but am also grieving my loss of my home here.”
“Okay Lord, please show me what you want me to learn about gratitude.”
Check back tomorrow for part 2!
How are you thankful in this season? When has it been hard for you to be thankful?
Also, a must read book that helped me on the topic of thankfulness was One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. So beautifully written and so perfect for ladies! You can check it out here.
Gratitude? Wow…. that’s encouraging. Also a word that I would struggle with as well. I have not been able to work for the past 3 years due to medical problems. Gratitude. I need that reminder. Our family is now struggling due to financial stress, and yet God has been taking care of us, not the way we would like, but He HAS been caring for us. Remember that Ellen, and show your gratitude for it. We have a house, my husband has a job, we have our health, even tho mine is not good, I am still alive and even more so alive in CHRIST!!!! Gratitude, remember that Ellen. So when you want to just sit and cry and wallow, remember what God HAS provided for you, which is all that you need. Gosh, what a slap of reality reading this post of yours Alyssa. A wonderful reminder of all that we do have and it is GOOD. \o/
Oh Alyssa, I remember so well that day! It was so wonderful and felt like a small bit of heaven here on earth! How God met us there and gave us all beautiful words of encouragement.
So much has happened since that day and we all have so much to be grateful for! I’m very thankful and blessed to have walked through that year with you.
Thank you for this post and wonderful reminder.
This almost brought tears to my eyes. Thank you. Such a wonderful encouragement not just for today but for every day that we are alive. GRATITUDE.
It is really hard for me to give thanks right now for my present situation is not the one I have dreamed about. I am looking for a job, still single … But I know that it is right thing to do despite anything. And Alyssa I am really greatfull for your posts, they are really inspirational.