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 3! (For part 2 click here).
Finally, Spring Break came. I knew that I needed to get away and spend time with Jesus and really work this out in my heart. Why was I choosing to not thank Him? What lie was I believing about Jesus that was preventing me from fully being intimate with Him?
My mom took that week off as well, and we went to a quaint B & B in Seattle. It was in that week that the dam in my heart finally broke, and my doubt and disbelief in the Lord finally came to light. See, when I moved from Maui, a little part of my heart had died and instead of giving it over to the Lord, grieving the loss, and trusting Him to heal and restore me- to fill me with HIM- I closed it off and refused to open it, not wanting the pain to spill out. I had hit the ground running so fast when I moved home, I didn’t take time to process and give my pain to Jesus. Instead, I stuffed it in and tried to simply “move on”.
That week though, after lots of prayer, and time talking with my Mom, I finally gave it all to the Lord. I confessed my disbelief, and how I had doubted His goodness because He took me from the place I had fallen in love with, not realizing He had me still and was molding me and doing things around me that were absolutely incredible—if I only opened my eyes, and gave thanks—because you see, thanksgiving invites His presence. Thanksgiving is worship, opening the door to deep intimacy with Jesus. Thanksgiving fights against all doubt, all bitterness, and hard-heartedness- and welcomes in JOY. DEEP JOY. PEACE. REST.
I broke. All this time I had chosen to not let Jesus in. To be alone and tight-fist my way through the year. When I could have breathed out thanks—in the pain—and walked hand in hand, under the shelter of His wing- letting Him carry me through.
“Today is the day. Today I am going to give thanks. And tomorrow. And forever. No longer will bitterness and doubt numb my heart. I want Jesus. I want to see Him, and be with Him, and to rejoice in all He’s doing. I want to praise Him- and thanksgiving is just that.”
A book that deeply touched my heart, and changed my whole outlook on life, is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. In this book, Ann talks about her struggle to give thanks to the Lord when life is hard, and in the mundane day-to-day events. BUT. When we do- when we choose to give thanks- the mundane becomes beautiful. The pain becomes beautiful too- because we see Jesus at work, instead of asking where He’s gone. We invite Jesus in to each moment, and savor His precious gifts.
Ann was challenged to write a list of 1,000 things she was thankful for and discovered the joy of looking for every moment that she could thank the Lord for.
Although I’m not at 1,000 yet, this list-making has brought so much joy to my life. Inviting Jesus in, taking a moment to reflect on His beauty, His work, His presence- in every moment.
So, every Thursday, I am going to write a list of things I am thankful for. I hope you will join me in this process. Hopefully we will get to 1,000 soon.
God is God. He is alive. He is present. He is Savior and Lord. He is just, righteous, and completely gracious and merciful. He created us, chose us, loves us, fights for us, and walks with us each day. He has invited us into His family- and into His kingdom. He is so worthy of all our praise, for every whisper or shout of thanks. And even if he hadn’t done any of that- he’d still be worthy because He’s GOD. But He did, He does.
Will you join me in thanking our sweet Savior and King? I invite you to breathe out thanks- just wait and see what beauty will occur!
What are a few things you are thankful for in this season?
Also, checkout the book that sparked this whole series – One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. So beautifully written and so perfect for ladies! You can check it out here.
Messages always come right in time–Thank YOU for this share.
I hope I can help the list get to 1,000 and look forward to creating my own with my daughters!
Beautiful Alyssa! Thanking God for you! Many blessings and Happy Thanksgiving!
Your husband is always sharing links to your blog. Perfect timing yesterday when I was having a tough time overcoming all my doubts, stress and obstacles, your husband posted the link to Part 2 of your Gratitude Blog. This couldn’t have come at a more crucial time for me. I too was having a problem giving thanks and letting go of the pain I had. Your Blog really opened my eyes and helped me hand over my doubts and pain to God and allowed me to let him help me overcome them! You and your husband are both so incredible and inspiring! I am so very thankful for all the inspiration and motivation that has come from both of you. I look forward to both of your post daily!
I was so touched by this 🙂 I’m glad you’re so honest and real and straight to the point. I really admire you’re bravery in being so vulnerable. Never underestimate yourself, you are a gift just as much as Jeff is 🙂
I’m so inspired!! I definitely want to begin my own list! I know one of mine will be *thankful for Jeff & Alyssa’s words of wisdom
What an amazing mini series. Thank you for this, it opened my eyes to many things that i just haven’t had the heart to be thankful for and i’ll be getting that book soon. I accept the 1,000 things to be thankful, challenge. God Bless you Alyssa 🙂
It’s so true. I’ve only recently discovered how daily, or even multiple times per day, thanking God changes ones relationship with Him. For me at least, it’s so much easier now to notice His presence. It’s also forced me to see how incredibly blessed I am every morning even through mundane tasks such as laundry or dishwashing (helloooo, I am using clean water! SO many people in the world don’t even have clean drinking water, let alone clean water to use for appliances…), so I’m glad you put into words how I have been feeling lately 🙂 Great post!
♡ While I was reading through this, with tears rolling down my cheek, it really felt like God was speaking directly to me. I am going through a season were it’s just
sooo hard to be thankful for. Thanks Alyssa ♡
Alyssa- Your blog is so inspiring! I have read One Thousand Gifts and I would agree the book is absolutely amazing! I just received the One Thousand Gifts Devotional. I have yet to dive into it, but you should take a look at it!!! I am so excited to see where God takes you and your husband. You are both a strong encouragement to me being a college student seeking after God each day! God bless you both!!
I am thankful that you began this journal/blog. I just learned about your husband through a friend at work and I checked out his website only to stumble onto you and your writing. The Holy Spirit uses you to speak to us all and I truly treasure that, you are a blessing to me. I look forward to reading your entries each day! Thank you for sharing you & your insight with all of us! God Bless you and your family!! Wishing you a very special and Happy Thanksgiving 🙂
Alyssa, thank you once again for sharing your heart. Just like you, I gave my pain to Jesus and it’s true that thanksgiving surely invites His presence.
I am thankful that I got to read your post today. I am grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!
Thank you so much for sharing this. This is so similar to my current situation. I’ve recently moved to my husbands home state after he got out of the Marine Corps and I’m so out of my element here. at times im not feeling thankful for the beautiful things I’ve seen or experienced here..again thank you and i hope to fully accept the distance of my family and friends and not hold such sorrow in my heart…
Giving thanks is required to receive and reciprocate Gods love.
To truly give thanks, one must know what is being given. Otherwise one cannot know how precious it is, it’s value, and the thanks will be artificial.
So a deep understanding of God, who we are, and our relationship with God, is required to always be reciprocating in Love.
Thank you for your blog. Gratitude has been on my heart for the past few days and I have been trying to encourage people to give thanks but sometimes efforts seem futile as i don’t want to force it. Your message puts it in to words so nicely that i will share it with everyone… God is great, God is awesome and God is alllllways good to us. Thank you Lord for Your grace and Your love for me/us.
Thanks so much for the inspiring words and really sharing what God’s doing. I’m thankful for having a father, a mother, a big sister, a family at church especially some of them which I can proudly call my big brothers and sisters…they help me see things the way I should see them and are always there for me. I’m thankful that God has my future in His hands:-) I graduated this year, a couple months ago actually and am jobless at the moment, but I truly believe that this is also in Gods plan for me…although I can not see clearly what He wants to teach me…I’m thankful for everything I can do in churh…got more responsibilities recently…more pressure sometimes. I literally thought: God what are You doing, I can’t Do that and that…It’s so hard. But little by little bit by bit I can see and know that He helps me… cause like Paul said when I am weak then I AM StRONG cause You can show Your strength through me! Amen! Thanks Alyssa and everyone who shares on the blog. Blessings!