Saturday, November 27, 2010



“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I woke up on Thanksgiving morning, enjoying those few extra moments in my warm bed, putting off the inevitable entry into the cold air filling my room, just thinking. As I lay there, this verse entered my thoughts.

…give thanks in all circumstances…

The verse doesn’t say, “for” all circumstances, but “in” all circumstances. And I was thankful for that because there have been circumstances that I just haven’t been able to be thankful for…I am not thankful that when I was five months pregnant with twins and full of the wonder and breathless anticipation of what was to come, I lost those little girls, born too early to survive beyond their safe and nurturing homes inside my womb. I am not thankful for the fact that as my husband stood innocently reading a book at the corner of our block waiting for his commuter bus to New York City, a young man tired from a night of partying fell asleep at the wheel and hit my husband resulting in a traumatic brain injury that would change his life, all of our lives, forever.

These are the biggies that have challenged my ability to be thankful for everything. There are lots of little things that I have a hard time being thankful for as well, like the endless laundry, financial struggles, the pain I watch my children suffer as they grow up.

But in all these circumstances, large and small, there is much to be learned and much to be gained. I can see now that the loss of those little babies led me to a faith and trust in God that I would not otherwise have. As my husband heads towards the completion of his doctoral degree, I can be thankful that he is on a path that would most likely not have been followed without his accident. And I can see that it is in the difficult circumstances, large and small, that we can be changed for good.

How about you? Is there something you can think of today, that you may not be able to be thankful for, but you can be thankful in? Is there a circumstance, bad, difficult, challenging, that has changed you for good? I'd love to hear about it.


  1. I would never have known you if you had not gone through these circumstances! I praise God for the thorns in our lives that lead us to the roses. I praise God for increasing our faith in Him through all of our circumstances!

  2. I am thankful that God does not give us more than we can bear. That with the adversity comes growth. I am thankful that my oh so dysfunction upbringing created in me compassion for those in similar circumstances. I am thankful for this post that made me stop and be thankful instead of disgruntled.

    And I am thankful for our friendship, your wisdom and the accountability to continue on my journey toward publication.

  3. What a difference one little word can make! I am thankful you have shared your wisdom and insight with the rest of us. What a blessing you are! Now could you lend your sage advice to the concept of "Praising in the Storm"...another REALLY challenging one for me! :) God Bless!

  4. I too am thankful that in the big, difficult circumstances of my past--my father's death, infertility, caring for my mother-in-law--God was there. And I'm thankful in advance that no matter what will happen in the future, He'll be there, too. As the treasured old hymn says:

    Thanks for roses by the wayside, thanks for thorns their stems contain!
    Thanks for home and thanks for fireside, Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain!
    Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow, Thanks for heav'nly peace with Thee!
    Thanks for hope in the tomorrow, Thanks thru all eternity!

  5. Elise - I'm with you . . .it's sometimes hard to say "thank you" for all things. For me this past week it was a broken toilet, water pouring from the ceiling in the basement, needing to rip up all the carpet, and my son spraining his ankle . . .all in a few days time. I really had to work hard at saying "thank you." But as I said those hard words I realized that at least I was home and available when all these things happened. If they would have happened the week before, I was out of town and it would have been much harder on everyone. So thank you, God!


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