Thanks Giving and Receiving

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Have you ever thought about how much humility must be exercised when we can receive from others with grace and thankfulness in our hearts? I’m not talking about the things that are always easy to receive either; although those are good and they happen all the time too.

I’m talking about the way that others give of themselves to us when it’s hard…for them and maybe even for us.

When you are the recipient of something that isn’t always easy to accept, but is very, very good for you nonetheless, are you thankful? Are you grateful for the life lessons, building of character, practice in humility that comes about as a result? Are you grateful and thankful in the ugly mess of it all, even before you know how things are going to turn out?

I know I’m not always – in fact,  not even close! Most of the time it’s just far easier to give thanks for the beautiful and fun things that I receive in this life. When it comes to the stuff that’s just as good for me, but maybe doesn’t feel so great at the time, I can often be quite a spoiled little brat. That is, until I see what’s in it for me. Then I revert back to having a grateful heart and turn around and share some of the credit that belongs FULLY to God for having expressed (finally, after resisting) thankfulness.

Even if I do it secretly – deep down inside somewhere, I’m trying to share the credit if I’m really honest with myself.

I don’t want to be a downer on Thanksgiving folks, so please hear my heart here. This is just the stuff that I thought a lot about not only today but in the last couple of months in relation to being thankful from the heart – truly and really thankful.

So here it goes: (not an exhaustive list)

I am thankful for beauty and fun and light-hearted humor. I am thankful for getting to play with my family, hold babies here and there, and sing silly songs. I am thankful for my bed, hot water, a great job, friends, the ability to write this blog post. I am thankful that Jesus Christ lives and breathes in me and that this life, even the very best of it, pales in comparison to what my eternal life will be with Him one day!

But I want to be more giving in my thankfulness over the next season of my life. I want it to stick around forever too. I want to be more gracious about the things in life that seem like hard knocks, but are truly blessings being disguised and cluttered up by the enemy to seem like rough stuff that we should be bitter about or stressed or anxious about, or stumped about, to the point that we don’t thank the Lord for the grace He is about to shower upon us through the “trial” we are going through.

He’s already got it for us – we just have to turn it over. All the way.

I don’t mean that I want to become a good actress through difficult situations. And already, I am often thankful underneath all of it when I am going through some kind of rough or tough stuff – thank you Jesus! But I hear Him calling me, loudly and clearly….”take it to the next level, my daughter. I can take this so much higher than you’ve allowed me to so far.”

Thanks and giving through the thanks. Grateful even when pressured, concerned. Rising above it all with God, or rather, IN God’s hand, no matter what the circumstance. Authentic expression of angst while simultaneously counting my blessings at the same time.

Not easy stuff. Stuff He sometimes gives us anyway to grow us.

To truly give thanks, it takes surrender, it takes keeping our eyes wide open, and it is imperative that through it ALL, before, during, and after, we are giving all the credit to HIM.

So, ahead of time, I say to my Savior, “Thanks. Thanks for the constant giving of grace. Thanks for loving me despite my serious spoiled brat attitude, my pity parties, my lack of graciousness, humility, surrender. Thanks for giving me the gift of salvation and best friendship in YOU, Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.  Just thanks.”

In and through it all – I give thanks. In and through it all, I receive grace. In and through it all, reluctant and willful as I may be, I give myself over to You. Thank you for not only saving me, which by far is beyond what I could ever imagine, but for standing by my side.

Always Giving. Always Teaching. Always Loving. Always Thanks.

Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5: 17-19

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