In keeping with the season of Thanksgiving, I am reminded of the power of gratitude. I frequently admire people who seem to walk through life with joy and thanksgiving naturally flowing from them…and then, more often than not, I learn this person has been through a personal tragedy or defeated overpowering obstacles. I believe we have the answer to one of the most common maladies of this day and age! Thankfulness is the answer to depression and anxiety (I am not referring to those clinically depressed, or suffering from anxiety/panic disorders…although I do believe this will improve those conditions greatly too!).
Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
This The Weapon!
So when negative thoughts crowd your mind, instead of turning down that road to despair, drop to your knees or reach your hands up and begin to practice thanksgiving. Don’t be disingenuine about your difficulty, struggle, pain, or depression. But begin thanking God for what you have! I recently finished the biography of Joni Eareckson Tada. Now, I have been avoiding this book for years, simply because I knew enough of her story to understand I would be deeply convicted and challenged by it. I was right. When Joni was in the throngs of depression due to her paralysis, bitter and resentful, a friend reminded her of the truth. “I saw people at the long-term care center who were really bad off — blind, mute, deaf. Some even lost their minds. They have nothing left. But you have your mind, your voice, your eyes, and your ears. You have everything you need.”
Whatever is true, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. And the God of peace will be with you.
Here is my gratitude list as I combat the enemy of my soul with a THANKFUL HEART.
1. A house of our own to live in while we spend time with my family in Washington State…thats just one block away from where my parents’ live! The kids can experience what its like to ‘go next-door to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.’
2. A breakthrough in my husband’s RSA passport status. We’ve been waiting for 13 months for renewal and have finally been approved for an emergency passport while they frantically dig through heaps of papers to find where his is misplaced (my theory :)).
3. A flexible, gracious employer who is willing to work with us through this time of transition, moving, and process of citizenship.
4. A healthy, kicking 29-week old baby and an uncomplicated pregnancy. An OB whom I love.
5. No debt.
6. A clean house. Even though our house hasn’t sold yet, with every showing, I get to come home to a sparkling, clutter-free home. If you know me at all, this would not be the case in any other situation!
7. An online homeschool group in the Western Cape, South Africa, where I am already making acquaintances and finding resources. I needed a starting point as we move to an entirely new part of the world and God has provided this amazing, like-minded group!
8. An great deal on plane tickets to Washington during the typically inflated-fares of the holiday season.
9. Wisdom as we make each decision towards moving overseas. The logistics involved are staggering and intimidating but God is directing our steps.
10. A homeschool curriculum I LOVE (Sonlight) that makes it possible for someone like me, not especially organized and easily overwhelmed, to home-educate 4 children. My children have already developed a foundation of missions with the biblical worldview Sonlight books provides.
11. Friends and men of faith, near and far away, who have spoken words of life and faith into me as we embark on this journey.
12. A powerful display of God’s providence as I met up with a missionary friend from years ago, at a missions’ conference where neither of us currently live.
13. A beautiful Midwest fall and coming Northwest Christmas (we want LOTS of snow!!) to add to my storehouse of precious memories.
14. A husband who listens intently to the Lord as he leads our family.
15. A growing church body, full of dear friends, that is able to send us out into the mission field.
16. Pumpkin Pie. 🙂
17. Health for our family, protection from sickness, disaster, and disease, refuge from the storms of life. Psalm 91.
18. The mercy and goodness of God. His kindness that led to my repentance. That his gifts and call are irrevocable. That he is faithful through our struggle against sin, in the process of us being conformed to the likeness of Christ.
19. A super-fun shopping date with my oldest daughter. I remember going on these with my mom, and they are some of my favorite memories. Now its my turn to create them with my daughters!
20. His JOY is my STRENGTH. For when I am weak, then I am strong in the Lord.