thanksgiving: honor what sucks

There’s a disclaimer to this blog. The theme is not my original idea. My therapist should get all of the credit, as she listened to me whine for an hour about how bummed out I am about this time of year.

I cried about everything from a cancelled trip to the lack of Thanksgiving crafts my kids are making due to virtual school. There is a massive dichotomy most of us are experiencing today. We’re supposed to be thankful, right? We know the truth. Gratitude changes not only our perspective, but our physiology. Gratitude sources joy. The Bible says to be thankful in all circumstances. And we should be. We are blessed.

But let’s be really honest. Many of us right now are struggling. We are grieving yet another wave of loss; whether physical or emotional. Some of you are walking through your first holiday without a loved one. For our family, it’s our third. Thanksgiving is the anniversary of my dad’s reunion with Jesus. I understand what it’s like to feel the massive ache that comes with this kind of loss. So let me set you free with my therapist’s words:

Honor what sucks right now.

I know, I know. This is not the typical message you’ll hear on Thanksgiving. We’re supposed to be thankful in all circumstances, right?

Honoring what is difficult does not cancel out your gratitude. Thinking on what is true, right and lovely does not outweigh casting your cares on Him.

Being thankful in all circumstances does not negate the truth that the Lord is close to the broken-hearted.

Far too often, we bypass our reality in hopes of pleasing God with our righteousness when all He’s really asked for is our surrender and our sacrifice. And what is a true sacrifice to God?

The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”

[Psalms 51:17]

If you’re thankful, thank God.

If you’re sad, cry out to God.

If you’re bitter, pause. Look around. You’ll find something to be thankful for. Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father above.

You are not required by your Father to be happy about things that make you sad. Let go of whatever expectation someone else may have put on you to push through the reality of what is.

So today, I mourn the reality that we will not be with our extended family. I will probably cry at the reality of the world today which prevents my family from celebrating our dad in the same room.

And at the same time, I will be so thankful that Olivia and I baked a pie together. I will love the fact that today involves almost no stress as we eat whenever we are ready, with no one else relying on us. I will celebrate that we are healthy and loved.

I’m asking you today to take the bold step to fight what the world has told you God wants from you. He wants you. So be completely you. Messy, sad, thankful, whatever you are mess.

For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain.” [Isaiah 54:10]

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