Am I thankful?
Sure I am. As long as it’s convenient.
As long as the gift-giver is within ear’s reach of my thank you. And as long as what I’m thankful for is good, comfortable, pleasant and smells great.
I never thank anyone for rolling over my toe with their cart in the grocery store or thank someone for an unkind word. And I never thank God for struggles.
I mean, how stupid would I sound:
Thank you, God, for NO MONEY to pay the mortgage today.
Thank you that my seven-year-old has emotional outbursts every morning before school that reduce her to a pile of unbrushed auburn waves and tears on the bathroom floor.
Thanks for spilled apple juice, dried and sticky on the floor.
Thank you, God, for the rejection of friends and that crazy mean email last week. Thank you for the tears it cost.
Thank you for the argument I had with my husband last night. Thank you, God, that he doesn’t understand me.
We are usually thankful for blessings.
Gifts. Encouragement. Provision.
We send thank-you notes to mothers and cousins for baby gifts and Christmas packages. We call our pastors and thank them for the sermon. We are grateful for warm beds and fireplaces that glow in our family rooms.
We are thankful because it’s easy and expected.
But the sweet times, the easy-flowing happy times are not what shape me. I am comfortable and will stay the same if everything always goes my way.
Discomfort is the only way I grow. And I am never grateful for sitting in the valley of hurt and pain. I’m never thankful when things don’t work out like I planned.
I stamp my feet instead and no-fair God. I tell Him He doesn’t know what it’s like to be me.
I’m not changed in the lots-of-money, kids-are-well, husband-adores-me days.
But I am changed in the I’m-fat, second-argument-this-week-with-my-mom, worried-about-my-kids days.
This is when I’m moved to trust. I have to because nothing else works.
These are the days when God comes in and under-girds my heart with His own, turns my head to refocus my attention and then asks me to trust.
And I should be grateful that He thinks enough of me to carefully craft difficulty to edge me toward beauty, kindness, and grace with pressure.
I don’t want to just be thankful for the easy. I want to be grateful for the hard. And that involves a choice…one I’m making today.
Will you join me?