About the Author

Heather is married to her college sweetheart (Sic Em Bears!). She’s mom to three amazing kids and an adoption social worker. She blogs, creates, and dreams. Then she talks herself out of chasing those dreams. But, she’s learning to live more boldly as she believes how limitless God is.

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  1. Heather,
    This is truly beautiful…gratitude in the midst of grief or trial IS a choice. Everything within us wants to shut down and give way to despair and the enemy coaxes us toward it. I love how you point out that praise and thanksgiving are sacrificial offerings. Jesus did not want to go to the cross…but He did….for you and for me. When I look at His sacrifice, how can I withhold praise – even in my most dire hour?? I think that God also commands us to give praise and thanksgiving for our own good. As you so beautifully pointed out, when we give thanks, a ray of light shines into our darkness and gives our hearts hope. Loved this! So sorry for your loss…may God draw near and comfort you.
    Blessings,
    Bev

  2. I have a husband like that, too. When I’m seeing darkness, he’s looking for light, and I’m learning from him to say the words of gratitude and trust for the heart to follow.
    Thanks for saying all this so well here.

    • OH, I am so glad, Michele, that you get to experience the ridiculous grace of God through the spiritual leadership of your husband. You are welcome– thank you for reading.

  3. Beautifully said! I loved how you said, “As we declared our gratitude…we held back the blackness of the enemy, who was summoning us to despair.” My prayer lately has been for God to fight back the darkness that I see many struggling against (and I have my bouts). Like a match doesn’t light until struck, sometimes we are struck and forced to choose – again – if we’ll shine Christ’s light all the brighter. Thanks again, Heather!

    • You are welcome, Pearl. Oh how we can so easily slip into a place of hopelessness and helplessness. And truly forget the power of choosing to turn our eyes to Him and how that silences the enemy.

  4. Heather,

    This is beautiful; thank you for sharing. I want to take and remember your words of encouragement below:

    “When we turn our despair into a deliberate confession that God is good even when the circumstances are not, that is offering one of the sweetest sacrifices we can to the One who sacrificed it all for us. The sacrifice of thanksgiving says that even here, in this pit, I will choose to believe God’s goodness. These offerings preach to our souls that God is working for our good even when we cannot imagine it.”

    • I am being transformed by the teaching about how we preach the gospel to our souls to tell our feelings who is boss! David displays this Biblical discipline over and over again in the Psalm. Running to God with all the feelings… then “calling to mind” the truth of who God is and what he has done. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  5. What beautiful words of truth that are so very needed in our world today. Fir me, it is not only the deep personal tragedies that crush my heart, but I find the daily news, or news feed, to be overwhelming at times. Add in the deeply personal ones, and my tendency to depression, and, well, the beckoning to despair comes like a freight train.

    One thing that really smacked me uoside the head with that poverbial 2×4 was your husband saying we are to give grattitude IN everything, not FOR everything. I’m telling you, like a lightbulb and huge weight lifted off. I have struggled with this instruction my whole 10 years if walking with the Lord. Within the first year of my walk beginning I lost the dear friend who walked me to my faith, my first friend in church, and my daughter I had recently met whom I had given for adootion at birth as a teen. I have struggled with this idea since. My husband is very literal and military, and foes not have emotion in much. I think this story will help him understand me.

    God used your husband’s words in a great way for me today.

    Blessings to you and your family.

    • OH, Sue, thank you! I will definitely let my husband know. God was so kind and sweet to give me that man 26 years ago in the darkest season of my life. I’d prayed for my spouse since I was a teenager… well, I was still a teen when we met. But, indeed, when he helped me see the freedom of being thankful IN all things, not FOR all things… well, there I can find grace! Blessings back to you.

    • Diane, don’t you love the freedom and grace that our gratitude need not be FOR all things? But we can ask God for the eyes to see things we can be grateful for in every season of life? Blessings to you!

  6. This is the pathway to light, when darkness threatens to cover us. By praising God, by thanking Him even during the darkest of times, that act of obedience brings us back to the foot of His cross, back to His loving arms….

    Heather, thank you so much for your beautiful words of truth.

  7. Thank you so much. This is truly beautiful. Having the words Gratitude IN makes so much more sense. We have been in a very long storm. I am tired. My soul feels broken and worn. Having gratitude has always seemed very difficult. Why would i be grateful for these terrible struggles and storms? Learning that I am grateful IN makes it more bearable.

    • Rose– right now I am asking the One who calms the seas and winds to remind you of his presence in every moment of struggle. I am asking him to remind you that our Jesus is the one who wept with Mary when her brother died. He is the Savior who weeps with us, too.

  8. Heather,

    I’m deeply sorry for your loss.

    Thank-you for sharing your heartfelt message, ‘find thanks in everything’.

    Blessings to you, and your family,

    Penny

    • Thank you, Penny! I’m humbled to tears today at how God is STILL redeeming this loss and bringing purpose to it by allowing the story to bring comfort and encouragement. Isn’t he so good to never waste a tear?

  9. Yes, and yes. Thank you for the beautiful expression of something I’ve discovered in this (almost 5 months now) time of loss and profound grief. My husband of 52 years passed very unexpectedly during the night. The earth-shaking shock and grief were almost overwhelming. At some point early in this unwelcome journey, God began to show me all the things for which I can be thankful. It seems to be a strange juxtaposition of emotions: grief and gratitude … but it’s there. I’m thankful for so many things: God’s promises and presence, Dave’s life of faith and service, love and support from God’s people and my family …. and HOPE! Although I still live with a sadness hanging over me because I miss him, I also live with thankfulness. God is truly good.

    • OH, JoAnne, I am so sorry for your unimaginable loss. What a testimony you offer of a faith that will not move when the hard times come. I’m praying right now that you will feel God as the lifter of your head. For that is who he is and what he does. In all of our seasons, we are held so dearly by the One who holds the world in his hands.

      • Thank you, Heather for your wise and compassionate words, and especially for your prayer and beautiful description of God holding His children in His hands.

    • JoAnne,

      Dear sweet JoAnne. I’m praying for the peace and comfort of God to come and embrace your soul! May you feel His loving arms surrounding and holding you tightly! You have a wonderful testimony of faith! May God richly bless & keep you & may your soul find rest.

      (((((Hugs)))))

      • Dear Beth,
        What a loving message. I’m so grateful for your prayer of peace and comfort. Thank you, and God bless you as you minister to others.

  10. There is so much to take away from this message that I find personally comforting and uplifting as well as enlightening. Thank you for allowing the beauty of God’s love to be shared through the sharing of your grief. . .something I am thankful for “in this”. May God’s comforting love be close to you and your family at this time.

    • Thank you, Eunice. So very much. God is indeed faithful and good and I have found him to be everything he promises he will be. And more. Those discoveries and sureties come the most during the struggles.

  11. I stand with you in wholehearted agreement. Thank you very much for a most needed reminder. That’s when God’s peace that passes all understanding will keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, whom we’re forever thankful as well as grateful because He came to bless us with life more abundantly. Not that we need to have everything but that we learn to appreciate all that He has already blessed us!

  12. Heather,
    This is so beautiful, your words really encourage me, when you been through the storms of life and can still give him thanks and praise and remain grateful, that’s God, your words of truth means so much to me, nobody like God. Heather be encourage, trust God, he will give you the strength.

  13. God knows what to send us when we need it the most. We just found out that our 4th grandchild will be taken to heaven most likely before he’s born. He had the same problems as our first grandchild who died 6 hours before birth. Reading this gave me encouragement and understanding of how I can still be grateful In this storm even though I’m not grateful for it.

    • David and I are truly hurting Carolyn for all the family…know this is so difficult….we gain our strength thru Christ….lean on him…we are here for you guys…love you very much!!

    • Carolyn, my heart is breaking for you and your family. I’m humbled and grateful at God’s timing for this article and your situation. I am asking the God who holds our futures to hold you so closely that you feel his peace.

    • Carolyn,

      Sweet sister I’m praying for you and your family! May God provide comfort and peace to your souls! God’s timing is impeccable. He knows what to send and when! May you feel His arms around you comforting you all during this time!

      (((Hugs)))

  14. Heather, I echo so much of what you said here. Even in the very worst, God’s kind fingerprints are all around us. I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing the lessons that came at such a high cost.

  15. Heather,

    So sorry for the loss of your beloved nephew. May God bless your family. I had a dark period for about 2 or so years. My aging dad moved into assisted living and began having more medical/dementia issues. I was always waiting/fearful of the phone ringing. It came to the point I had to quit my job. It only got worse, but God saw me through all that and has performed a miracle. During that time I felt a little down & depressed. God always found ways to brighten my spirits. When I got too down I would sit and write out a thankful journal. Reminding myself of ALL of God’s goodness to me. It helped get me through that time. We all have a lot to be thankful for even in the midst of trials. Praising and thanking God is a sweet fragrance. He loves it and we owe it to Him!

    Blessings 🙂

  16. I see so much sadness and grief around me right now, in the election process and conclusion, but also in families who have a greater reason to grieve as they’ve recently lost someone they love. You are right. While it’s healthy and even right to grieve a loss, we have the choice to be thankful and trust the One who can work all things together for good. So sorry for the grief in your own family, the loss of such a precious little one. I’m thankful for a loving God who gently carries him and us in the palm of his hand.

  17. Amen! My husband and I have had many hard discussions about how we will CHOOSE joy in our circumstances because we can always put our joy, hope, and faith in Christ and he is indeed in every situation we will ever face.
    Joy so often is not just a feeling – it is a lot like unconditional love. The best marriage advice I received was “Love isn’t always a feeling. But it is always a decision.” Sometimes we may feel joy, even in the hard times. But in the darkness, we also feel numb or sad or disappointed or hurt…and yet there is still joy. We just have to choose it, even when we don’t feel it. I believe joy can be deep in our hearts. Hearts of gratitude. Outwardly we can be mourning. We can be hurting. We can be broken. And yet – Christ is still in it. God is still good.

    I love the though of finding joy IN all things – I haven’t thought if it this way before. We may not find joy in ALL things but we can find joy IN all things.

    Thank you for your encouraging words!