From a Truly Thankful Heart

I have to confess, I am guilty.

Guilty of complaining. Guilty of discontentment. Very guilty of forgetting all that God has done, all that He has provided, and all that He has given us.

Somewhere in the busyness of life, I let myself get distracted by the annoyances, the struggle, the challenges, and the desire for things I didn’t have in my life and I forgot.

I forgot where I came from.

I forgot what I was rescued from. I forgot where I would have been if God had not reached down from Heaven and directly intervened in my situation.

Today I am truly sorry.

After a time of repentance, all I can say is “Thank you.”

Not a quite, polite, obligatory “thank you”, but a deep, heartfelt, from-the-bottom-of-my-heart-I-cannot-express-my-gratitude “thank you.”

What sparked this sudden burst of gratitude?

Recently, I received a call from the past.

Obviously, it wasn’t “the past”---but a very familiar voice. As I listened to the story and heard a voice filled with the familiar tones of fear, chaos, confusion, and pain, I remembered.

I remembered the abuse, the manipulation, the control. The words, “You’re crazy. No one will ever believe you.” Memories of days spent in tears and nights spent locked behind closed doors replayed back into my mind.

Even as my heart broke for the soul on the other end of the phone and I prayed that God would give me the wisdom for how to proceed and help them, I couldn’t help but remember that THIS WAS WHAT GOD SET US FREE FROM. For years, this was my life.

Yet, because of God’s intervention, we were set free.

God stepped into our circumstances and revealed truth. He put a big old spotlight on our circumstances and delivered us from the abuse, the manipulation, the control and everything that went along with it.

He delivered us.

God restored our lives.

He moved miraculously and set us free from the very nightmare that this woman was living.

In that moment, I felt the convicting power of the Holy Spirit asking, “What do you have to complain about? What’s with the whining and discontent?”

The truth was that I’d fallen into the trap of focusing on what I didn’t have---the pieces of the dream that were yet unfulfilled and the needs that were still unmet. In my pursuit of the dream I forgot that we were set free from a nightmare.

Much like the children of Israel who focused on the fact that they wanted to eat something other than this boring old manna, and forgot that they were delivered from SLAVERY, my wrong attitude had become a sin. I needed to repent and change.

It was time to remember where I’d come from.

Quite frankly, it was time to remember the road that I was heading down years ago, blindly repeating the paths of those who had gone before me. If it wasn’t for God’s intervention (which I fought pouting every step of the way) I would be trapped in the bondage of generational iniquities and telling a very similar tale.

THE ONLY REASON THIS IS NOT MY STORY IS JESUS.

He intervened.

He drew my Mom to salvation and allowed me to be raised knowing Jesus and having a personal relationship with Him.

He called me to Himself and protected me from every wrong road I could have gone down.

He stepped in, opened our eyes, set us free from generational iniquities, and delivered us.

He redeemed, He restored, He protected, He provided, and He changed our story.

Knowing this, how could I ever be anything but thankful?

The truth is that after this phone call, I am approaching Thankgiving this year from a totally different perspective. I’m looking at it with a heart of overflowing appreciation.

I’m choosing to focus not on the daily difficulties or the missing pieces, but rather on the amazing, powerful, miraculous work of God.

Rather than complaining about inconveniences, annoyance, or even difficulties, I am choosing to remember.

I’m choosing to remember where I was.

I’m choosing to remember where I could be if God hadn’t intervened.

Instead of celebrating Thanksgiving in the light of what could be if God gave me more, I am choosing to worship through Thanksgiving appreciating all that God has done and recognizing that if it wasn’t for Him, I would truly have so much less.

From a place of humility---having recently realized that I needed an attitude adjustment---I’m passing the challenge on to all of you to ask yourself “What do I have to be thankful for this month?”

Ask yourself this question while taking an honest look at:

---What has God done for you?

---Where would you be if you hadn’t experienced salvation?

---What would your life be like if God hadn’t intervened?

---What miracles are you forgetting?

---What provision are you taking for granted?

---Where would you be if it wasn’t for Jesus?

As you approach this Thanksgiving holiday, I challenge you to celebrate all that God has done. Even in your darkest days, choose to remember all that God has done. Remember the gifts He has given.

Maybe a great way to get started is by sharing your personal testimony.

Write it down.

Record it on video.

Share it with someone who needs hope.

Remember where you were when God saved you and how He intervened in your life.

Choose to remember where you would be without Him, and then let that thought fill your heart to overflowing with Thanksgiving.

I know that’s what I’ll be doing.

Psalm 116

I love God because he listened to me, listened as I begged for mercy.

He listened so intently as I laid out my case before him.

Death stared me in the face, hell was hard on my heels.

Up against it, I didn’t know which way to turn; then I called out to God for help:

“Please, God!” I cried out. “Save my life!”

God is gracious—it is he who makes things right, our most compassionate God.

God takes the side of the helpless;

when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me.

I said to myself, “Relax and rest.

God has showered you with blessings.

Soul, you’ve been rescued from death;

Eye, you’ve been rescued from tears;

And you, Foot, were kept from stumbling.”

I’m striding in the presence of God,

alive in the land of the living!....

What can I give back to God

for the blessings he’s poured out on me?

I’ll lift high the cup of salvation—a toast to God!

I’ll pray in the name of God;

I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do,

and I’ll do it together with his people.

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