When my children where young, they had a little tape they played over and over from the Veggie Tales collection. One song resonates within my heart as we enter into the month of Thanksgiving, and that is "A thankful heart is a happy heart." I know we'd all agree that thankfulness should come more than once a year, so I'm proposing that having Thanksgiving month might be a good start.
Streams in the Desert devotional states: There is a legend (remember, this is a legend not a Bible story) of a man who found the barn where the devil kept his seeds ready to be sown in the human heart, and on finding the seeds of discouragement more numerous than others, learned that those seeds could be made to grow almost anywhere. When Satan was questioned, he reluctantly admitted that there was one place in which he could never get them to thrive.
"And where is that?" asked the man.
Satan replied sadly, "In the heart of a grateful man."
We all have our heartheache, sickness, troubles, grief and sorrow, but if we want to rise above our own circumstances and make the best of life in the here and now, thankfulness is a good place to start. The Psalmist realized that gratitude plays an essential part in true worship. He sang praises to God at all times; often, in his darkest moments.
Presently, my grief waves come in tsunami like fashion. I am refusing to give up, and instead am thanking God that I had almost 26 years with my angel daughter. This, of course, is the greatest loss I've had. When I lost the three babies, I grieved, then I thanked God for what he was sparing them from and that I would see them again someday. When the hardest of hard times came and confusion was all around, I began to change when I began thanking God for the precious gift of experience that humbled me and kept me on my knees, all the while equipping me to help others going through similar nightmares. I certainly do not get it right all the time, nor would I want to create the illusion that I do. But, it seems when I begin forgetting this truth of thankfulness it comes back to me by way of a sermon, devotional, book, song, or a friend. A thankful heart is a happy heart. Did you know you can have "joy" in your heart though tears stream down your face? It is true ... happiness may come from your happenings, but true joy comes from the Prince of Peace, and Praise and thanksgiving go hand in hand.
In the daily devotional "Voices of the Faithful" with Beth Moore and many missionaries around the world, one missionary tells her story and refers to the verse: "Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me." Psalm 50:15: "The day of trouble came for our family on June 18, 1999. Six months after arriving in Mexico as missionaries, my husband, my oldest daughter and two young summer missionaries drowned in the waters off one of the beaches of Playa Linda.
"As I contemplated the body of my 10-year old-daughter, I felt strength leave my body. I prayed to God to help us with 'our day of trouble.'
But how did God deliver you, you might ask. We think of the word "deliver" as what a holy superhero would do to carry us away from trouble, danger or pain. The Hebrew word used in this verse means not only to rescue, but to equip, to prepare and to arm as you would a soldier. That is just what my Lord did for me." She goes on to say that she and her children have returned to Mexico as missionaries and the lives of everyone on the beach that day was changed.
Thankfulness and praise may come from a broken heart, but God sees that heart, and though circumstances may not change, He certainly heals our hearts and changes us through thanksgiving and praise. Happy Thanksgiving month.
(Kimberly Morgan, MA, is a homeschool mom and a counselor with Cornerstone Counseling and co-founder with her husband, Jamie, of Kristin's Hope. Contact her at 304-637-1109.)