How To Find Thanksgiving In The Middle Of Your Pain

How To Find Thanksgiving In The Middle Of Your Pain

It was a routine procedure. Nothing to worry about.

The morning my mother went into the hospital for a heart cath procedure, everything was fairly typical. We prayed on my way to work. I spoke with my dad shortly afterwards. Nothing atypical. Nothing unusual.

She had come through fine and was in recovery. Dad was upbeat and calm. She would be released a little later, he offered.

So after my next session, when I checked my phone, I noticed a text from my husband. It said simply, Call me.

Stepping outside, I called him to find out that just a few minutes after my phone call with Dad, something had gone wrong. Dad had called Mark in a full panic, sobbing with worry for Mom.

Mark was out the door instantly, talking with Dad and calming him down as he drove to the hospital. He called the pastor, my aunt and my brother. Informed them of the circumstances.

Mom had started passing out. Several times. The final time the nurses immediately rushed her to the CCU and tried to get her stabilized.

I felt helpless. Though I couldn’t get to her, my heart and my mind reeled. My schedule was completely full and there was no way to cancel my clients. I simply prayed.

Over the next several hours her condition improved and she was able to go home the next day. What a blessing. A sacred exhale.

It doesn’t always work that way, though. Life doesn’t always give us the desired ending. The miracle. The answered prayer. It doesn’t.

So how can we hold onto hope, how can we muster any shred of gratitude or thanksgiving when our world has been torn apart, when the unthinkable happens?

Whether you have lost a loved one to cancer or divorce, whether you are sinking beneath the weight of depression, loneliness, or heartache, here are two ways to find thanksgiving in the middle of your pain.

Rest In His Faithfulness

The Lord knows where you are. He knows what you have endured. He sees your pain and weeps with you over your sorrow.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV) tells us, The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Psalm 147:3 (NIV) shares, He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.  Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.

Psalm 34:18 (NIV) also encourages, The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

He doesn’t want you to hide your pain. Nor does He want you to pretend your brokenness away.

He wants you to be honest, acknowledge your deepest wounds, and reach out for help in your season of grief. Don’t walk this season alone.

We are all in the journey together. We need each other. We need to walk with and comfort each other right where we are. We are the hands and feet of Christ to the hurting. We are wounded healers, if we choose to be.

Acknowledge the Small Things

Find ways, small ways, to be thankful. Even in your grief, look around to notice goodness around you. As needful as it is to acknowledge your pain, it is as needful to acknowledge God’s goodness.

Our healing is stalled when we focus solely on our loss, our sorrow. Find something, anything, for which you can offer thanks. It will move you forward through your pain and slowly give you hope for a new day. A new season. Healing.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV) tells us to, Rejoice always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Even in hard times, we can trust the character of God. Even when the circumstances make no sense. We give thanks that God is good. He is not evil. He is not arbitrary. God has a reason for everything He does, whether we can understand it in the moment, or not.

Henri Nouwen beautifully describes,

Perhaps nothing helps us make the movement from our little selves to a larger world than remembering God in gratitude.

Such a perspective puts God in view in all of life, not just in the moment we set aside for worship or spiritual disciplines.

Not just in the moment when life seems easy.

It can challenge every ounce of our being, yet walking through this season with a balance of honesty, authenticityandgratitude will yield a heart healed, a quiet mind, and the beauty of hope for the seasons to come.

Blessings to you and your family this Thanksgiving! With love from my heart to yours.

Let’s not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God. _Henri Nouwen

Sometimes it can be hard to find anything to be thankful for when we are in pain. The holidays can be the most difficult time of year for many adults, men, women, and children. Here are a few ways to find Thanksgiving in the middle of the pain.

Sometimes it can be hard to find anything to be thankful for when we are in pain. The holidays can be the most difficult time of year for many adults, men, women, and children. Here are a few ways to find Thanksgiving in the middle of the pain.


About This Community

Don't we all want a little peace?  My heart for this community is to provide just that - a needed refuge from all the burdens that weigh us down, some encouragement and inspiration to keep us weary travelers moving forward on our journeys, and some practical advice to help each of us navigate the challenges of life and relationships.  Whether in our parenting, our marriages, our faith, or the broken places in our hearts, this place is for anyone who dares to reach beyond the hopelessness that surrounds us and embrace a lifestyle of emotional abundance and peace!  

About Peace for a Lifetime

In my new book, Peace for a Lifetime, I share the keys to cultivating a life that’s deeply rooted, overflowing, and abundant, the fruit of which is peace. Through personal and professional experience as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I've discovered how to take the broken pieces of life and find indestructible peace with myself, God and with others. Through my story and other’s stories you’ll realize that you can experience the life for which you long. You can experience abundance beyond anything you can imagine. You can experience peace, not just for today, not just for tomorrow. You can experience peace —for a lifetime!

Peace for a Lifetime is available on

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