Give Thanks

give thanks

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstance; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (I Thessaalonians:16-18).

There have been many sermons preached, hymns sung and books written regarding the above Scripture verses. To be truthful and totally honest, I have a difficult time “rejoicing always.” During those times when life is overwhelming, I am not “thankful” for what is overwhelming me and causing turmoil in my life. However, I am “thankful” for my family and friends who stand by me and help me through the difficult times. I also have a hard time “praying without ceasing” when it seems as though God is not listening to my prayers. During those dry seasons, I am extremely grateful for my family, my church body and my “circle of close friends” who pray on my behalf and take time to visit me and listen to me more than talk at me.

ELDERS PRAYING FOR THE SICK

“Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ for you” is extremely difficult for me to do when my life has been turned up-side-done. Does God want me to be thankful for the awful things happening to me? Does God want me to be thankful for the cancer a friend is battling or other life-threatening diseases family members are dealing with? Does God want me to be thankful for spiritual, emotional and physical problems? Can I be thankful for sickness, tragedies, catastrophes and all that is evil in the world? In my limited understanding, I believe the answer is “NO!” Using my finite brain, I think being joyful about the horrible circumstances in my life or other people’s lives or being thankful for the horrific events happening in the world, sounds rather masochistic. In the Scripture verse “Give thanks in all circumstances” , I believe the key word is “IN”.

Christian heelping another

I believe the verses “rejoice always” and “pray without ceasing” are noble goals for Christians to work on. However, when someone is overwhelmed with what is happening in his/her life and cannot rejoice or pray, that is the time for brothers and sisters to “encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all” (I Thessalonians 5:14b). I believe this means gently encouraging those who are struggling by pointing out the good that is happening around them and in them without disrespecting their struggles. It also means praying for those who just cannot pray for themselves and not rebuking them for their “lack of faith.” “Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” does not mean we must to be thankful for the bad circumstances we are struggling with. I believe it means that we should look for the good that we can be thankful for IN the midst of those circumstances.

cHRISTIAN BLOGGER WOMAN

Many of you might have noticed my last blog post was written on August 3rd and I did not write blog posts during the months of September through much of November. The reason for my absence is that I have been struggling with severe depression again. This came as a total shock. I truly believed God healed me from depression. I knew that other people who suffered from depression need ongoing medical care, but I thought I was an EXCEPTION. I thought that dealing with cerebral palsy all my life was enough “on my plate”. I had been doing so well for three years. I took my meds faithfully. I felt encouraged and useful for the Kingdom as I wrote my blog posts for God’s glory and to help my readers. Everything was going well up to the middle of this August. Suddenly, all my meds stopped working. I was having trouble sleeping, having trouble “moving my bowels”, which caused anxiety and a loss of appetite, just like the first time I struggled with depression. After trying to get help for weeks, I finally was hospitalized for the entire month of September. During my month’s hospital stay, I was given bilateral ECT treatments for my depression, which caused short term memory loss, and treated for additional physical complications.

bridge of flowers back2

I remember very little about what happened betwee, mid-August through in September. I do know it was a frightening time. I cannot be thankful for having to deal with severe depression again, as well as more physical limitations. In fact, I was very angry with God and I’m still dealing and coming to terms with God allowing this to happen to me again. The depression came fast and furious and I didn’t know what hit me. Is it a sin to be angry at God? I say “NO.” Instead, I believe it’s being honest. Being honest with God helps me to be honest with myself, so that I may begin to deal with my grief over losing what I worked for all my life – my independance. In dealing with my grief, I can start the journey from thinking I am an EXCEPTION to getting closer to the  ACCEPTANCE of my depression coming back and experiencing more physical limitations that most people who are aging have to deal with sooner or later. This journey helps me to be more possitive and do what I need to do to get better and work on the abilities I still have. I believe that being angry with God is much better than believing there is no God.

turkey stuffing

This Thanksgiving I am so thankful for my sister Jane, her husband Mark and my nephew Luke. They made it possible for me to come home in the beginning of October. Being at home with a loving family makes a BIG difference. I do not feel alone. I am thankful that my family makes it possible for me to go to my various appointments and come home, instead of having to stay at a rehabilitation facility. I have been going to physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and I’m seeing a counselor and “perscriber” of psychiatric drugs. I am thankful for all these people who are helping me to get better. I am thankful that I am getting better and physically stronger. I am also thankful for my sister Sophie who lives in Oregon. Even though she lives so far away, she finds ways to help me.

fruit basket

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for my church family who are praying for me. Even though I do not remember much of what happened during my hospital stay, I have learned that many of my “circle of friends” and my new Pastor came to visit me in the hospital. I am thankful for P&J who came to be with me while my sister Jane was away. Many others sent cards and emails with personal words of encouragement. I have not been able to attend church because the morning time is too complicated right now. I am thankful for friends from church who are coming to visit me. I’ve known these friends for decades who come to listen and to encourage. I am very thankful for them all..

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for all the nurses, doctors, and other hospital staff and volunteers who took care of me during my month-long stay in the hospital. Again, I don’t remember very much, but I remember some of the people who were very kind and caring. My sister Jane and P&J told me how much the hospital staff and volunteers liked me and wanted to help me to get better

bed puppies.

(Pupper [right] and Woof [left] belong to Jane and Mark, but they love me too!)

There many other people and puppies I am thankful for, but I need to stop here, except for one other thing. I am very thankful that I was able to write this blog post to my many readers. I am thankful for you all. I wanted to let you know what was happening and why I have not written for several months. Also, I wanted to wish you a VERY HAPPY THANKSGIVING! May we all realize how much we have to be thankful for.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Lydia

 

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9 thoughts on “Give Thanks

  1. And I’m thankful for you Lyd, and what an encouragement you have been in my life and in others. I have appreciated your honesty and your ability to recognize on the one hand your continuing desire to grow in your understanding of the ways of God, and on the other, your inability to do so because of your finite-ness. How can we fathom the unfathomable? I think that process often produces in you frustration (and sometimes anger) but in the long run it brings you back to child-like faith and trust. It is that faith which has been tested again and again by hardship and disappointment–, that is what makes you so influential. Love you- GO PATS!

  2. Lydia, I was about to write a reply to this truly wonderful new post and then realized that Dave just beat me to the punch by writing many of the things I was about to say! So I’ll just add that reading and being so moved by your words gave ME one more reason to be thankful for God’s grace in our lives this year. Also, I want to add how thankful I am that you have such a great picture of Pupper and Woof in your blog. I so enjoy looking at them; it’s the next best thing to having them jump all over me, which I love almost as much as I love you! Have a grace-filled Thanksgiving with your dear family. Love, Tibby

  3. I am so glad to hear from you. I have missed your blogs and your huge smile at church. I am thankful that you are my sister in Christ who encourages so many of us. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with Jane, Mark, Luke and any other relatives and friends who will share in your bounty. Love, Karen

  4. Lydia,

    Thank you for sharing your reflections and I am so very sorry for the difficult, very difficult, circumstances you have been through. Thank you for sharing some of your story and your list of thanksgivings!! Yes! It is better to be angry at God than to not believe in God! and Yes, He asks us to be thankful IN our circumstances, not for them!

    I had missed your emails and looked back to see if I had somehow unsubscribed!! Glad to know that you have a voice again! You have an audience that appreciates hearing from you. 🙂

    We have a oddly “normal” thanksgiving day. I just got home from the veggie market and I will cook a chicken for dinner with some of the special side dishes of thanksgiving. We are thankful that for now God has us in this place and intersecting with the people that He has put in our lives.

    much love and prayers Carol and Dan

  5. I love you and I am thankful that you are my sister and are back at home now.

    I believe you are spot on. I also don’t believe God expects you to be thankful for sickness and horrible struggles – you can only be thankful that you are not alone.

    I am thankful that you are able to get back to blogging as I believe that you are helping others and yourself through your God-given talent.

  6. HI Lyd,All I can say is WOW! I did not know you were going through such a difficult time.I believe the Bible says to give thanks IN all things and not FOR all things. I think that is what you said too.I have suffered from depression for many years, but it is mild and held at bay with meds. I hate feeling depressed and I hate the feelings. But I am able to usually function well. and all the while learning how to focus on Him and His power and Love. Thank you for being so honest and sharing.Love you sister! Wish I did not live so far away and could visit you. So glad for Your sister Jane and family including the dogs!!!! Merry Christmas to you and yours! Jeri

    Date: Wed, 25 Nov 2015 19:20:41 +0000 To: jeribok55@hotmail.com

  7. Dear Lydia,so glad to here you are recovering,I have missed reading your blog.You have always been my prayer warrier,You have always helped me in our BIBLE studies At your house.Will keep you in my prayers.miss you Love you and God is with you,say hello toJane.

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