Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Thankful Heart

A thankful heart is something God expects of us. Thankfulness can also add joy to our lives in spite of adverse circumstances. Being a caregiver of a terminally ill loved one is one of life’s greatest challenges and heartaches. Finding joy in the midst of it can seem like an impossibility. As a caregiver for my husband for four and a half years, however, I knew I needed to find things for which to be thankful in order to endure and survive emotionally. 
It is best to start thanking God for His presence and peace. Then try to write down at least three things each day for which you are thankful. I did this while I was a caregiver, and I found it very helpful. No matter how difficult your care-giving situation, there is something for which you can thank and praise the Lord each day.  
A thankful heart opens up the very windows of heaven. Thankfulness gives one a foretaste of heaven itself. In the process, these experiences provide even more reasons for gratitude because of the joy which enters one’s life through the avenue of a thankful heart.  
Thankfulness comes from focusing one’s heart on the Lord throughout the day. It also comes from looking for His wonders and treasures. Remember, however, that sometimes these treasures come through pleasant experiences; and sometimes these treasures come through the difficult moments (see Isaiah 45:3). Valuable lessons are often learned in the dark and difficult experiences.  Often, these experiences are the only way to learn dependence on God and trust in Him. This was and is certainly my experience as a caregiver for my husband and then during the grieving after his death. 
At times it may feel so contrived to express thanks to God when we are feeling really down in the pits.  Even then, it is best to express thanks, however. This is because thankfulness is the road to the presence of God and His peace. It is amazing, but in the measure we give thanks regardless of our feelings, God gives joy in spite of our circumstances. 
Care-giving is often an overwhelming challenge. The difficulties and heartaches will not go away by simply pursuing a thankful heart. Those who are thankful, however, will be blessed even though their care-giving heartaches remain. Joy and pain can coexist. So, dear Christian caregiver, for which blessing will you thank God today?  

( I will be away from my computer for a few days, so there will be no new post next week.  The next post will be on or around July 10.  Use this time to read some of the older posts.)

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