Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thankful In All Things

For other Thankful Thursday posts click here

I love Thankful Thursdays. There are so many things we should be thankful for each and every day. I also enjoy reading other Thankful Thursday posts as well and seeing how the Lord has blessed others through the week as well.

This week I am blessed with the awesome honor of sharing my heart regarding Illness and Faith: Does Faith Really Matter, on Blog Radio this Friday, September 12th @ 12:00 PM Pacific Time. This whole week has been The Invisible Illness Week, and they have had speakers all week. To view a listing of times and topics (and you can listen anytime because blog radio is archived), please click here

I am going to share an excerpt from my seminar I will be presenting this Friday. I love acrostics so I made an one for FAITH: Having Faith will give you:

F - Faithful Friend

A- Affirmation

I - Inspiration

T- Thankful

H- Hope

Here is the excerpt:

Our next letter is T – Thankful – Definition: conscious of benefit received; well pleased: glad
You may be asking, how can having faith make me thankful? You see, when you realize that you have a faithful friend who will never leave you; you become affirmed regarding your illness, and affirmed in who are in God’s eyes… this forever friend inspires us to encourage others through our own suffering; then we can truly become thankful for what we have and do not have. Let me explain my thought:

When we are inward focused, we can only see ourselves and our suffering, then it is hard to be thankful; but…. When we start becoming outward focused, looking to others and their needs, then we can truly become thankful. I don’t know how many times I would complain about my problems and needs. I would be bitter and resentful that I could and cannot do the things I want to do. Then I would hear someone else’s troubles and I would think, “oh my, I don’t have it that bad, Thank you Lord that I am still able to ….” My 85 year old mother says, “I’m all right when I hear about other people’s problems – we’re not doing that bad at all.” There is always someone out there that is worse off than we are. Now I am not thankful that others are suffering, or even suffering more than I; but I can be thankful and grateful that things could be worse and they are not…. I am thankful for what I DO have and DO NOT have.

The Word of God says: (I Thessalonians 5:18 )(NLT) – No matter what happens; always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Even at our worse, our faith will help us to be thankful for what we do have…. If you can’t think of anything to be thankful for… if you have faith… be thankful for your faith…. If you know Jesus as you Savior, be thankful for that. If you had food and water today… be thankful for that. If you slept in a bed … be thankful… If you have a roof over your head, be thankful for that… if you have family… be thankful for them…

I want to share a letter to God from an unknown author:

Dear GOD:

I want to thank You for what you have already done. I am not going to wait until I see results or receive rewards;I am thanking you right now. I am not going to wait until I feel better or things look better; I am thanking you right now.I am not going to wait until people say they are sorry or until they stop talking about me; I am thanking you right now.I am not going to wait until the pain in my body disappears; I am thanking you right now.I am not going to wait until my financial situation improves; I am going to thank you right now.I am not going to wait until the children are asleep and the house is quiet; I am going to thank you right now.I am not going to wait until I get promoted at work or until I get the job; I am going to thank you right now.I am not going to wait until I understand every experience in my life that has caused me pain or grief; I am thanking you right now.I am not going to wait until the journey gets easier or the challenges are removed; I am thanking you right now.I am thanking you because I am alive. I am thanking you because I made it through the day's difficulties. I am thanking you because I have walked around the obstacles. I am thanking you because I have the ability and the opportunity to do more and do better.
I'm thanking you because FATHER, YOU haven't given up on me.

Do you see where I am coming from? Part of our daily routine should be a book of thanksgiving…. Every day, count your blessings. If we are busy counting our blessings then we are not focusing on our problems, our suffering. When we find something to be thankful for, it will bring a smile on our face. Eventually, we can even be thankful for the pain, and suffering, because those have made us a stronger person… they strengthen our faith… and our hope.


It can be a challenge to thank the Lord even in the midst of trials and tribulations, but I have learned to live with my challenges, be thankful for my challenges; and use my challenges to encourage and help others.

Some of my challenges: Since 1985 I have been living with multiple chronic illnesses: Fibromyalgia, ME/ CFS, Peripheral Neuropathy, Osteoarthritis, Interstitial cystitis, IBS, chemical sensitivities, Hashymotto’s, ADHD, carpal tunnel in both hands, Plantar fasciitis in both feet, bone spurs, and have been treated for SLE Lupus.

I have also experienced various losses and sorrows such as: growing up with an extremely abusive father; parents divorced twice (to each other); I have had a miscarriage; hysterectomy at 25 years old; I’ve gone through the troubled teenager phase – daughter’s pregnancy; daughter’s failed marriage due to a dreadfully abusive husband; family members with bi-polar disorder and other mental and physical illnesses and death; many heartaches, trials, and blessings in the ministry; I’ve had various surgeries; my husband I have both lost our fathers to cancer and RA; my mother in law has Alzheimer's; and I have suffered life threatening illnesses, just to name a few challenges.

I have been mostly home bound for the past five years. Through all of life’s trials, God has been a faithful Friend showing me that He is not finished with me. He has shown me that I am still an exceptionally useful vessel worthy of His used. The Lord has been teaching me to Live Simply, Laugh Often, and to Love Deeply
Thank you Heavenly Father for ALL things - not just the good in my life, but the challenges as well. May I grow stronger in my faith as I learn to thank you even in the midst of my trials. May my eyes be fixed on you and not my struggles. Thank you Lord for loving me and entrusting me with the awesome opportunity to encourage others even in the midst of my pain.


luvmy4sons said...

I loved the I am going to thank you now quote. How awesome. Praying God's blessing upon you for healing.

Denise said...

Praying for God to lay His gentle hands of healing upon you my sweet friend. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post, love you.

Marsha said...

I'm sitting here with tears rolling down my face. I'm so thankful for you and how you have perservered under tremendous stresses and near death at times. I think of Angie and how she and her sister Aimee are going through the loss of their sister Wanda (in February I believe) to a chronic illness. I weep with her sometimes and think, there but by the grace of God go I.

I love you. Can't wait to listen to you tomorrow. I promise, I'm not calling in, only listening and learning at your feet.

i said...

This is a lovely and inspiring thankful post. Thank you for sharing. Remain blessed!

bp said...

This is such a beautiful post. Wow, I just don't know what to say! Thank you. I'm sure you'll bless many as you speak. I know I've been blessed by your blog.

Susan said...

Hey Michelle,

What a BEAUTIFUL post and testimony to the FAITHFULNESS of our God.

Thank you for sharing your heart and all the many beautiful things God has shown you.

I'll continue to keep you in prayer as you daily trust God.

You are such an inspiration to all of us out here!!

Blessings my sweet friend~

Joyfulsister said...

Hi Michele,
What a heartfelt post, I could truly feel your thankfulness through these words you have written, I also have a life threatening chronic illness, and I too can always find something to be thankful for each day, The Joy of the Lord continues to be my strength. You are an inspiration of hope and strength and I'm blessed to have met you.
Aloha Lorie

Nancie said...

Hi Michele,

Thanks for sharing this lovely and very encouraging thankful post. Thank God for the ways He has ministered to you and sustained you through all your afflictions. I am remembering you in prayers.

Thank you for sharing the letter with. We need to count our blessings daily! Thanks for being such an encouragement to me and many others. Truly you are a precious vessel of mercy in God's hands as you shared your faith and God's goodness to you with us! May God continue to draw you nearer to Him each day, and His joy and peace be your strength always.

With much love and prayers,