*Disclaimer: This is not an ad for purple bras.
Have you ever read a meme or blog telling you to “Be Thankful” and you kind of want to punch the author? Because I have (felt that way, not punched someone).
Thankfulness is a hot-button topic in Christian circles and countless people have written about it. In fact, if you put “Thankfulness” in our search box on allmomdoes.com you can find lots of articles on the subject (the crabby ones are mine).
Being thankful is preached about on a regular basis. And yes, the Bible tells us a gazillion times to be thankful. Besides providing us with a beautiful way to honor God and everything he has blessed us with (most importantly our savior) it is also in our best interest to be thankful. Because being thankful is healing. And, God knows that.
Still, when I hear a perky person who looks like they’ve sailed through life on a boat made of rainbows and sugarplums lecturing me on how we should all be thankful, I stop listening (and start thinking about punching).
I know, I know, some of these people have learned about thankfulness by going through some really hard life lessons. And, their faith has matured in amazing ways because they have gone through some tough seasons of grief.
The problem for me is that people never write while they’re a whining mess of “thank-LESS-ness.” They wait until they’ve come through the furnace and have reached the other side. So, even though they know what they speak of, they’re so far down the road from those of us in the midst of despair that we can’t even see them, much less relate to them.
I’ve been stuck in a long season of grief and suffering (I’ll spare you the details). And, I’ve done my best to stay positive, to change my circumstances, to step up my prayer life and to study the word. I’ve tried pretty much everything, but there hasn’t been a lot of thankfulness.
Because, when you’re in the midst of a big pile of awful, nasty circumstances, your first thought isn’t, “Hey, thanks!”
But, as I was lying in bed the other day (stripped to my core and really struggling) a voice whispered in my ear, “What are you thankful for?”
I may or may not have rolled my eyes. Because, really? Thankful? Are you kidding me?
But, the voice was persistent: “What are you thankful for?”
And, since I was stuck in bed anyway, I allowed my mind to wander to try and find something, anything I could be thankful for. My life had been bleak for so long that it took me a while to even be able to think of anything remotely positive.
And, then a weird thought hit me: I found a purple bra that morning that I’d forgotten about in the back of my drawer and it was really comfortable. It didn’t pinch or poke, the straps didn’t slide down and the band was the perfect length. I could actually wear it in bed and feel comfortable, cozy even.
And so, I said, “Thank you, God, for this soft, purple bra.”(I may have also been trying to prove a point that there was little in my life to be thankful for at the moment!).
And you know what? God didn’t get mad at my snotty answer. Instead, I heard: “What else?”
And, suddenly thoughts of my sweet husband who cares for me with such kindness entered my head. I pictured my kids who have grown into amazing adults and I smiled at memories of the antics of my adorable grandkids. And, a bit of peace slipped through the despair.
I wish I could say that I was instantly transformed into a thankful woman of God, but it wouldn’t be true. There are still days the tears slip silently down my cheeks and I just don’t have it in me to thank anyone, even my precious God.
So, my advice? Start small. If all you have to be thankful for is a forgotten purple bra in the back of a drawer, than just be thankful for that. I’m working on being thankful for at least one simple thing a day and it is helping, just as God knew it would.