Joy, Thanksgiving, Trials

Thanksgiving: Finding Joy in Every Circumstance

Meme with the quote: "If you let something steal your thanksgiving, you let something steal your joy, and if you let something steal your joy, you let something steal your strength." ~Ann Voskamp, Author on a backdrop of fall-leafed trees near a creek.

@JeanneTakenaka

As we are in the throes of Thanksgiving week here in the United States, I decided to add to a post I originally shared a few years ago. It’s short but sweet. And, I’m still sticking with a quote. 🙂

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I love this quote by Ann Voskamp. Thanksgiving is an attitude of the heart, and it’s a choice. When we choose thankfulness, joy is the result in our hearts. We see the good things God has placed in our lives. When we take the time and make the effort to say, “Thank you,” we not only show Him appreciation, we build up a storehouse of joy within us.

A child's hand holding five kernels of corn, symbolic of what the Pilgrims had to eat their first winter in the new land.

It’s not always easy to choose thanksgiving in our circumstances. Some people have lost loved ones this year. Others are dealing with terminal illness. Divorce. Prodigal children. Heartbreak. Job loss. And perhaps the thought of “putting on a happy face” is absolutely draining.

As we’ve dealt with some of our own losses this year, I’m finding the truth that, when we choose gratitude in the midst of heartache, God gives us what we need . . . joy, peace. And it’s true that when our hearts are fixed on God—on His goodness rather than on our hard—we can know His strength. 

Sometime this week, let’s take a few minutes to write down things we can be thankful for. It may not change our circumstances, but it may lift our hearts.

A table set for Thanksgiving breakfast

As we Americans prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, and the beginnings of our country, may we also choose thankfulness in the midst of our circumstances.

What about you? What’s one thing you are thankful for right now? What helps you give thanks in hard seasons?

Click to Tweet: When we choose gratitude in the midst of heartache, God gives us what we need, joy, peace

I’m linking up with #TellHisStory and #RaRaLinkup

27 thoughts on “Thanksgiving: Finding Joy in Every Circumstance”

  1. I’m grateful for the bad old days
    of blood and rage and fear,
    for they taught me of the ways
    that I can thrive, right here.
    I’m grateful for the days of pain
    that had me on the cold hard floor,
    for there I learned how to remain
    and take a little more.
    I’m grateful for the loss of hope
    and a future sore diminished,
    for it taught me how to cope
    with life when all is finished.
    I’m grateful that I am ahead
    by considering me already dead.

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    1. Andrew, as I read your poem I kept thinking about how our past choices and actions shape our present. In your case, it seems especially true. The lessons you learned and lived in your past have strengthened you for your present reality, as difficult as it is. Thank you for being an inspiration and for being steadfast.

      I’m praying for you and Barb, my friend.

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  2. I am grateful that I can visit friends like you and feel encouraged and pointed to Jesus! Thank you for the simple reminder! Happy Thanksgiving

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  3. I am grateful the Lord brought us through this last year and in His grace and mercy has given us another year to all gather around our table. May you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving!

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    1. Joanne, I’m in a similar place as you . . . so thankful for how God has brought us through the past year and given us the opportunity to gather with family. May your Thanksgiving be filled with joy and may love surround your table.

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  4. Jeanne,
    This Thanksgiving will be hard in that my two adult children will not be joining us. Despite attempts to reach out in peace, they prefer to hold grudges. When those who are supposedly the closest to us, reject us, it hurts. I am having to really work at choosing to be thankful. God has blessed me so abundantly and I do believe that thanks begets joy. I’m thankful for my wonderful husband and for my health this Thanksgiving (no surgeries).
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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    1. Bev, discord in families can make holidays difficult and painful. I’m so sorry things are tense with your children right now. I am already praying for comfort for your heart in the middle of this. I’m so glad God has given you a wonderful husband and a surgery-free holiday season. I’m sending you hugs, friend.

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    1. Melissa, I’m with you. I am so thankful for God’s never-failing, passionate, tender love for us. He is a comfort-and-peace-giver. I hope your Thanksgiving is wonderful and filled with laughter and sweet memories.

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  5. I love this quote from Ann! May we not allow anything to steal our gratitude this year! Thanks for this reminder today, Jeanne! These words blessed me richly!

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  6. Love that quote to. It seems at first that gratitude and heartache are unlikely bedfellows, yet you can have both. They can go together. And the two together help move you forward and through the heartache. Thanks for the reminder to not let anyone steal my joy.

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    1. Agreed, Theresa, heartache and gratitude do seem a bit like the odd couple. But, when we couple them, it’s amazing how God can work in our hearts in the midst of difficult circumstances. I hope the Lord fills your Thanksgiving with much joy and much love. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  7. I love that quote, Jeanne, and your reflections here. Right now? I am thankful for you and other blogging friends who encourage and inspire me. 🙂 Love and blessings of a peace-filled Thanksgiving!

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  8. You are so right… being thankful IS a choice. Here’s to keeping our hearts filled with gratitude and our minds on heavenly things. Bless you!

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