Today’s Truth

Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever, (Psalm 106:1, NIV).

Friend to Friend

The sky outside is a dense, soaked grey today. It reminds me of earlier this year when my husband and I watched from our living room window as menacing clouds rose up in the distance then stretched their fingers tentatively toward the ground. We live in tornado country and we don’t take such sights lightly. Flipping on the television, we heard the weatherman telling us to find a safe place as he pointed to splotches of red on the map. We went to our designated spot and took a moment to pray as the tree limbs began to sway outside.

The dark masses soon gave way to brilliant blue again. The wind quieted and we stepped back into the rhythm of our routine. It was not until hours later as I curled up in my cozy bed under a pile of warm blankets that it occurred to me to say “thank you” to God for what didn’t happen that day.

I mentally scrolled through the list of other disasters I’d narrowly missed in life. The bad-news boy I had a huge crush on as a teenager. The suspicious test results that worried the doctor but turned out to be nothing at all. The countless times I’ve asked God to keep my husband safe as he headed out for a bike ride and then watched him walk back through the door sweaty and smiling hours later.

And, yes, I understand that even if the storm wreaks havoc, the unwelcome diagnosis comes, or the heart gets broken, we are still to say thanks. I have experienced firsthand the mysterious, hard beauty that can come from tears and ashes. But the place where I seem to most often miss an opportunity to be grateful is when everything turns out fine and I just go on my merry way.

God invites us to say thanks then, too. First, simply because He is worthy of it. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; his love endures forever,” (Psalm 106:1). What He prevents in our lives is just as full of gifts as what He allows.

Also, this kind of gratitude can cure so much of our discontent. When I think of how I could be suddenly homeless after a storm, I smile a bit more at the roof over my head and don’t notice that stain in the carpet as much. When I recognize I might be in the hospital instead of sitting in a little coffee shop with my computer, it puts that envy-provoking picture on social media into proper perspective. When I think of all the turns my story could have taken, the rocky patches in the road of my relationships don’t seem quite as much like boulders.

This year as I sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, I want to express my appreciation for all that’s right in front of me—good food, memories being made, dear friends and family. But I also want to thank God for all that isn’t there, for what could have been if things had gone another way or even if I had always gotten my way.

Yes, gratitude is about what we can see. But I’m learning it’s also about thanking Him for what never came to be.

Let’s Pray

God, we thank You for who You are and all You have done for us. We praise You when life is hard. We praise You when life is happy. We choose to thank You in all that’s in-between. You alone deserve to receive glory.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Make a gratitude list today and be sure to include the things that, thankfully, never came to be. If you’re willing, share one thing you’re thanking God for in the comments below.

More from the Girlfriends

Holley Gerth has a brand new release! Her newest release is The Powerful Purpose of Introverts: Why the World Needs You to Be You! If you’re an introvert, or you love, lead, or share life with one, you need this book today! (It would also be a great Christmas present and a way to say “I see you” to an introvert you love.)

© 2020 by Holley Gerth. All rights reserved.

23 Responses to “Choosing a Different Kind of Gratitude”

  1. Wendi says:

    Start every day with a gracious heart, be thankful for all that is and what never came to be, trust God’s plan,He is good.
    Holley, this introvert loves your book!

  2. Kelly says:

    I’m thankful for the waiting that has drawn me closer to God and changed me for the better. He has and continues to give me more patience and grace through the waiting.

  3. Marilyn says:

    Thank you for this reminder. I have tried to practice this gratitude ever since I read about the ten who were healed and only one turned back to tell Jesus thank you. He asked where were the other nine? Lord, let me always be the grateful one!

  4. Alice says:

    I am praying with a very grateful and blessed heart my daughter and daughter in law are both expecting babies. Both suffered the deep loss of a miscarriage a month apart this past summer; both are due with babies two weeks apart July 2021.
    I pray that they both get past this unknown time in early stage of pregnancy- I pray they are able to have these babies and they are already so loved- I am grateful and blessed that God has blessed them and blessed us – I trust God and have faith that these two little ones are going to make it.
    I pray with a strong and loving and very thankful heart

  5. Angela says:

    I was moved from a management position I loved to a position I did not but didn’t find out till I came back from a 2 week quarantine with no explanation. Now I am working in our corporate accounting office and love it. I still miss my management position but as I watch some things happening I praise God every day that he took me out when he did!!!

  6. Shell-Ann says:

    Lord I am thankful that tomorrow is in your hands.

  7. Rose says:

    My 88 year old mother has had a slight stroke and been in hospital. We heard she’d been in contact with a positive COVID patient. Thanking God today that she’s still testing negative for COVID and has been able to be moved to respite care. Thank you, Father 🙏

  8. Emily says:

    I am thankful my 80 year old precious sister’s cancer diagnosis is Stage 1 and contained in her neck. Praising God it’s treatable !

  9. Christy says:

    So very thankful for the unanswered prayers. That bad relationship ended & it was only by God’s Grace that I didn’t go thru with it. Father you are in control and I will praise you on the mountain and in the valley.

  10. Maria says:

    I am so thankful to the Lord as I watch His hand move in the lives of me and my family.There have been many many ups and downs ,but God has seen us through, it has taken lots of faith and many prayers from faithful friends and family.
    God had moved us to a new state far from friends and family,I really had to give up my will, to have His will be done, may I humble myself and always remember it’s His will not my will ,in His time.
    Thank God for His mercy and grace.

  11. Suzy says:

    Thank you God for….

    being with me through every sleepless night
    knowing the number of tears I have shed
    carrying me through the tsunamis of life

  12. Sonya says:

    Thank God that although my marriage is rocky right now, I still have a marriage.

  13. Jazz says:

    I’m thankful that I have never had a day without being loved. God has shown me so much love through my family, church family and friends. ❤️ Thank you Lord!

  14. Shanitra says:

    I am Thankful for my health and strength to still be here with my family and friends. This year has come with trials and tribulations that are indescribable. I am just thankful.

  15. Kay says:

    I praise God for the medical help I’ve received within the last 12 months. I had open heart surgery just before Christmas in 2019. By then my heart function was very poor & I feared for my life. The verse of scripture that God impressed on me at that time was Deuteronomy 31:8…Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you. PTL. It was a rough road but He kept his promise & never abandoned me.

  16. Terra says:

    I am so grateful and thankful for the trials in life, because without them I often do not press in and lean unto Him which is where I draw my strength. I learn to trust him more when I have to depend on Him, and am reminded He loves and cares about me and all the details. I am never doing life alone. For this, I am humbled and grateful.

  17. Gina says:

    Me not being able to get pregnant and birth my own children has brought me closer to God and through marriage and adoption has brought 5 children into my life in the mother role! Praise be to the Lord!

  18. Brooke says:

    I am so thankful to not have married the boy I prayed to marry for ten long years in college and beyond. I’m thankful for God’s loving, wise ways who steered me toward the imperfect, but perfect for me, husband I have today! How happy we are to have found each other in our 30s, and how thankful we are to have never suffered through the pain of divorce. Our marriage isn’t perfect, but with God’s help, we grow together and fall together and get back up together!

  19. Yvonne says:

    I am thankful that God’s love never falters, it endures forever. I am thankful for my husband of almost 40 years, and his obedience to the Lord, because of that one act of obedience, I am alive and well today. I praise God that He continues to pursue my prodigal children.

  20. Holley Gerth says:

    I’m thankful for all of YOU for reading and commenting! Thanks for sharing!

  21. Sharon says:

    I am grateful for life that I can share with both of my parent’s ,all of my siblings and our children

  22. Lucy says:

    I am thankful for God’s mercy upon my life. What I thought was a scare in my medical investigations was nothing at all. For this I am forever grateful to you Lord. Thank you Lord for saving me.

  23. Cathy says:

    I am so thankful that I can trust God with the unknowns that await us each day.. I am thankful that His word is the truth that we can declare over those things that concern us…I am so thankful that His word says in Isaiah that He will keep me in perfect peace because I trust Him and I keep my mind and heart focused on the word and not the worry…

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8