To help you drag yourself out of that deep dark hole of despair and to realize how furiously God loves you, consider giving thanks every day. Begin by hunting for little things to be thankful for. Perhaps things as minute as:
– a much-needed nap
– a cup of tea to soothe a sore throat
– a thoughtful note from a friend who shared a story about your loved one
Years after my son died, I read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. At her recommendation and with an appreciation for her example, I began recording God’s graces each day—at least three a day. I discovered that even while camped deep in the throes of grief, there is always, always something to be thankful for. God used (and is still using) the practice of giving thanks to progress my own grief journey. I suspect that thanksgiving will grow you too.
Giving thanks was not something I was able—or even desired—to do those first months following the sudden death of my seventeen-year-old. And that was okay with God. When I did begin years later, I started with the real and raw:
– the ability to crawl out of bed
– that I was able to get dressed for the first time in three days
– Burger King who fed my family night after night for months
Eventually, I mustered up the strength to think beyond myself:
– EMT’s and police officers who altruistically clean up horrible car crashes and deliver fateful news day after day
– that my youngest son was not also in the car as was originally planned that fateful Saturday
– friends who delivered food, washed clothes, and stood in the gap for me when I could not pray
Did you drag yourself out of bed this morning and put one foot in front of the other? Thank God. He did that!
Are you processing grief better than you were a month ago? Thank Him. He’s in the details!
Did God love you through a friend today? Give thanks. God sent her to you!
Have you been able to smile for even one moment this week? Thank God for his gift.
Consider the accident or illness. How could it have been worse? Thank Abba that it wasn’t.
Thank Him for moments of peace and moments of laughter. They are gifts from Him. Thank Him again when those moments of peace turn into hours or days.
As I learn to give thanks along this unwanted journey, I open the windows of my heart and soul a little wider to make a place for God to grow and heal me. He is using the death of my son. He will use your grief as well.
My growth process was slow and painful. I made many mistakes. I wallowed too long. My prayer for you is that you will be much quicker at learning to give thanks, that your grief will not be wasted, and that Christ will be exalted in your sorrow and in your life.
You are special to God and special to me,