Dinnertime with two young children is often lively. Requests for drinks, then spilled drinks. Dropped forks, slopped food, and vocal preferences about plate colors. Recently I’ve tried to add conversation to our chaos, asking the boys what they’re thankful for. Their top answers? Playgrounds, Daddy, the trampoline park, and my two-year-old’s current obsession: garbage trucks.
I know he means his toy garbage truck, but thinking about the resulting mess if no one removed our trash made me realize: no matter the season I’m in, there’s always something to be grateful for.
In some seasons, though, you have to dig deeper to find it.
Take my winters spent in England. I’m Florida-born-and-raised, and when I followed my British husband to live in the UK, I struggled with the cold and dark months. My commute into central London included a long walk across a bridge, and during one particularly hard winter, I had to fight hard for joy.
Scripture tells us, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always? Even in difficulty? What’s the secret?
Give thanks, it says.
So walking across that cold bridge, I recited a list. Some days my list covered the big things: my salvation, my family, health, having a job. On other, darker days, with freezing rain battering my face, I pushed away images of Florida beaches and instead fixed my thoughts on what I did have:
The ability to walk, even if it was across an icy bridge.
A place to make coffee at the end of my commute.
Every time I dug, I struck gold. And I held onto joy.
Life won’t always be like a Florida beach; we might trudge through circumstances as cold and dark as England’s winter. But choosing to give thanks is as methodical as walking: find one thing, then the next. One step at a time. Before you know it, you’ll be across the bridge, your joy in Him intact.
Photo by: Sid Balachandran