Working at a correctional facility, I have seen, met and interviewed many women and men from different age groups, races and socio-economic backgrounds. Many are homeless, have limited or no social support system and have an addiction. Some are unemployed. Some have no sense of what reality is; they don’t have a sound mind.
It may be easy to think, “That could never be me.” But when I take the time to listen to their stories, I quickly realize if it weren’t for the grace of God, I could have been homeless, unemployed or out of my mind. You could’ve been them.
When you have a home, a car, good or great health, a family, a few good friends and money in the bank, even though it doesn’t seem like a lot, you are blessed. You may not think you are blessed because you don’t think you have it all, but you are. Maybe you’d change some things about your life if you could, but you still have much for which to be grateful.
This year I have endured struggles, obstacles and conflicts with work, sin and relationships. I am certain you have endured your share of struggles, obstacles and conflicts, too. Yet, here I am! And here you are! We probably didn’t go through our challenges being prim and proper or with praises on our lips every step of the way, but thank God we made it through. We made it! I have experienced growth in wisdom, patience, love, blessings and God’s grace and favor. And I know you’ve experienced your own growth as well.
I encourage you to do what Paul says in Philippians 4:4 (NLT), “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again--rejoice!” With Christ you can always give thanks. You may lose the world, lose your family, lose your friends, but you will always have Christ and that means you have everything.
Maintain a spirit of gratitude throughout the entire year. Don’t let it fade after Thanksgiving. No matter how disappointed or discouraged you may feel because your plans didn’t work out, the wedding was called off, you just lost your job, your business isn’t doing well or your relationship feels doomed, I encourage you to be grateful.