It's 5 a.m. I woke up at 2 a.m. with a migraine. At 3 a.m., my youngest daughter woke me up to tell me her stomach hurt. At 4 a.m., I woke to the sounds of a puking child. Welcome to the first day of spring break. I'll be honest. I'm not feeling very thankful right now. I want my head to stop pounding. I want my daughter to feel better. I don't want to worry all week about whether anyone else is going to get sick. We have plans for this week. We have playdates and a short family vacation coming up. I don't want to spend the week with sick kids. I want to have fun with them. I want all my plans to work the way I planned them.
Yet, this morning, as I held back my daughter's hair from her face as she puked and as I cleaned the floor in her room, all I could think about was 1 Thessalonians 5:18, "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
"Really, Lord?" I asked. "Because I'm not finding much to feel thankful for at the moment. I'd much rather be asleep in my own bed."
"Really," He said.
I think 1 Thessalonians 5:18 is one of the toughest verses in the Bible. It doesn't tell us to be thankful for our circumstances; it tells us to be thankful in our circumstances. It's a small difference, but an important one. I don't have to be thankful my daughter puked or that my head is pounding. But I do have to find things to be thankful for despite my circustances.
So, here are the things I'm thankful for this morning with my pounding head and puking child.
- my daughter didn't get sick this weekend and miss her AWANA event.
- my husband got up to help me clean up the mess.
- my older daughter didn't wake up.
- it was almost time to get up when all this happened.
- my daughter's not sicker.
- my circumstances gave me something to write about this morning.
- my daughter didn't get sick last week in the middle of her state assessment testing.
- that my daughter went back to bed.
- that we went to the library yesterday so we have plenty of books for a stay-home day.
- that God's got it all under control even if my plans for the day just went up in smoke.
It's not easy to be thankful in all circumstances. Sometimes it requires us to think hard. Sometimes it requires us to simply focus on God, on who He is and what He's done for us.
Our attitude in difficult circumstances teaches our kids how to deal with difficult circumstances. If we learn to give thanks no matter what the exterior pressures are, our kids will learn to do the same.
What can you find to be thankful for in your circumstances today?