Thanksgiving in Transition
"Have an attitude of gratitude!” “Give thanks!” “You’re too blessed to be stressed!”
We’ve all said these phrases. Whether our internal dialogue is a personal pep talk or we blurt it out as courtesy hype to someone who seems to be having a hard time…being thankful is a thing everyone should do. Can we agree?
Our family is currently “in transition.” Sometimes in football we use that phrase to describe being without a job. This is not that. My husband recently began coaching for a new college and has been working in Virginia for almost a month while we stayed behind in Albany, Georgia. We listed our house in Georgia a couple weeks ago. Approximately 3 days ago - after two weeks of showing and no bites - we packed our bags and left the house “show ready” heading to Virginia for an only-God-knows-how-long extended vacation without knowing exactly where we’ll live and when we’ll land there. We are LITERALLY in transition.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Paul says we are to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for [us].”
I have a lot of feelings about the details - or lack thereof - of our current circumstances. It wouldn’t benefit anyone for me to spill my guts about exactly how I feel in this blog post, because how I feel will change tomorrow. So, this means I rejoice in transition. Pray without ceasing as we transition. I choose to give thanks as I transition; for this is the will of God for our family. Prayer is so much more than presenting a laundry list of requests to God about the details of what house I want, how much money I’d like to make when we sell our house, and my personal preference of a timeline…and hoping He says yes.
Gratitude is a foundational ingredient of prayer! Just saying thank you to God for who He is, what He’s done, and for the promises in His word is a great place to start. Thanksgiving is a key that unlocks the supernatural miracle of the power of God in the word. In John 6, there were “impossible” circumstances confronting Jesus and the disciples. There were way too many people who followed Jesus there, they needed food, and nobody could figure out how to make it happen:
“Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.” (John 6:8-11)
It just said when Jesus had given thanks, God miraculously provided more than enough. BAM! Jesus didn’t say “God please multiply these 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread by about 1.2K give or take a few so we can all have enough to eat with some leftovers, please.”
JESUS JUST GAVE THANKS AND TRUSTED HIS FATHER TO PROVIDE.
Later on in John 11, a new set of “impossible” circumstances confronted Jesus and He did it again. His friend Lazarus had been dead for four days. Jesus looked up to heaven and said: “Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me…Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:41-43)
JESUS THANKED GOD FOR HEARING HIS PRAYERS BEFORE HE ASKED FOR ANYTHING. THEN GOD ANSWERED WITH A MIRACLE.
Writing this is a part of my faith and obedience to the Lord during this time. This is HARD. My feelings are "doing the most." I have opinions and desires that change daily. So, I’ll turn some scripture into prayer to wrap up because it’s kind of my favorite thing:
I rejoice in you, Lord, always; again I choose to say rejoice!
Help my gentleness be evident to all during this time because you, Lord, are near.
You say to not be anxious about anything, but in everything to pray WITH THANKSGIVING and present my requests to you. So I confess I am anxious, help me with that. I am so very thankful for who You are and how You work. I’m thankful you chose to save me by grace and that this is Your story, not mine. Thanks for including me in Your story. Please guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus with your peace during this time. I’m a mess without your help. Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - help me to think about these things during this time. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. You are good and what You do is good. In the name of my Lord, Christ Jesus, Amen. (prayer from Philippians 4:4-8)