Heart of Thankfulness in a Time of Grief

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My heart pounded as I held my phone loosely in my shaking hand. A few missed calls from my brother and a voicemail from my mom. In the middle of the Galleria with hundreds of people during the dinner rush hour, I called my mom and heard her amidst the chaos utter the words, “Dad…heart attack…died.” Time stopped. Like a movie filmed in slow motion, I stood there stunned. I looked up at my former pastor with tears in my eyes. He’s gone.

Immediately, Pastor Phil prayed for me. If you knew how divine this moment was, you would be praising the Lord. Pastor Phil lives in California; I live in Texas. We had passed dates back and forth, trying to find the right time to meet. The two of us had ministered together for five years until I decided to go to seminary. Pastor Phil would always call me his right arm. So who better to be with when I got the most devastating news than him. Then as we turned Pastor Phil saw a friend. It turns out that man had lost his father two weeks prior. His wife compassionately came up to me, and we prayed in the middle of the second floor of the Galleria mall. Her words gave me such comfort right then. God pays attention to details, and He knew exactly what I needed.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

God cares for His children. Time after time, there have been small signs of hope amidst the dark times. Not for a moment will he leave us, and His promises reign true.

I don’t know what you have been going through, but I know that we serve a big God who loves us very much. This season of Thanksgiving can often leave us with bittersweet moments and hard memories of loved ones. It is easy to focus on the bad, but maybe, just maybe, this time, we can present our hardships to the Lord in exchange for strength that will allow us to get through another season. Since this is what it is, a season. One truth I know, God is the strength of my heart and portion forever.

Application:

1. Write down a list of the people you are thankful to have in your life.

2. Call, text, or write a letter of encouragement to these people.

3. Mend a broken relationship. Ask yourself, if the Lord took them home tomorrow, would you have wished you would have reached out?

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