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I met Andy Lee at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference the first year I went, in 2014. She may not even remember this encounter, as we meet many people at Blue Ridge, but we shared a breakfast table once or twice (with probably eight other people), and I was impressed even then by her humble, open, and upbeat personality. In 2016, at least three separate people told me I should meet up with her, so I made sure to track her down and ask her if she’d be willing to meet. She’s been so gracious to me ever since, giving me wisdom about my writing. I’m thankful for Bible study writers farther along in the journey willing to mentor me.
I’m glad she’s guest posting for me today. After you read her post here, I hope you’ll stop by her actual blog, called Daily Grace.
by Andy Lee
I’m thankful for a day set aside specifically for me to say “thanks”–to focus on what I have and not on what I don’t. Thanksgiving is a day of bounty, right? A day when we cook too much, eat too much, and hopefully are surrounded by more family and friends than usual.
It’s normally a great day. Even though I’m exhausted and ready for bed by 8:00 PM! It’s a day of tradition, both the ones I grew up with and the ones we’ve incorporated in our own little family. There have been years, however, when there has been a hole in my heart. Homesickness or an empty chair at the table due to kids growing up and moving away, or loved one passing to the other side of eternity caused the hole. Those days are hard. I’ve learned though, that thankfulness helps through those painful holidays.
But thanksgiving need not come once a year. I want my thankfulness to be a lifestyle rather than a one day event—the pumpkin pie and stuffing does not need to happen every day. My scale is thankful.
Sometimes I need assistance in the “Thank you, God” department. These scriptures help me in my prayers of thankfulness. They give me eternal words to pray and ponder that go beyond the quick to change or fade blessings. These scriptures help me live a lifestyle of thanksgiving.
Here they are: (NIV version)
• “For everything God created is good and to be received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” (1 Timothy 4:4)
• “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (1 Chron. 16:34)
• “…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18) [This one gets me every time.]
• “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song. (Psalm 28:7) [Love this.]
• “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Col. 3:17) [EVERYTHING we do.]
I find truth in these words from Jesus Calling: God says, “Thankfulness opens your heart to My Presence and your mind to My thoughts. You still may be in the same place with the same set of circumstances, but it is as if light has been switched on enabling you to see from My perspective. It is this Light of My Presence that takes away the sting of adversity”(November 24).
I’ve learned that thankfulness also helps take away the sting of loss. We are blessed, my friends. Enjoy the spirit of thankfulness. The more we practice it, the more it becomes who we are every day, not just on Turkey Day.
Which of these “thankfulness” scriptures is your favorite?
Jesus loves you,
Andy Lee is the author of two books, A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called (Leafwood 2016) and The Book of Ruth Key Word Bible Study: A 31-Day Journey to Hope and Promise (AMG 2015). Andy is an inspirational speaker, blogger, and mom of three grown kids and a kitty named Hank. She is a recovering people pleaser and Bible nerd who loves to teach people how to dig deep to live fully in their faith. Read more of Andy’s encouragement at www.wordsbyandylee.com on her blog, Daily Grace, and join her Monday-Friday at 8:20 ET on her Andy Lee Facebook timeline for her live teaching of the Bite of Bread.
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