Giving Thanks this Thanksgiving

This time of year, we always hear people talking about what they’re thankful for. There’s always the obvious things…. health, family, financial security, love, friendship, etc. Today, I’d like to take a moment to address some of the less obvious things. As this blog is about my role as a parent struggling to raise kids in a dysfunctional world and, specifically, dealing with an epidemic of drug use among our young people, I’d like to take a moment to talk about the blessings that I’ve seen associated with that.

One of my favorite scriptures is Romans 5:3-5 which says “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

So today I’m thankful for my own sufferings. I’m thankful for the role life’s hurdles have played in developing my own character.

I’m thankful for rock bottom, for the power it has to teach humility.

I’m thankful for the sufferings of others before me, as they have been able to use their own experiences for my betterment. I’m thankful that I may continue the cycle and be there for those behind me.

I’m thankful for the feelings of helplessness that have forced me to turn to God when I would not have otherwise done so.

I’m thankful that Laura was caught stealing. Bringing her theft out into the open is what pushed her into recovery.

I’m thankful that Matt is in jail where I know he has less access to drugs and is forced to detox. In jail I know that he will not overdose and die. In jail he might find rock bottom.

I’m thankful that Sarah has seen the pain that addiction causes others. She is able to use that knowledge to become a better person.

I’m thankful for financial burdens. Times that I’ve gone without have taught me to appreciate all that I have. Also, in times of financial need God has revealed himself to me and shown me that my basic needs will always be met.

I’m thankful for the financial restrictions my children have had also. I’m certain that, if the funds were available when they wanted them, at least one of my two addicts would have overdosed and would no longer be here.

I am thankful for the embarrassment and shame that I have felt at times. It serves to remind me not to be judgemental of others.

I’m thankful for the times I’ve been shunned as those moments are reminders of the value of true friendship.

I’m thankful for the times my heart has been broken by my children. That broken heart reminds me that I am capable of unconditional love. It also reminds me that I am able to be loved unconditionally by others.

I’m thankful for vulnerability that shows me that my heart has not been hardened.

I’m thankful for all those things that serve to remind me of God’s blessings. Without dark, we could not fully appreciate light; without hunger, being fed; without hate, love; without sufferings, blessings.

This Thanksgiving I choose to be thankful for sufferings.

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