We are on the road to South Carolina to spend Thanksgiving with Chris’ family. Our mini van is packed to the brim. This is our first road trip as a family of six, since we welcomed our two year old foster son, B, into our home two weeks ago.
As he was having his fourth meltdown in only the first hour of our trip, I found myself looking out the window trying to tune out his piercing screams.
I don’t feel very thankful.
I feel tired and drained. And frustrated and like I’m not doing a very good job.
Learning to love a little child who comes with all kinds of hurt and trauma was something I thought would come much more naturally to me. I absolutely love children and I’m extremely empathetic.
But these two short weeks into foster care have opened up the abyss of my selfish heart. In moments where I should be kind and understanding, I find myself clenching my teeth and sighing heavily. In moments where I should be patient, I am not.
I find myself becoming protective of my biological children when I see them struggling with their new brother and not understanding why this complicated little person is acting the way he is.
When your four year old wakes up from his nap, and then after 5 minutes around his foster brother asks to go back into his room, your heart begins to hurt. It’s been hard not to have an “Us vs him” attitude when stuff like that happens.
So in all honesty, I don’t feel thankful. And I don’t really want to try to be thankful.
Now I know that isn’t right. And I need an attitude adjustment. ha So naturally with it being Thanksgiving tomorrow, I decided to search the word “Thanksgiving” on my Bible app and let the Holy Spirit do His thing on my heart. ha
And no surprise, I found some verses that brought on the encouragement AND conviction.
“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving And pay your vows to the Most High; Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me."”Psalms 50:14-15
I’ve read this verse a million times, but the word that stuck out to me tonight was sacrifice. A sacrifice of thanksgiving. Okay Lord I see You. Sometimes it’s painful to be thankful. Sometimes it takes work and toil to be thankful.
“But I am afflicted and in pain; May Your salvation, O God, set me securely on high. I will praise the name of God with song And magnify Him with thanksgiving. And it will please the LORD better than an ox Or a young bull with horns and hoofs.” Psalms 69:29-31
When life just flat out sucks and praising and being thankful is the last thing on our minds, when we do it out of a sincere heart...it’s worth more than any other sacrifice. God sees me when it’s painful to praise Him, when its excruciating to be thankful. And when I walk in obedience and do it any way, He sees that too. And it is a pleasing sacrifice to Him.
So as we gather and celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow, if you’re afflicted, if you’re weary, if life is downright hard and you would rather just cry, I encourage you. He sees you. You are not alone and I promise you, you will not regret crying out to Him with a heart of thankfulness.
And just remember, I’m right there with you.
PS. Also please know that I realize my “affliction” pales in comparison to the suffering many are going through right now. I just wanted to share where I am at in this moment and hope these verses could encourage those going through the real fire. Always feel free to shoot me a message and I will pray for you.