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Thankful for Hardships

on November 24, 2014

Pumpkin, Orange, Grass, Autumn, Halloween, Harvest

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In case you didn’t know, I’m doing several posts this month about being grateful or thankful or whatever you want to call it, in honor of Thanksgiving. I’ve already talked about family and friends, and I think that’s the sort of thing that comes to most people’s minds when they are trying to be thankful. But I’ve also been relearning recently that as a Christian I should be thankful for the hard things too.

I started reading in James this morning and he starts off his letter telling Christians to be joyful in hardships because it produces perseverance. And yesterday my Mom got up in front of my church, along with several other members, and thanked God for the difficulties our family has faced and how it’s grown her spiritually. Even my Dad thanked God for problems and how they force us to rely on Him. I also just finished reading Christy, a wonderful book by Catherine Marshall. I really loved one of the characters, Ms. Alice, and how she lived out her faith. Even with all of the baggage in her life, she was able to use it to become more able to help those around her. Reading about her made me desire to mature in Christ and be able to do the same kind of things.

But unfortunately, recently I’ve found myself complaining about the busyness and craziness of my life. I don’t want to do that, so this is one way I’m trying to live out being thankful, even for the hard stuff.

So here are a few hard things, that I’m thankful for:

1. I’m thankful that when I was a kid, I was left out, excluded, and didn’t have many friends.

That experience affected me, and it’s helped me love others, especially the people around me who are excluded now. If I had never experienced that hurt, I wouldn’t care for others that feel it too. It also helps me to appreciate all of the friends I have now.

2. I’m thankful that my sister has gone through and still deals with anxiety and panic attacks.

I’ll be honest, I prayed for it to go away, for my sister to be healed, for my family to not have to deal with it anymore. And I still hope for the day that it will all be gone. But I’ve gotten to see over the years how this difficulty has shaped me, my sister, and my family. We’ve had to grow in forgiveness and understanding. I’ve had to grow in patience, sympathy, and giving up what I want. It hasn’t been an easy road, but it’s the one God gave my family, and He has brought good out of it.

3. I’m thankful that I’ve never had a serious romantic relationship.

This is a struggle I’ve had off and on for a long time, most girls do. I have wanted to find a guy, get married, and start a family. And I’ve waited, and waited. I never thought I’d be in my mid-twenties and still not be married. But it has allowed me to have time for other things that I love. A lot of the couples I see around me spend so much time on that one relationship, and they need to, but it means they can’t spend as much time with other people. I’ve seen God use this extra time in my life to give me the freedom to go on mission trips, serve in ministry, and disciple other ladies in the faith. And throughout this time of waiting, God has shown me that what brings true joy is Himself, and not the fulfillment of my desires.

4. I’m thankful for my fear of public speaking.

I’ve never liked talking to groups of people, and for a long time I’ve been the shy girl in the corner that doesn’t talk. So public speaking has always been difficult for me. And it still is, I don’t like the spotlight on me. But through this weakness, I’ve seen God’s strength. He has put me in situation after situation where I need to speak in front of groups, give presentations, teach lessons, and… well speak publicly. It’s uncomfortable, it’s scary, and I still struggle with what to say. But this has forced me to rely on God each time. I learned early on that when I trusted God with my fear and asked for His help, He provided. And so I still go to Him. Each time speaking publicly arises, I have to trust Him all over again. And this learning to place trust in God, instead of my own talents, is a special gift I wouldn’t trade.

So, what are a few things you are thankful for?


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