The movie Pollyanna was one of my childhood favorites and one that all my daughters have enjoyed. If you are acquainted with the film, do you remember the game Pollyanna used to play? It was called, The Glad Game – a game designed by her missionary father when crutches came in the missionary barrel, instead of the doll she was hoping for. Pollyanna and her father chose to focus on the blessings of life, rather than the disappointments. Thinking of The Glad Game makes me smile and I often have to remind myself to ‘play it’ when disappointments come crashing in.
Last month, we remembered what would have been Bethany’s 18th birthday. We are grateful for the years we had with our girl but the fact is we have missed out on enjoying her as an adult woman. It is very easy to focus in on the ‘lost’ part of Beth’s life and if I linger there too long, I start falling into despair.
Friends, this week in Heartbreakingly Beautiful we have looked at the topic of being thankful. We see from the Bible that we are designed for gratitude and thanksgiving – in all circumstances. The command to BE thankful may seem hard, but is given to rightfully bless the Giver of all good things. It is also given for our blessing as the receivers of His gifts. The command to give thanks is for our good and brings with it the peace that comes from putting God in His rightful place
Ann Voskamp’ s wonderful book One Thousand Gifts is a highly recommended read. Ann believes that according to scripture, thanksgiving is inherent to a true salvation experience. “Thanksgiving is necessary to live the well, whole and fullest life.” (p. 39)
During some of our stormiest days, Beth and I made a list of all the things we were grateful for. Some people call this exercise counting your blessings (or if your name is Pollyanna, The Glad Game!) What we found was a surprising number of things we had to be grateful for – in spite of all the aching pain and suspense. To be sure, the blessings added up and kept coming as we were actively looking for them!
The most important blessing we discovered during this time was Jesus Himself. Bethany knew this truth. She was grateful for the gift of Jesus and she was grateful to Him as the Source of all her blessings. She had always been a girl who expressed her gratitude to the Lord – dubious illness and serious ailments did not change this integral part of her heart.
Offering God thanksgiving in our loss and pain can seem like an impossible sacrifice. Yet the ancient psalmist records God’s words in his song to encourage us today… “He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23)
Songs to encourage you:
Thank you by Jordan Worner
10,000 Reasons by Matt Redmond
Book to build you up:
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
‘A dare to live fully – right where you are!’