Happy Thanksgiving! Yes, I know we’re technically “past” Thanksgiving Day by now, but I pray your Thanksgiving was great. In my family, we have a Thanksgiving tradition of food (lots of it) and then a member of the family will lead worship and a devotional along with everyone would go around and share their highs and lows for the year. Then we will close out the day with a prayer for everyone or any prayer request made. It’s one of my favorite things about thanksgiving. Besides the food of course. The past couple of years, my oldest brother has been leading these devotionals consecutively. Each year he’s shared what God placed on his heart, and if I am being honest, it’s pretty spot on what each of us needed to hear. I’d vote he keeps leading these devotionals every year. So, Zebedee, if you’re reading this, you’re leading these devotionals every year okay? It’s a part of your birthright.
With his permission, I wanted to share with you this year’s devotional. Unlike other years, this year Zebedee shared on the topic of Thanksgiving. If I am honest I thought it would be generic because that’s what everyone else tends to do. He was on a pretty good trend of awesome devotionals that I thought, “man is he going to mess it up now!” But seriously, the topic was quite fitting. In my family alone, many of us are going through seasons of transition. I am newly married, my little brother recently engaged, my eldest brother and wife just had their second child together, and my second oldest brother is launching his business while being a dad and husband. My parents too are in a season of transition with caring for my grandmother. That’s just the highlights of transitions we’ve each been going through. There’s way more that would pretty much fill an entire book. I am sure for you too who’s reading this, you’re going through transitions (good and bad) of your own. In transitional periods, however, especially the bad ones, it’s easy to forget to remain thankful. I fall short of this all too often.
One of my brothers points in his devotional was,
Gratitude changes the lens through which we see the circumstances in our little slice of time.Zebedee Pitterson, Jr.
The idea here is that when we learn to be thankful for the little things and the big things hit us pretty good or especially bad, we will see that even in the midst of our circumstances, there’s still something to be grateful for. Gratitude changes our posture and it changes how we see God. Rather than only seeing God in the good, we can find God even in the not-so-good.
It’s funny how life can be. When Jarrod and I left our family thanksgiving, we didn’t know we would need to apply Zebedee’s devotional pretty immediately. As life would have it, we got home to a messed-up septic and sewer system. It was honestly pretty crappy (pun intended). So as we speak, we cannot shower or use or toilets until a plumber comes out to fix things. We did our best along with my in-laws to see if it’s something we could fix ourselves but unfortunately, we ended the day defeated by our septic and sewer system. One point for the septic and sewer system; zero for the Pisors. But you know what, after my little meltdown I was reminded of Zebedee’s message. I reflected on all the good God has done for us. We had lots to be thankful for. Aside from provision, health and strength, Jarrod’s parents lives two doors down from us which they gladly opened their doors for us to take warm showers and relax after a crappy (pun intended) day. We’re grateful for the little things and even the chaos.
Being thankful changes our perspective despite broken dreams, broken relationships, chaotic circumstances, and unfulfilled longings.Zebedee Pitterson
As chaotic as today was for us dealing with a messed up septic system, we learned to be thankful. We saw God’s hands even in the chaos. Thankfulness doesn’t remove the existence of brokenness, chaos, hurt and pain. Rather, thankfulness sees hope and God despite the existence of brokenness, chaos, hurt and pain.
So my challenge to you is simple and rather challenging…what can you be thankful for? Are you going through brokenness, chaos, hurt and pain? How has God showed up for you despite what you’re going through?
If you learn to be thankful in the little, when the big things come their way, both good and bad, it will be a lot easier to have an attitude of gratitude. BE thankful.