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Digging Deep for Gratitude

Digging deep for gratitude. That sounds like a daunting task, especially if you’re in the midst of a dark time in your life. A loved one has just died. You’ve lost your job. Your spouse has been unfaithful. You’ve received a cancer diagnosis. A son or daughter is in the throes of addiction and you helplessly can do nothing but stand by and watch. Everything spins out of control and you ask yourself, where is God?

I have faced these obstacles many times since fainting in my kitchen in 2013 and waking up paralyzed from the shoulders down. Although I glowed with confidence the first few weeks in the hospital claiming I would do great things, like write a book about my life, by the time I was settled into a long-term care facility, completely dependent on others to function, my mood took a dramatic fall into the depths of despair and I felt like I didn’t want to live.

How do we find gratitude when everything feels so hopeless? Would you be put off if I said it takes work? It requires making a commitment to feel your pain and then allowing God to sooth your heartache with prayer, his word, and the support of others.

Psalm 62: Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

Unfortunately, I do not always seek rest and hope in God, and being grateful can seem unattainable. I often wake up feeling down and unmotivated and the past few days were no exception. I am taking a class called Spiritual Transformations and I have been excited about learning how to rein in my emotions so that I can live a fuller, freer life. Yet it’s been a struggle to even want to read the material because it requires me to address my feelings. Instead of praying over this and then digging in, I’ve spent time binge-watching shows about maladjusted people and their dysfunctional lives. Very uplifting!

Romans 8: Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

Saying no to my flesh can be a challenge when I feel as if I don’t have the energy or enthusiasm to read the Scriptures, pray, or seek guidance from a trusted friend. My flesh wants to tune out and be entertained. It seems so much easier to scroll through social media than to pick up the phone and call someone. And prayer? Sometimes the adversary convinces me that my prayers don’t make a difference so why even try? I find that my avoidance behaviors are similar to why I drank in active alcoholism. I never wanted to feel anything challenging and thought I had nothing to be grateful for, so I stayed drunk.

Romans 12: 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.

This scripture teaches me that we are going to have affliction in our lives, it’s unavoidable. But we must continue to be joyful in hope and faithful in prayer. This morning I did not feel like rejoicing but I still found reasons to be grateful. I thanked God for allowing me to live in a place where I’m safe and am treated with respect. I thanked him for his mercies that are new every morning, and really, every minute of every day. Even when I start the day doing what I think is easy (tuning out), I can change my mind at any time and do what will give me life to the full. Most importantly, I thanked God for whatever he is teaching me at this time. Even in our deepest darkness, there is some reason to say, thank you, God. My heart and my mind felt so relieved and at peace after my prayer. God will bless our efforts to be grateful and to stay close to him!

Habakkuk 3: 17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Amen.

About Terri Nida

In August 2013, I fainted in my kitchen and woke up paralyzed from the shoulders down. I am still trying to make sense of all this, but one thing I know is that God is with me and he loves me.

25 responses »

  1. Love your article Terri. Please keep writing more.Sent from my Galaxy

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. A touching post on gratitude, something we all tend to forget.
    May God’s love and promises encourage you and give you peace. Blessings!🌺

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Thank you, Terri, I praise the Lord for you and how He has ministered to me and others through you. I needed this today. Love and blessings as you remember who you are as a precious child of the Father. Keep reminding us.

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  4. Digging deep is a good way to put it Terri. Sometimes we have buried or covered our thankfulness with a lot of frivolous stuff.

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  5. Terri Thank you so very much for taking the time to put into words your life, your faith, and your heart. You have such a way with words. Just reading your post encourages me: thank you!

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  6. Melissa Rudnicki

    Terri,
    You are an uplifting light and one of the strongest women I have had the honor of meeting. God is helping others through you and your amazing insights into his leadership.

    Liked by 3 people

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  7. Love you Terri! Looking forward to knowing you better.I love your personal adventure with getting your Masters, your personal dreams,and your patience with your everyday urgent needs. You have come a long ways and you will continue to soar like an eagle! Thank you for expressing your heart with us.

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    • Thank you once again for another great lesson. I really appreciate your stories – they are very real and I know you put the Bible into practice every day.!

      Thanks once again
      Anne from Brisbane , Australia!

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  8. priscilla baxter

    Thanks so much for sharing your heart and love for others

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  9. Terri, you chose great scriptures. I’ve not heard of “avoidance” behaviors but I can identify some in my life. Your post just shined the light of Christ in an area I need to let Him do some clean-up. Thanks for sharing even in the hard stuff. May the peace of God rest upon you in a mighty way.

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  10. Silvia Lia Leigh, MD

    Dear sister in Christ, I may not completely understand your pain, but I know the road. My husband and I started a church in Africa. After 47 years of wonderful marriage, Richmond suddenly went to heaven (July 2020). I am now left ‘alone’ to continue the ministry. I know that I am not alone for Jesus is with me. But sometimes ‘I feel’ alone. My pain is not in vain. I gave the Holy Spirit total control over my body, soul and spirit. The Holy Spirit surprises me with gifts of Grace when I am weak. Out of my weakness, His strength ‘blooms’ and is made perfect. Once I receive His strength, I do not store it for another day. As fast as I can, I ‘invest’ forward, into the lives of other people. That is why I am always needy for more of His Grace. This ‘investment’ makes the congregation spiritually stronger. They now love the Word of God like never before. Their strength comes back to me like a harvest of joy and an overflow or power. Our natural children are adults and live in the US. But God blessed me with spiritual children here in Africa. They saw me as I died and rose again. Christ is me, the Hope of Glory is their portion too. They encourage me to stand and persevere! This ‘feed back’ of resurrection power from my flock is a miracle to me. I pray that you understand what I am saying… May God enlarge your vision to receive Grace upon Grace, from the most unexpected places! He who promised to make Rivers flow in the wilderness is still God! In Jesus’ name! Amen!

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  11. Thanks for the reminder it is very encouraging!! Miss you!

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  12. Terri, it’s so good to hear from you! ❤The Lord has given you a ministry of encouragement. This gives vital life to the Body of Christ. As you uplift others, the Holy Spirit flows through you and you yourself will be refreshed.
    God kept you among us with purpose. Press on sister, “…because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

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  13. Thank you Terri. You are a blessing, as are all your writings. You are an inspiration, and always help me get picked up again at just the right times

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  14. I really needed this Word of encouragement especially today Terri. Thank you. So many of us are going through tremendously trying times and need to be reminded of how to have God help us process our most painful feelings and depression. I too actively try to avoid mine which is unhealthy. Thank you for reminding us that with God we know there are brighter days ahead even if it looks really dim at present. I pray God contines to open our spiritual eyes so we can continue focusing on Him and hoping in Him even in our darkest days.

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  15. Mary Sweeney

    Hi Terri! I saved this in my inbox to read later and reply but am just now getting down to my emails from February! This was so encouraging to read again today. I love your honesty. When we are all in heaven together, I’ll recognize you and Bill because your crown will have so many jewels in it that you can barley hold it on your head! LOL! How I long for that day. Hugs & prayers…

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