Oct 18, 2011 by


This Thanksgiving, people all around the world will sit down to dinner with their families and raise their glasses to toast Thanksgiving. Many families go around the table and share all of the good things that have happened in their lives that they are thankful for. Folks will share about their great marriages, the healthy delivery of a baby or grandbaby and the joy of new relationships with significant others.

As for me, as I prepare our Thanksgiving dinner, I will raise my glass and quietly toast those things for which I’m truly grateful – the hard things in my life. The things no one wants to talk about or acknowledge. Those things we try to forget or sweep under the carpet. Why will I toast these things in my life? Because they have helped to make me who I am and they make me grateful everyday for the good things in my life.

Among the things I toast will be the bankruptcy we went through over 20 years ago. We chose to pay back our creditors instead of having our debts written off, which led to three years of little to live on and ruined credit for many years because we didn’t know how to rebuild our credit. Because of this experience, I try to be more careful of our money.

I toast the years of my infertility and the miscarriage I suffered shortly after giving birth to twins (thanks to the help of fertility drugs). These things make me appreciate the fact that I do have children and that they bring so much to my life.

I raise my glass and celebrate the situation that almost drove our family apart four years ago as our children made some unwise choices. In working through them, I’ve learned to show love and grace instead of judgment and harsh words.

I celebrate the fact that we’re “upside down” in the value of our house and our van and owe more than they’re worth – for that encourages us to work on paying them off even faster.

This year, I will even celebrate the last 32 years of our marriage when our sex life was often famine instead of feast. I would not appreciate the feast of our current sex life (thanks to the Eden community who helped me learn and grow) if we hadn’t gone through those years of famine. Our marriage is now so much richer and our sex life has improved our communication skills and so much more.

I will think of the verses in Romans 8:28 & 29 which talk about how all things “work together for good” for those who love God and how that working together for good is to mold me closer to the image of Christ. I will also remember the words of Friedrich Nietzsche who stated, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

I have so much to be grateful for – not just on Thanksgiving but every day of the year. This year, I will start my thanksgiving by celebrating the bad and ugly things in my life, because they help me recognize the good and beautiful things.

I pray you too have much to be grateful for this holiday season.

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