Be Thankful in All Things

Thanksgiving will once again be celebrated this coming Thursday. It is certainly a holiday we look forward to every year. Yet, there are so many who take this word, Thanksgiving, for granted. Just what does it really mean to you? In contemplating this question I began by thinking of  the abundance of good things that have happened in my life. Now, that is something to really be thankful for.

But wait, the scripture says to be thankful in ALL things. Okay, let me think a minute. How in the world can I be thankful for things that are anything but good; the things that bless me? How can I be expected to be thankful for the things that hurt me? Do I just stop in my tracks and say, “WoW! Thank you God for this event in my life and all the misery and discomfort it has caused?” I don’t want to have a theological dissertation about this question. I will simply say that because we all experience bad stuff in our lives it makes us even more thankful when we have the good things happen to us. Those things are what we bring to the forefront of Thanksgiving.

However, today I want to share one of the negative things I am thankful for in my life. In 1988 my fifteen year son was chased by a gang, beaten, cut up and drowned in a nasty canal. I can hear you asking, “How can you EVER be thankful for that?” I wasn’t for a very long time. I carried a lot bitterness and hatred toward another race for what they did to my son. I envisioned them having a great time cutting and laughing at him while his screams exploded in a terrifying fear and tears ruptured forth in convulsive anguish down his face. Oh my God, my God, where are you? And then, they left him to float in that putrid, stinking canal until someone found his body. I hated God, I hated that race! I hated everything and everyone around me, including myself for letting this happen. I was supposed to protect him; I was his Dad and I let him down! I did not do my job! WHY GOD, WHY? For so long I was on this campaign of self-destruction. It affected my life, and my family.

“Thank [God] in everything

[no matter what the circumstances may be,

 be thankful and give thanks],

for this is the will of God for you [who are]

 in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].”

I Thessalonians 5:18 – (Amplified Bible)

 Today, I am thankful for the tremendous pain I experienced. I can hear your mind spinning and asking, how you can be grateful for this heart shattering torment? Let me explain it like this. I gave my heart to God many long years before this event. I also took what God provided me for granted. When Thanksgiving came around each year I always gave Him a great big Thank You! Not until “I fell on my knees and cried holy,” asking God to forgive me for my failure that I began to heal. I had to accept that it was my failure. Not that I couldn’t protect him but that I did not place my sorrow, grief, and anger in the only One who could calm my spirit.  I couldn’t heal on my own. It took my Father and his arms around me, lifting me from my sorrow to begin the healing. The sorrow and pain of John’s loss is not gone, but that through the blood of Christ on the cross I am able to move forward with Him.

“Surely he hath borne our grief’s, and carried our sorrows:

 yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:

 the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

Isaiah 53:4-5 (KJV)

I couldn’t do it on my own. All God could do is step back in the field of my despair and watch me fail. He had to wait on me. For years He waited; for years I was alone.

Photo Credit to  josephjpote.com

Photo Credit to
josephjpote.com

I hope you do not mind that I decided to share this story at such a happy time of year. You see, those who have lost loved ones are reminded of them when this season comes around. Though so many years ago this happened, I still love him and miss him. That never goes away. But with the grace of God I have a promise. Because John was a Christian, I will be with him again in heaven. I smile when I think of my arm around his shoulder singing praises to our Father, forever.

     Photo Credit by: Maranatha Devotionals

Photo Credit by: Maranatha Devotionals

Wait upon the Lord. He wants us to use our energy to praise Him and give thanks for the blessings we have and realize that like Job, we can lose them at any moment. My prayer for you is that if you are alone this season, or hurting, that you come to realize you cannot change what has happened. It may take a knee scrapping encounter of forgiveness but I assure you it is well worth it. Release of hatred and anger, through forgiveness, will bring forth peace. I promise.

That my friend is why I give thanks

to our Father!

Have a great Thanksgiving with your families this year. I will be on the road from Mississippi to Washington D.C. Know that I am so thankful for all of you who have not only liked my by blog but are also following it. God Bless!

Andy

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50 thoughts on “Be Thankful in All Things

  1. That was beautifully written. I am thankful that God helped you through that, and I can’t even begin to imagine your pain. Thank you for sharing this. There will be a wonderful reunion in Heaven on that day!

  2. Andy, You are a beautiful soul, and I am honored to call you my brother in Christ and friend. What an amazing testimony you shared with us. I am so very sorry for your loss, but I am praising God that He truly does work all things together for good.

    Dearest Friend, I wish you much joy this Thanksgiving and always! I will be praying for your travels. Much love and thanks sent your way…..Skye

    • Thanks Skye! I appreciate you so much! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and thank you for your prayers while I am traveling! Love in Christ, your brother Andy.

  3. Thank you for sharing! What a deeply touching story! God bless you and give you peace until one day who are united with your son again. Have a great thanksgiving yourself :-)

  4. Oh Andy, what a brave, beautiful, and powerful post, I have tears as I read this. I am so, so sorry for the loss of your beloved son and just can’t get over what happened to him. Yet, your testimony to the saving power of Jesus and how He brought you through this, as only He can, is utterly incredible.

    You are such a very great blessing to us all here who follow your wonderful, truthful and inspiring blog. I am blessed to have met you and to call you dear brother and friend. Thank you for trusting us enough to share this very personal story at this time.

    My prayers and love are with you and your family as you travel and I wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving. x

    • Thank you dear Sherri! Sharing my story with those who are my brothers and sisters encourages me and strengthens me. Thank you for your prayers and support. I pray that this post will encourages others as well. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    • Hey Sherri! Sorry I haven’t been in contact recently. I noticed on your blog a poem form Glenna Oldham. Do you know Glenna? I have a cousin by the same name who is much older than me and I am trying to find her but can’t. I know the town but can’t find her past that. Also, I want to express my gratitude for the award you gave me, It is very special. I am not one who is used to receiving such honors. However, I started this blog to share and have others share with me about their Christian walk. I am sorry but at this point I cannot accept your generosity. Know and understand I have prayed over it and you will never know how much it meant to me to receive it. For now I will remain an award free blog. God Bless you my sweet friend!
      Andy

      • Oh Andy, I’m so sorry that I’ve taken so long to reply to this message, I haven’t been on my blog for several days and am only just now catching up. I was worried when you said you thought I might be upset with you in your other comment to which I’ve just replied and couldn’t think why!!! I’ve only just read this now!!

        I absolutely understand about the award, it’s no problem honestly. I know that not everyone accepts them and I only wanted to let you know that I was thinking of you, so don’t worry about anything dear friend!!

        I am thinking that I might go award free soon. I’m going to be putting up two more posts shortly about awards as I’ve received many recently and I am so very grateful to everyone who shares them, also its been great meeting so many new bloggers but I just can’t keep up with the time that they take to do so I might have to reconsider in the new year. Of course, I might not get anymore so I don’t want to sound presumptious!!

        I found it hard to accept awards at first, like you, not being used to any awards for anything, and I came to learn that they are more for fun and a way of finding new blogs and networking and I have found some really lovely people as a result. So in that way they are great!

        I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving, now onto Christmas! I haven’t forgotten about writing about my Granddad and hope to have that with you soon, sorry it’s taken me so long to get to it. Things have been a bit crazy with one thing after another, but that’s life, right?

        Have a lovely evening, and God bless you Andy :-)

      • Ps Sorry Andy, I meant to say, no I don’t know Glenna Oldham, sorry I can’t help you there. I hope and pray that you find her oneday…

  5. Andy, what joy the Lord brings us through our mourning and what a great testimony of the grace and mercy of our Lord and Savior you have shared with us. ~ Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving ~

  6. Oh, Andy, I cried all the way through this. I’m so sorry for your loss. There is no excusing it, but I am so glad you didn’t let the tragedy defeat you. God promises to bring good out of all things, and what great goodness may come of this story you have shared. Bless you for being so brave! I pray for a most blessed Thanksgiving for you and yours. Natalie

  7. Andy, thank you for sharing such a deeply personal story. I think your timing is perfect. The holidays are often the most difficult and sharing such a real and painful story now validates those still in pain. It is helpful you acknowledged your pain is not gone, but you were able to begin living again despite it. I’m glad John was a Christian and you will be reunited one day in Heaven.

    • Hey Denise! I’ve been out of state for the last week. I’m not sure if I answered this comment before or not. I appreciate you following my blog and the comment you made about this post. I pray this will indeed help others as much it did me to write it. Have a wonderful Christmas with your family. God Bless!

  8. God bless you Andy,
    So sorry for the deep pain and scar, but so thankful to hear of the healing and help the Lord has brought you.

    The Lord knows your pain; then and now; but it is so hard for us in our human and finite state to relate or understand it.
    Words are so inadequate…
    Your story has and will bring hope to others.

    Doug

    • Hey My Friend! You are so special and I thank God for you! I arrived home Tuesday night late! It was a long and tiring drive. I did spend the night Monday in Gatlinburg. I love the mountains! The closest thing to a mountain around here might be a bump in the road :-). It was nice of you to care, and to pray for my safety. And now to miss me! Thank you so much! Since I was on the road Monday I decided to skip last week. I hope to be back on line this next week. I have followed your post and as usual I am never disappointed. Thank you Skye for your friendship, you are truly a special lady!

      • Oh, it was awful. It poured. Our float never showed up so we had to walk the whole route. I lost my shoe mid way. It sort of disintegrated with all the rain. I had to park about a mile away or so…..and only a handful of people showed….BECAUSE IT WAS POURING!! lol The major would not call it off, though. So we went ahead, too. I am so tired. We came home and drank hot chocolate…..now a warm sleep. Brrrrrrr. Have a great weekend, Dear Friend!!! :)

      • You poor thing! I bet you and the kids were soaked and frozen! It will be a memory never forgotten though! I’d love to hear about your float and all the fun and frustration but it can wait for another time. I know you are cold and tired. Good night my friend, sweet dreams!

  9. First beautiful website, wonderful pictures. This blog apparantly has been in my mailbox awhile. I love how you are seeking god with all your heart. Thanksgiving is my favorite of all holidays. You express it so well (your thankfullness. I wrote about my brother dieing once, it’s called “The tragedy” It happens at the peak of my life, I was enjoying life to the fullest in ‘seattle when I was in my 20′s with few coping skills but God in his infinite wisdom, saw to have me teach on death and dying 2 weeks prior to when it happened. I could feel myself go in and out of the stages of grief and was able to be a rock for the rest of the family, but instead of pulling us together it ripped our family apart. You’d have to read it. It’s nestled in a group of blogs written in October under traveling through the pain to peace. I could write much more but have to start getting ready for church. I wrote one called “Choosing Peace and Encourage others” following the tragedy, you’d really like those I think so I am following you now. Where do you live? I live in Florida. Gotta go, stay in touch. I have my own website now @http:travelingthroughthepaintopeace.com and I write here under http://kristy4214blog.wordpress.com which is where those blogs are under. Peace to you my friend.

    • Thank you Kristy! Such a nice comment and compliment. I will go to your blog in a little while and find the post you wrote about your brother. I am so sorry for your loss. I know sometimes it is tough to remember him and then realize he is gone. There are a lot of us who deal with that, especially at CHRISTmas. Thank God for his Son and our salvation. He is our redeemer from the awful things that try to bring us down in this old life.

      I was born and spent my early years in Baton Rouge, LA. I live in Mississippi now. I’ve been here for about 32 years. I graduated from Anderson University in Indiana, before moving here. My parents were pastors and missionaries, so I moved several times in my lifetime. Sometimes I hate that I had to move so much. At other times I feel fortunate to have lived in so many places. But, here is where I have lived the longest and so I call it home :-)

      I will also visit your website. It sounds intriguing. Peace to you as well my friend.

      • Thank you so much for your nice reply and it makes me happy that you are going to try to read some of my posts. I’m not surprised your father was a pastor, you seem so grounded in the word, I wish I could be like that and I could if I put in the time with prayer but there’s always so much to do. I pray and talk to God in my mind and heart all day but I don’t get on my knee’s enough. Anyway I have 2 spiritual (new) now that I can go to when I need it right? Oh, I envy the moving to new places. I love Missisippi but never been there but have read all Grisham’s books and all are placed in Missisippi. I can imagine how it is? Do you have a front porch with rocking chairs or a swing for two? Lol

      • Always take time for prayer even if you have to get up early or stay up. RC Sproul hit upside the head with his quote when he said, “we don’t pray because we are lazy.” That sure woke me up. I realized that I really was lazy and it changed my prayer life. Please don’t take that personally,

        I live in and old farm house built in 1949. It had beautiful old rooms with crown molding all around the ceilings. I have no tickers on the front porch, only chairs. I’m planning to get a swing tho.

        Thanks for your comments! :-)

      • A couple of things Andy, you posted something like Merry Christmas and all but it’s all in code, that’s why your not getting comments on it. 2. I know why my prayer life is poor, because I’m lazy! I put it off and pray bits and pieces during the day when I know I could start out with 15 mins. in the morning so I’m not offended.

  10. I loved your story of victory over bitterness, while at the same time hating the tragedy in your life. I don’t know why God has prevented such terrible things in my own family, but I’m grateful for that. My tragedy was my first wife divorcing me after twenty years together. Though we are friends now, I fought my way through emotional pain and bitterness. In the process, I realized that NOTHING takes God by surprise, and that even though he doesn’t CAUSE evil, he lovingly uses such circumstances to grow us into greater Christ-likeness. Only with that conviction born within me was I able to praise and thank him for the loss of my second wife to diabetes and stroke. Now that I’m alone, I’m learning to rest in him emotionally and in every other way. Praise God for his lovingkindness!

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