Sharing: Seek to Cultivate a Joyous Sense of Thankfulness

As I looked longingly at the “all the things,” I realized that my sense of being in the doldrums and missing out was in danger of becoming chronic grumpiness. Couldn’t I find joy in any of the places where I was currently dwelling? I lifted my prayers to the Lord and cried out for Him to bring a change somehow.  And in that shifting, there became a sense of something true that I WAS missing:  thanksgiving.  Could I seek to cultivate a joyous sense of thankfulness in my prayers?

And then a memory came to me. Into the middle of another dreary day, my adult son had texted me a cute “Grand-boy” story. I was all ears, eager to hear something cheerful for that day. He and his toddler son were looking at a Star Wars coloring book together when suddenly, little Grand-boy saw Luke Skywalker wearing his long billowing cloak, and he pointed proudly and said “Look, It’s Grandma!”

Oh, I laughed and laughed, and suddenly the sadness I had felt only moments before about this very thing–my need to wear baggy and loose-fitting clothes because of my sensitive fibro-skin—had now become a source of laughter. My Grandson’s memory of his skirted-Grandma had filled my heart with joy. What had made the difference? Could it be that a childlike memory had shifted my heart to a place of joyous thanksgiving?

In pondering this story again, my thoughts were reminded of the words from a devotional gathered many years ago:

“One thing is indisputable: the chronic mood of looking longingly at what we have not, or thankfully at what we have, realizes two very different types of character. And we certainly can encourage the one or the other.” –Lucy C. Smith

We in this community have chosen to identify ourselves with the name “Chronic Joy.” And yet, we can still choose to take on a different “chronic mood” and stay fixed on those things that we have lost in this chronic illness pathway. And we have lost so much.

But what if, instead, we could ask the Lord to reveal what he has given to us?  Is this precisely the place that Jesus wants us to seek (to pray) to cultivate a joyous sense of thankfulness in our moments and in our days?

We might find laughter bubbling up from a long-forgotten childlike heart, a thankful gift of chronic joy.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” 

Psalm 100:4 NIV

I would love to invite you to join me at the Chronic Joy website, where we have gathered four Scriptures and four prayers, one for each week of the month, to give us a beautiful opportunity. Will you join me in seeking to cultivate that joyous sense of thanksgiving?

Click here to read along, and to hear the audio blogs for this post and these prayers.

Thank you so much for all of your beautiful prayers for me this last month also. God has given me strength to be able to share these precious Prayer Prompts. But at the same time, He is continuing to call me to a slower pace here. I am hoping to be back the first week in December to share another Prayer Prompt and an update about His guidance with my words here at my blogging home.

29 thoughts on “Sharing: Seek to Cultivate a Joyous Sense of Thankfulness

    1. Yes, that gift of laughter can bring such thankfulness to us! I am so grateful for your encouragement as well, dear Regina. May God bring you His blessing this month!

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  1. I always love reading your posts Bettie…………you always have a way of turning suffering into salvation, sadness into savoring of the little moments………sending up prayers for you this morning………….May God hear our prayers, Amen!

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    1. Oh Dear Wendi, I am so encouraged by all of your sweet support as well. May the Lord join our prayers together, and stir up such thankfulness in our moments. Blessings and love to you!

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  2. Sometimes we need a little bit of laughter to break us out of our duldroms, don’t we? Glad to see you blogging a little bit. I was about to send a message to check on you! It can be so hard to see thanksgiving when we are down in the dumps for medical or mental reasons, but God has patience with us and knows we are thankful, even on the days we don’t feel it. God bless.

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    1. Amen, that laughter is such a gift! Thank you for your caring for me! That means so much. I appreciate the gift of Your stories too–they also have a way of lifting my eyes away from the heaviness and up to the goodness of God. He truly does have so much grace and patience towards us! Blessings to you also, dear friend!

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  3. I am thankful for you Bettie. I understand about missing being able to do certain things. I can’t run fast anymore, even when grandson Rowan says, “Let’s run, Mimi.” That makes me sad. He understands and walks back to me and takes my hand. “It’s okay, Mimi. Let’s walk.” What a compassionate 3 year old! I am thankful for all the ways God gives me to share His love.

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    1. Dear Melissa,
      Oh, those little hearts have such a way of breaking through the rough places, don’t they? Rowan sounds like such a sweet and compassionate boy. I loved your story that you shared on your own site as well. Our Lord has blessed us with so many ways to join in with His loving! Blessings and prayers for you today.

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  4. Oh, dear friend! That is such a precious story about your little grandson! I know it made you chuckle and brought such joy to your day. God is so good to provide moments of cheer in the darkest of times. May He richly bless you and continually send reminders of His love for you.

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    1. Dear Cheryl,
      Yes, our Lord is so powerful and so intimate at the same time! He knows exactly how to lift our eyes to Himself, to be so encouraged with His grace in our moments.Thank you so much for all of your dear prayers and love. May you be so blessed with His grace and favor today too.

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  5. Oh what a gift to have your despondency turned into gladness, and your inner lethargy into laughter by the sweet, innocent response from your grandson! Such things make us smile and lift our spirits. I’m also grateful for the way God equips you to sense the sacred in the everyday, and the beautiful prayers He has given you to write. God has also graced you with a wonderful ability to seek his face in your pain, and to write so movingly about the helpful lessons He gives to you. Yes, thankfulness is so important but often so hard to summon when we feel weary and unwell. Yet if we can, it actually brings a rush of holy hope and joy back into our jaded souls. Much love, hugs and ongoing prayers for rest, peace, and healing. xoxo PS: I’ve commented over at Chronic Joy as well. xoxo ❤️

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    1. Dear Joy,
      Yes, our Lord is so kind towards us, isn’t He? Even on these dreary days, He finds ways to bring memories to us, to send us simple notes, or to show us something so small that might open our eyes “to sense the sacred in the everyday.” You are so right that it is often so hard to summon that thankfulness when we feel so weary. I am so very grateful that He understands even that. What a dear Shepherd we have who breaks through into our moments and lifts our eyes to Him. Thank you for so often bringing those bright moments for me, dear sister. I pray for that same rest, peace, and healing for you in this place of pausing too. Hugs and love across the pond! xoxo

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    1. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement so much, dear Lynn. Yes, our Lord gives us precious gifts to to lift our eyes toward Him. I pray for a precious Thanksgiving holiday for you too!

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  6. Oh so timely sister. Your words help me understand my Jackson a bit better. As you know we have been on an emotional roller coaster lately. I love your story about your grandson looking at the Star Wars character and making an association with you. How innocently full of love and joy. I pray today this moment for all who suffer with chronic illness, that He lift all eyes off of nots up to He who is all things. Love Julie

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    1. Amen, I join you in that precious prayer today, too, Julie. May He especially touch your Jackson with such peace in the midst of the roller coaster times. I am so grateful that nothing is hidden or kept away from Him. Sending so much love and hugs and prayers across the miles today. xoxo

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  7. Bettie, thank you for this post! While I do not have chronic pain, I have been struggling with despondency and finding joy and thankfulness in my life. Life is heavy right now. I am blessed by your post and your transparency in sharing your own struggles, thank you for your wonderful example!

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    1. Dear Donna, Oh I am so blessed that our Lord knows just how to lift our hearts up to Him. He is reminding me of my own words again, as fresh trials hit my family members. HE is so present with us, through every hard moment, showing us the beauty of HIMSELF right here. Blessings and prayers for you today, dear friend!

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  8. Gratitude is a supremely powerful strategy against a number of “ills” like discontentment, worry, and pride–to name a few. No wonder Paul told us to give thanks in all circumstances. And praise God for the uplift of grandchildren! That Rowan is a little treasure! The grands are right up there at the top of the Gratitude List–along with their precious moms and dads. I am SO thankful for the love we share as a family, for grown children that we now count among our friends!

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    1. Dear Nancy,
      Oh, yes, what a joy we have been given that we can count our adult children as friends, and grandchildren as such sweet gifts! I am amazed at the way that He lifts our hearts from gloom to joy when He shows us the many gifts to be thankful for! Blessings and grace to you and your family this season!

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