Thanking in the Hard


“We’re not telling our thankful thing for the day anymore,” Chase observed one evening.

We were seated around our kitchen table, probably eating tacos on a Tuesday. Maybe even grilled cheese and tomato soup on a Friday.

“Why aren’t we saying the thing we’re thankful for?”

I drew in a breath then thought back–a jagged breath, now–to the past three months. Truly, April was the first month in which the sun was literally and figuratively shining brighter.

“It’s been a hard year, honey. And, you know, I just forgot to start a new piece of paper for February.”

It was a lame-o excuse, but all I had.

The beginning of this year I started a family thankfulness page. Planned one for each month. I used my favorite purple pen to scribble down words we could read later.

Gratitude to remember weeks, months down the road of life.

We circled the table, shared one funny or serious blessing or thankful thing. Some evenings it was difficult to come up with ideas; other days we were excited to share. Sometimes my husband worked late and wasn’t there, and other times we ate out and didn’t get to share that night.

But my heart ached that it become a habit, externally and internally. For all of us. Gratefulness, noticing little blessings and humor in every day.

Gifts from God, reminders of His grace.

And now, those messy, purple words remind me of the month of January as I gaze over them.


  • No school today (Chase & Cole)
  • Finished checking ramp A (Dad)
  • Watching Cole laughing with a friend at pick up line (me)
  • Epic soccer game in PE (Cole)
  • Made Chaz laugh in school (Chase)
  • Big encouragement from a writer friend (me)
  • It’s Friday (Dad)
  • Spent time with Chase (me)

My morning walk time is often part of my prayer time, and the other day, it was positively easy to pray. To say ‘thank you’ to God from the depths of my heart.

Gratefulness oozed from my pores.

After all? It was a beautiful morning, kids were mostly healthy and getting along, no humidity, house was clean, our families were on the upswing (Thank You, Lord), the bird was doing well with his potty-training, I didn’t have to work. Laundry was 98.8% conquered.

The dog was bathed. There was writing time on the horizon.

All good things going on.

How easy it was to stroll along, my eyes on the skies, gratitude flowing like spring sunshine.

The thing is, I was thanking in the easy. And boy, it was easy.

Two months ago, I tried thanking in the hard. And boy, was it hard.

How could I say thank you, God, when a family member was dying? Painfully?

Or when my Dad was bedridden for weeks from a hip-related physical therapy accident, very possibly out of a job now, totally not of his own doing?

Grumbles of protest and the weight of worry squelched out my voice and gratitude during those difficult weeks. Often I numbly recited verses and groaned to God on behalf of my loved ones.

I think all of us, some more than others, have had to thank in the hard. Have had to groan instead of pray.

And it’s okay. Because God still wants our thanks, even during the hard. Especially during the hard. Because He is still God, and He is not gone.

And His grace is sufficient.

If you’re in a trial, going through the HARD of life, hang on, friend. Don’t give up on the praise, on thanksgiving. God IS faithful.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (2 Thess. 5:16-18)



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