Redeeming Thanksgiving: Cultivating a Heart of Thanksgiving to Restore the Broken

Cultivating a Heart of Thanksgiving to Restore the Broken 

*Republished from November 1, 2017.

Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday for a long time! I love everything about it: The food, the fellowship, the family, the fall, and all the wonderful feels. (Hehe, I didn’t even mean to make those all words that start with F until the end. Fun! Haha)  But the past few years have taken a big ole dump all over my Thanksgivings. 

In 2015 I caught my husband in an affair (the first time I had discovered an actual physical affair) days before Thanksgiving. I don’t remember much about that Thanksgiving Day, other than feeling completely shell-shocked. Like the world was still moving silently around me, but in slow motion – while I was frozen stiff, with a ringing in my ears. I remember feeling dead inside, and spending quite a bit of time pretending to nap so that I wouldn’t have to explain why I kept crying. Or why I was having such a hard time following any conversation. It was a miserable day. Frankly, it was a miserable year, and I wasn’t feeling all that thankful. 

Last year, (2016) my husband planned a big get-away for the two of us over Thanksgiving weekend. He had spent the previous year trying to convince me that things had changed. I felt very uneasy about the trip, and pleaded with him not to schedule it if there was anything still hidden. (As I strongly suspected there was.) He proceeded with the plans, and I cautiously got on board. We had a lovely time together, and I even started to believe that things were really changing. I silenced the nagging concerns and decided to go all in again. In less than a month, I caught him in another affair, and in the aftermath of that discovery was given a full disclosure to all the infidelity over our 16 years of marriage. It was devastating, and obviously covered the memories of that trip in filth and deception.  

The Redeeming Thanksgiving Series 

So, I’m sure you can understand why my favorite holiday needs some redeeming. But what a perfect holiday to redeem! This past year has been incredible! So hard, but one of the best of my life. I have never seen God work more clearly than I have this year. So, I’d love it if you’d join me through these weeks leading up to Thanksgiving here at His Dearly Loved Daughter as we focus in on cultivating a heart of thanksgiving. There really is great power in this one little discipline, so we’re going to reclaim what has been broken and hand it over to the Master Builder to be lovingly restored.  

Week 1 – Cultivating a Heart of Thanksgiving to Restore the Broken
Week 2 – How to Restore Hope and Joy by Living Thankful
Week 3 – How to Find Peace with a Thankful Heart
Week 4 – How to Make the Enemy Flee through Thankfulness
Week 5 – How to Invite Blessing through Thanksgiving

Let’s start today by looking at a beautiful Psalm and using it to ignite in us the sparks of thankfulness. Let’s add kindling over at Hope for Today (through the month of November) with a new featured passage each day that focuses on thanks. Finally, let’s set our hearts on fire with gratitude each Monday as we examine more deeply another aspect of thankfulness. By the end of the month, may we be a blazing, unquenchable, pyre of praise and thanksgiving to our Lord and Savior who makes all things new!

Let's ignite the spark of thankfulness, add kindling daily through Scripture, and set our hearts on fire with gratitude as we examine the many aspects of thankfulness until we become a blazing, unquenchable pyre of praise to our Lord. Click To Tweet

 

Psalms 34  

I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak His praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt His name together.
I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, the Lord listened; He saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; He surrounds and defends all who fear Him. 

Sure, I could claim my right to grieve this holiday season. It’s been less than a year since my world hit rock bottom. As I mentioned before, the holidays hold a lot of terrible reminders, and I could choose to mourn what has been lost. Honestly, I think that would be okay. There is a time to grieve.  

But I’ve done that, and God has been so near through it all. His faithfulness makes me want to shout praises from the rooftops! What it boils down to is, I don’t want to mourn anymore!  

One year ago, I was desperate. One year. That’s not very long. One year ago, my world was upside down, and I was crying out to God every day. I was begging Him to help, and He listened! He surrounded me, and He defended me. He came to my rescue, and He has shown me that I will be okay. Even if my love goes back to that terrible world, I will be okay.  

God has freed me from all my fears by showing me that He is all I need. He will sustain me, no matter what. So I will always look to Him for help, all the days of my life! I will tell the world how He has been faithful to me. How He has saved me. I will use my every breath to speak His praises!  

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him! Psalms 34:8

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him! Fear the Lord, you His godly people, for those who fear Him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing. 

I have never believed this promise more than I do right now! Last Thanksgiving, I was still questioning God. Still asking how He was going to keep His promises to me and show me that what He was doing was good. It felt so.not.good. Yet here I am, 11 months later, filled to the brim and overflowing with joy in His supernatural provision. Here I am, knowing that what He has given me is all I need. Knowing that HE is enough! Knowing again, that He is good! 

Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord. Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; His ears are open to their cries for help. But the Lord turns His face against those who do evil; He will erase their memory from the earth. The Lord hears His people when they call to Him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. 

I am so very thankful to pray to a God who hears me. A God who listens. I am so grateful that the countless hours I have spent on my face before Him have never been wasted. Through all those years as my heart was broken again and again, and I was crushed seemingly beyond repair, my Heavenly Father came near. He gathered me into His mighty arms, He held me close. He comforted me when I was utterly alone. And then, praise His Holy Name, He put me back together! Not only that, He answered my prayers and pulled my love from the path of destruction and set his feet on a firm foundation! 

The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken!
Calamity will surely destroy the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished. But the Lord will redeem those who serve Him. No one who takes refuge in Him will be condemned. 

Indeed, the Lord does come to the rescue each time. Life is full of troubles, we’ll never get around that. It’s just going to be. But the Lord WILL redeem those who serve Him. I will forever take refuge in Him, and in Him alone. As He sanctifies me, I will shout my praises forever! “MY GOD IS GOOD! He is worthy of all glory, and all praise, and all honor, forever and ever!”

I will forever take refuge in the One who will redeem those who serve Him. I will shout my praises forever! MY GOD IS GOOD! He is worthy of all glory, all praise, and all honor forever and ever! Click To Tweet

*How about you? Do your holidays need some redeeming? How can you thank God for His faithfulness to get the ball rolling?

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***Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Redeeming Thanksgiving: Cultivating a Heart of Thanksgiving to Restore the Broken The Redeeming Power of a Thankful Heart Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him. Psalms 34:8

12 Comments

  1. Esther, this is beautiful and so encouraging. I’m sorry for what you have been through, but thankful that you are leading in pouring out praise after such a difficult time.

    1. Author

      Thanks Christina! God has been faithful! He is always good.

  2. Thank you for sharing what must have been very difficult to write. It was beautiful! Such an encouragement to be thankful in all circumstances!

    1. Author

      Thank-you Karin. It was a difficult time, but God has been faithful, and I have found that there is healing in sharing the hope God gives us through our pain with others. Glad you were encouraged! God bless!

  3. Oh Esther, thanks for sharing so bravely! Thanksgiving is one of my favorites (after Christmas) for all of the reasons that start with “f” too!!

    My heart rejoices with yours about how different this Thanksgiving will be! Our God is an amazing redeemer and I never tire of hearing of his work in lives.

    I loved the beginning of this series and am looking forward to reading the rest!

    1. Author

      Thanks Beka! We’re f-word lovin’ soul sisters. Haha… just kidding. I almost wrote that in the post though. I had to be careful in my phraseology so that I didn’t call them f-words. 🙂 Thanks for your never-ending love and support!

  4. What a testimony of faith! Thank you for praising our Redeemer with such passion! You are a blessing! One I will thank God for in this grateful season!

    1. Author

      Awww, thanks Joy! And I’ll thank Him for you beautiful friend!

  5. What a beautiful testimony! God is good, no matter what our circumstances, and He deserves our praise. I’ve never been in your situation, but my marriage has not been easy – and still He sustains me and I praise him!!

    1. Author

      He is so good Tammie! God bless!

  6. I am blessed by this post. I was thinking just this morning that I would like to cultivate a heart of praise and thanksgiving in this season of lamenting. Beautiful post, dear sister. <3

  7. Beautifully said. I very well understand what you have been through. My ex husband walked out on my 12 year old son and I after 17 years of marriage. He had cheated through the marriage. Yes God is good. He carried me through that dark time in my life. I didn’t have a job. Didn’t know what we were going to do. I had to take over the payment on my home. I had no idea how I going to do it. Well today my homes paid for. I raised my son by myself. He’s 22 now, he knows we couldn’t have made it without the Lord carrying us. Yes I agree with you, we could all use a little redeeming. And what a great holiday for it!!!

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