November is typically the time of year when my Facebook newsfeed fills up with, "Today I'm thankful for..." every day of the month, yet those same people quickly lose their spirit of thankfulness as soon as the month is over.
Most lose it the day after Thanksgiving when they hit the Black Friday sales.
I've had times when my heart has been more thankful than others, but even in the rotten periods I've learned there is always something to be thankful for.
We had several years of trying times in ministry at several separate churches. Some were so bad we would ask each other from time to time if we were the problem because the opposition was so great. We worked for several churches I wouldn't invite people to. I had people ask me where I went to church, and I'd tell them and then tell them where they could find a good church. There were times when I'd make the five mile drive to church, stop halfway and return home, call him and say, "I just can't do it today."
But there was always something to be thankful for.
The view of the river from my back porch became a sanctuary during those years. Holding my children close was like air in my lungs. My job that took me out of town a few evenings a week gave me confidence when speaking in front of groups and provided a boost to my self-esteem when I felt beaten down by people at church. I was even thankful for the rumors spread about me because I knew they weren't true. (I'm still married, unlike the rumors said, and still alive and in good health, unlike other rumors).
Sometimes the thankfulness was simply being glad that I wasn't as miserable as the person complaining to me or gossiping about me.
Through the years I've strived to keep our home a peaceful place so even when church isn't the peaceful environment, my family knew home was a haven. Home was a place where we didn't talk about one another, where we could find quiet if we needed it, where we were free to laugh and be ourselves, and where we lived life, making sure we were the same people in front of each other as we were anywhere else we went.
Today I'm thankful that we raised children who love the Lord, despite witnessing how cruel His children could be. I'm thankful that we went through the tough times we did because it made us stronger leaders. I'm thankful for all of the seasons because God has always shown His faithfulness.
About the Author:
Suzanne Schaffer has been in full-time ministry with her husband Wayne since 1992, pastoring in Pennsylvania and Illinois. She has two grown children and spends most of her days either writing or reading with a cup of tea close by. She enjoys attending auctions and sometimes brings home more stuff than she knows what to do with. She believes life is too short for mediocre food and insists on having good chocolate in the house at all times. You can connect with Suzanne at her blog, www.notenoughchocolate.blogspot.com