“Hard Thankfuls”

If you are like me, when numbering the things you are thankful for, lots of things come to mind. Many things I think of as “comparison thankfuls”; things in my life that most people in the world do not have.

I’ve traveled to a few third-world countries and those places linger in your soul … always. Once you’ve seen and experienced them, you can’t unsee or know them. The depravity is so great, so foreign to us in America, it imprints in your mind and heart. It surfaces over and over at unexpected moments: popping into thoughts like surprises at haunted houses. The images carry sadness, concern, and always, helplessness; conjuring sincere prayers and vivid memories.

So, many times, I am thankful for a roof to sleep under, floors under the roof, running water, warmth, a variety of food in the frig and pantry, clothing, etc. … “comparison thankfuls”. Or, I think of the worst things happening to people around me or in the news and express thanks for NOT being in those circumstances.

Maybe, Thursday you’ll go around the table, each person naming one thing they are thankful for this year. Maybe, you’ll each have five kernels of corn at your plate and say one “thankful” for each kernel. And, if your table is like mine, many people will note the same “thankfuls”: food, family, friends, pets, etc. We roll them off our tongues like rehearsed lines. I’m not saying there is insincerity. But, they can become rote and meaningless; an “Easy Thankful”.

People enjoy a family dinner with candles. Big table served with food and beverages.


What if we all had to name “Hard Thankfuls”;

a “thankful” we found in a difficult situation?

They are places we never wished to go and didn’t expect 2019 would hold for us. Maybe, the worst fear realized or the hardest thing you’ve ever been through. Yet, inside of those gut wrenching heartbreaking life-rearranging realities, you found something to be thankful for! Maybe just maybe, something new would happen around the table, in hearts.

I’ll go first…

Most of you know, in August, our grandson, Sawyer,

was born in the arms of Jesus.

He passed into eternity during labor…

the most dreaded experience … the death of a child.


A few of my “Hard Thankfuls” …

I am forever thankful I got to meet Sawyer. Those two hours with him were beyond priceless. Worth every possession earth could ever afford. It was a long awaited meeting, so wished for, prayed for and anticipated. Life cannot take that away from me/us.

I am forever thankful God’s presence hovered with us, in a hospital room, in Michigan! I know I can’t adequately portray those hours, let me just say, it was a Holy Sacred place!! A Holy Sacred time!! The quiet hush of the Holy Spirit dwelt with us. The peace of God covered us even in tears and grief! It felt like a visit by the Divine … the freshness of a newborn and a sense of the spirit lingering after one passes. We were afforded the privilege of being present shortly after the Creator of life called Sawyer to eternity. We all felt it and commented on it to each other. I’ll never forget God’s comforting ministering nearness. It swells my heart with Thanksgiving!!!

I’m forever thankful Sawyer’s Mom’s life was preserved!!!
I do not have adequate words … Thank you Lord!!!

I am also forever thankful our separation from Sawyer is temporary and short compared to eternity!! Our grieving will be turned to joy, when we, too, are called to eternity.

None of us know what next year holds. In the days ahead, someone around your table may walk through their hardest days ever. Your words of thankfulness, in your hard journey, may give them strength and encouragement they will desperately need. It may also inspire someone to look in the most unlikely places for God moments; places He meets us in dramatic unexpected ways.

If nothing less, someone may need to hear that inside even the darkest moments, thankfulness can be found!


“Hard Thankful”,


PS – As always, I am thankful for your support and encouragement in this blog ministry. It is my joy to share this time and space with you! Happy Thanksgiving!

Feel free to share with a friend(s).

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7 thoughts on ““Hard Thankfuls”

  1. Our family has this tradition as well. I have had some hard thankfuls this year. We lost my father to Alzheimer’s and eventually he died this summer. The Lord walked with us in very personal ways day by day, year by year. I’m thankful for my relationship with my Dad during those years.

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  2. Thank you for this post. You say exactly what I’ve been feeling but with beautiful words. Thanks! Happy Thanksgiving. I will be sharing my hard thankfuls on Thursday.



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    1. Thank you for sharing Jamie!! Losing parents is a very hard place life takes us! I know your words will encourage hearts and also, will prepare your children for the time when they will walk the same path. Blessings❤️


  3. Dear Elaine. Thank you for posting your thoughts. They are so inspirational for me. I pray that your family and you have a blessed Thanksgiving. Your family has been such a blessing to my family, especially in very difficult times. I am very thankful for each of you! Love, Patty Riddle

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  4. This is such a great reminder to be thankful for everything, not just the “easy” things. I love how you turned the pain into situations to be thankful for. I hope you and your family have a very blessed Thanksgiving!

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