The Word says that we enter God's presence with thanksgiving in our hearts. He's been impressing this on my heart over and over lately.
I remember when I used to sit down for my quiet time with the stress and burden of my troubles cloaking me. My mind a fog of frustration or trying to spin out solutions.
I'd have to intentionally clear out a space in my brain and get to my thankfulness. Thanking Him for our house, our car, our health, our kids—okay sometimes they were strictly on the prayer request list . . .
While thanking him for all those things is vital, I'm learning that entering His presence with thanksgiving doesn't necessarily mean pulling out a grocery list of thank you "to do"s while a huge pile of hurt and stress sits on our shoulders.
My time with Him becomes more real and intimate when I can say, "Thank you for being with me in this stress and hurt. Thank you that you have a path already laid out to navigate this situation I'm facing. Thank you that You have everything I need. Thank You that you provide the energy to be what I need to be for my family during this time. Thank You for the answers I know You have for these problems. Thank You that You never leave me alone to handle it by myself."
My thanksgiving can be for who He is to me in my mess.
There is such power and comfort and freedom in speaking truth about who He is and what He wants to do in the midst of my challenges and struggles, that I come away from those times renewed, throwing off the fear and discouragement.
When we give Him our burdens, He gives us joy and hope.