Grace’s Journey: Providing Opportunities to Give Thanks

gift_basketContinued from here.

In the Bible, the apostle Paul talks repeatedly about how each of us is a part of the Body of Christ. My experience with the generosity of my Church family taught me a lot about what it means to be God’s “hands and feet” on this earth. While I was certainly doing a lot of praying from the hospital during my son’s surgery and five days of in-hospital recovery, I needed my Church family’s support as well.

The most important support I received was their prayers. While I did spend time in prayer in the hospital, I was frequently interrupted by the nurses coming into my son’s room or my son needing my help with something. I also experienced periods where I was awash in emotions and simply couldn’t pray beyond, “God, please help me.” However, I had a large network of people praying for my family, and that made all the difference. I repeatedly told people that I felt every prayer in that hospital, and I truly did.

Another important support I received from my Church family was that they repeatedly gave me reasons to be thankful. As I previously discussed, thanksgiving is the avenue to joy, and the generosity of my Church family gave me something to focus on beyond my own pain and exhaustion.

Whenever we are in physical or emotional pain, our natural tendency is to focus on ourselves. Sadly, nothing makes us more miserable than thinking about ourselves and our pain. I lived this way for many years, and I never want to go back. So, I knew enough in the hospital to look for opportunities to praise God (which I will share more about tomorrow), but my own efforts and determination were not enough. This is where my Church family really helped. With each act of kindness – whether it was a visit, card, meal, text, email, or any other show of support, I had an opportunity to give thanks. As my family was literally provided with hundreds of kindnesses during this difficult time, we were also provided with hundreds of specific reasons to thank God, and that was exactly what I needed to prevent me from staying self-focused and feeling sorry for myself.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Photograph of a balloon gift basket my son received after his surgery. Courtesy Grace Daniels.]