One of the most difficult things for me to understand as a grieving mother, and as a Christian, is how to be thankful in all things. I read a daily devotional and over and over again it tells me no matter what adversities we face to always give thanks to God.
Well, I’ll be honest with you; I did not comprehend how I was to be thankful when I was mourning the loss of my only child. I thought I was a bad Christian because I couldn’t seem to grasp this central message in the Bible.
I’m still not all the way to understanding it, but I have started to see glimpses of comprehension coming through. It is hard for us to trust and be thankful in all circumstances of our life, but that is exactly what we are called to do by God: To come to Him with a thankful heart. To let go and trust Him to take care of us always. That does not mean that you are thankful for a tragic loss in your life; just that you are humbled by it and that helps you to recognize that you are blessed in other ways.
Giving thanks for other blessings in my life felt awkward at first but, with persistence and with prayer it did make a difference in my heart. It awakened me to His presence and eventually that began to overshadow my grief. When tragedy strikes in our lives, God wants us to turn to Him and place our faith in the belief that we can get through our troubles with Him leading us.
Basically, this is a practice in discipline; a daily action to always keep us close to God. We need to give thanks for the good things in our life. That in itself puts our mindset on a positive path. To be thankful raises us up above our negativity and allows our minds and hearts to be in a better place.
It did not happen for me in the beginning of my journey through grief, but now that I have been made aware of the discipline and trust needed I am thankful for the simplest things. A sunset, seeing flowers pushing their way up through the soil, or feeling the freedom of the birds soaring overhead. All these things have a more profound effect on me. I offer thanks for my life and my son’s life, grateful that I had him for the time that I did . . . that I loved him and he loved me. I do miss Ryan and will mourn for him the rest of my earthly life but; I believe that he is in a better place and I will be reunited with him someday.
I am learning what it means to be thankful in all things, but it is only possible through my faith in God.
Debbie’s family established a website in memory of her son, Ryan, a wildfire fighter. You’ll find it at www.flamesforflegality.com.