We grew up believing in Cinderella,
yet some of us feel our palace turned out to be a duplex,
our prince turned out to be a frog, and the wicked stepmother
turned out to be our mother-in-law.
—Beth Moore, Breaking Free
HAPPY THANKSGIVING WEEK!! Right off the proverbial bat, I want to make it perfectly clear that I have one of the best mothers-in-law on the planet, so today’s quote is no reflection on her, trust me. I actually just liked the quote when I read it again on my second pass through Beth Moore’s amazing workbook, Breaking Free, and thought it would make a good jot. Why? Well, because it reminds me how our own expectations in life can booby-trap our happiness … and our gratitude!
Thanksgiving. Such a simple word and yet within lies a wealth of joy to be had for those who heed its message. Last week I introduced you to my dear friend and spiritual mentor, Joy Bollinger, who taught me a very basic truth way back when I was new Christian at the age of 23, a lesson I have applied in my life since then and reaped boundless blessings as a result. It was the vital lesson of Psalm 100:3-6 — “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.”
What does that mean? Well, for me, it says that “thanksgiving” invites us into the throne room of God and “praise” ushers us into the courts of the King of Kings—keys, if you will, that unlock the doors to God’s bountiful blessings. Back then, I didn’t fully understand it at the time, but being a black-and-white bottom liner, I simply applied that Scripture diligently to everything that happened in my life, good or bad. And OH. MY. GOODNESS!! I learned very quickly that when we thank and praise God in the face of negative situations, not only do we stomp on the devil’s toes by giving glory to God rather than getting angry at Him like the devil WANTS us to, BUT … I believe we activate that insurance policy each of has if we belong to God: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28.
For instance, when I was 27-year-old single woman supporting myself as a secretary for a meeting producer, I had managed to work my way up from secretary to bottom rung of the corporate ladder as a “Associate Writer Producer,” something very difficult to do without a degree. Never mind that I didn’t have the title, salary or business cards to go along with it and still had to do secretarial duties as well—it was a career breakthrough, and I was elated! Until, that is, the economy hit a snag, and the company scheduled a massive lay-off. As a fairly new Christian trusting in God, I was STUNNED when the V.P. of our division called me in his office to tell me that although I had done an incredible job working my way out of secretarial work into the “Associate Writer Producer” realm, the hard facts were that since I was low man on the totem pole, I had to go.
I remember sitting there in his office, tears welling and shock reverberating throughout my body. Dear God, what was I going to do? I was my sole support and lived in my own apartment with nowhere to go if I couldn’t make the payments. Both of my parents were deceased, so it wasn’t like I could go “back home.” “I’ll give you a few moments alone,” the V.P. said, vacating his office so I could “pull myself together.” The moment the door clicked behind him, the tears began to fall, fear crawling through my belly like the serpent had crawled through Eden. “You trusted God,” the serpent said, “and yet what good has it done? God allowed you to be fired.”
I will never forget that still, small voice that drifted in my brain that day. “Praise me, thank me,” the thought came and so I did, right then and there in that office, loud and clear with tears trailing my cheeks, praising and thanking God in the midst of losing my job. Because deep down I knew that somehow, someway, God would work this out for my good. A calm came over me that defied the circumstances, and lifting my head high, I walked out of that office not having a clue what I was going to do, but knowing one thing for dead sure: I wasn’t alone. Want to take a guess what happened next? Within two hours a manager from another department heard that I had been let go and offered me a job that very day. A job, I might add, that within two weeks led to a bona fide “Associate Writer Producer” job in yet another department where I not only received the title, business cards and salary, but had a secretary working for me as well. Go ahead, tell me that isn’t a God thing, and I will tell you a hundred more stories from my life just like it because when we praise and thank God in the midst of our trials, He is “good, His love endures forever and His faithfulness continues through all generations.”
So in this month of Thanksgiving, I encourage you not only to give thanks for all the good that God has done for you, but give thanks for all He has yet to do—both in the trials and tribulations of your life right this moment, and in the years ahead. Because we serve a God Who is just aching to show us that His love not only endures forever, but it will carry us through every storm of our life with peace, hope and joy.
I wish you and yours the most BLESSED of holiday seasons, and may we enter it with thanksgiving and praise for a God who is truly worth it.