Giving Thanks, Even When It Is Hard

First Thessalonians 5:18 tells us “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

In everything.

Give thanks. 

That means we are to give thanks when the harvest grain bins are full; it also means give thanks when they’re empty.

That means give thanks in the good times and in the bad.

Why? Because it is God’s will. It’s that simple.

For this reason, we’ve looked around us to see ways that we can cultivate a thankful heart, even in the often unpleasant and undesirable circumstances of life.

We can be thankful for…

  • The rent check we just wrote because have a house to live in.
  • Dirty dishes because our family has food to eat.
  • Dirty laundry because we have clothes to wear.
  • The water bill because we have clean water to drink.
  • The toys strewn across the house, the spills at the dinner table, the poopy diapers, the interrupted sleep…because we are blessed to have children.
  • The long car rides because we get to spend time with other people.
  • The wait-time at the doctor’s office because we have good health care.
  • The cold weather because we have variety in seasons.
  • A husband who hunts because I have a husband. 😉
  • Busy seasons of transition because we have a new house, child, etc.
  • Long hours of solo parenting because our husbands have a job.
  • Dirty floors because our children enjoy playing outside.
  • Unknowns because we have a God who knows and is in control.
  • Hard parenting days because it brings opportunities to trust God and point our children to His grace.
  • Rough patches in relationships because they help us learn to love and understand each other better.
  • Limits in finances because it presents us with opportunities to be content, to be frugal, to learn to pinch pennies.
  • Friends who live far away because it helps us appreciate it so much more when they come to visit!
  • Changes in the seasons of life because they help us learn to trust God with the question marks of the future.
  • Rotten food in the refrigerator because God provides.
  • Being forced to step out of our comfort zone because it allows God to do a work in our heart and give us joy.
  • Suffering because it exposes our weaknesses and forces us to depend on God.

As we celebrate this Thanksgiving season, may our hearts learn to give thanks in all things.

Give Thanks for the Church

This season of holidays fills our calendar. We prioritize shopping, decorating, baking, family reunions, gatherings with friends and gift giving.

When I really stop and consider Christ’s gifts, I realize that one of His greatest blessings gets pushed aside by the business of the season.

This gift is the Church!

Let us stop and considered all the blessings God provides through His Church and choose to praise Him and prioritize this extraordinary gift!

 

  • A place to remember Christ’s sacrifice as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper together
  • We are encouraged and built up / A place to encourage and build each other up
  • A place to grow in our understanding of God through the teaching of His Word
  • A place to sing praises to God corporately 
  • A place to form friendships that are founded in Christ’s saving work in our lives
  • A community of people who pray for you.
  • A place where our children are taught the Word and Songs
  • A place to help us train our children in the Lord
  • A place where our children have friends
  • An opportunity to care and be cared for
  • A place to practice our spiritual gifts
  • A community (a body!) to pitch in during hard times
  • A community of people to weep and rejoice with
  • A place where we are reminded of truths we are quick to forget  
  • A place to see how God is at work in the lives of other people  
  • A place to see answered prayers
  • A chance to be involved in missions beyond next-door-neighbors. 
  • A place to be convicted of sin and repent
  • A place to obey God’s command to gather with God’s people 
  • A place to recount God’s faithfulness and goodness in our lives
  • A place to come alongside each other and bear each other’s burdens
  • A place to celebrate baptism and new life in Christ
  • A place for the intentional preaching of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
  • A place to publicly exalt the name of the Lord 
  • A place to love and serve each other 
  • A place to learn theology 
  • A place to spur each other towards godliness 
  • A place to celebrate the diversity within the Body of Christ

Praise God for our Church!

Why and For What Should We Give Thanks?

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. During this season, we are often asked the question “What are you thankful for?” and our brains scramble to find something to share. Today, we’ve compiled a list of Scriptural reasons for why we should give thanks, as well as some specific things for which Scripture tells us to give thanks.

Why should we give thanks?

Here are three reasons from Scripture:

1. Give thanks because it is God’s will.  

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 

2. Give thanks because it magnifies God. 

“I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.” Psalm 69:30 

“For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.”                2 Corinthians 4:15

3. Give thanks because it is good to give thanks. 

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High.” Psalm 92:1 

For what should we give thanks?  

1. Give thanks for His holiness. 

“Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.” Psalm 30:4

2. Give thanks for God’s goodness.

“O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 136:1

3. Give thanks for He is the God of god and the Lord of lords. 

“O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 136:2-3

4. Give thanks for He does great wonders. 

“To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 136:4

5. Give thanks for He has created all things. 

 5 “To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.
6 To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.
7 To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:
8 The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever:
9 The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 136:5-9

6. Give thanks for how He has dealt with Israel. 

10 “To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever:
11 And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever:
12 With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever.
13 To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever:
14 And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever:
15 But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever. 
16 To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever.
17 To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:
18 And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:
19 Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever:
20 And Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endureth for ever:
21 And gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever:
22 Even an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 136:10-22

 7. Give thanks for He has remembered us and redeemed us. 

“Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever:
And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 136:23-24

8. Give thanks because He provides. 

“Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 136:25

9. Give thanks because His mercy endures forever. 

“O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 136:26 

 10. Give thanks for our salvation. 

“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13 

This list is not at all exhaustive. As you spend time in the Word during this season of giving thanks, be looking for other specific areas for which Scripture instructs us to give thanks!

20 Minutes Until Supper

Having a busier than expected day is pretty normal in our lives and those meal times can come around the clock faster than we plan for.

Last-minute meals on a busy day can be kind of crazy, but what if we had some go-to meals that can be ready and on the table in 20 minutes? That’s quicker than ordering pizza and having it delivered!

Here are some ideas for some super-quick meals that we whip up for our families on those busy days.

  • Quesadillas (with cheese and refried beans)
  • Breakfast for Dinner: pancakes, waffles, eggs and sausage/bacon with toast 
  • Loaded Potatoes (cooked in microwave) top with cheese, beans, sour cream, ham, broccoli or any other ingredients you have on hand that sound good.
  • Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches (make it even better by warming up a can of soup for dipping the sandwiches in)
  • Chili
  • Stove-top Taco Casserole  (Taco meat layered in a skillet with broken up tortilla chips, cheese, and refried beans mixed with some salsa to make it spreadable)
  • Monte Cristo Sandwiches (Regular ham and cheese sandwiches dipped in a thin pancake batter and fried on a griddle)
  • Sloppy Joes
  • Spaghetti 
  • Tuna Melts 
  • Tacos or Taco Salad 
  • Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes – I use this recipe from Delish.com 
  • Black beans with sauteed kielbasa, bell peppers, and onions over rice

Most of the ingredient for these meals are non-perishable or freezer-friendly.

Freezing cooked ground beef makes for an even faster meal assembly!

Try keeping ingredients for some of these meals on hand for those days when you just run out of time and really don’t want to spend the extra on pizza or carry-out!

Our Blogging Journeys

Can you believe it?! We have been successfully blogging for an entire year! Today, we thought we’d share some of the things God has been doing in our lives over the past 365 days as we’ve continued this journey of blogging. 

 

Angie – 

This time last year we were just getting ready to launch Hearts Refreshed. We had been working on it for several months: brainstorming the name, making a schedule, figuring out sources for pictures, and setting up the website. Once we officially launched, there were even more areas to work on: figuring out a system for editing each other’s posts (and being gracious in doing it); learning what mountains to “die on” (and what mountains are insignificant in light of the Gospel); and even thinking through how to handle specific subjects (at one point, we had an in-depth theological discussion concerning a particular post which then resulted in heavy revision  before it could be posted).

These things all seem rather routine and matter-of-fact–simply a part of the package. No big deal, right? However, it was these things that God used to do a lot of work on my heart: I had specific ideas of how things should be and I wanted to cling oh so tightly to those ideas. After all…they are the best ideas, right? It was one of those “I know what I’m talking about in this area” kind of things. But even as I struggled, God began to chip away at areas of pride in my heart and show me that this isn’t all about me. In fact, it’s not about me at all, but about Him. And so, even while I thought that we were doing this blog for other people, God was doing a work in my own life. Isn’t it interesting how God works in the most unexpected ways? This heart-work hasn’t been easy or fun; however, I am thankful that He has been good and gracious to do the good work in my life that He has promised to do rather than leaving me to my own ways. As I look forward to another year of writing here at Hearts Refreshed, I pray that God will keep me humble and dependent on Him so that He gets the glory for it all.

 

Chrystal-

A year ago I was jumping at the opportunity to be a part of Hearts Refreshed because I loved writing and felt like I could use a creative outlet in the current season of life. We had added our third child only a few months before, and while I was hoping that my writing might encourage other women along the way, I was mainly looking at this as being my hobby: A place where I could think about things outside of just dishes, diapers, and feeding schedules. What I didn’t realize is how God would use writing to really imprint certain lessons on my own heart and mind. As I was taking time to write down some of the things He was teaching me, I found myself mulling over certain truths with a deeper intensity than before. I also would find those same truths resurfacing and convicting me at times when I would have otherwise forgotten them. “You wrote about this, remember?” my brain would say when the child was crying, my husband wasn’t measuring up, or the to-do list screamed louder than my desire for the Word, etc., etc., etc. And then I would be forced to choose my own way or the way God had already previously laid out for me. I still have many days where I do not remember the truths God has been teaching me, but I’m grateful for every little step forward and it’s neat to see how God has used writing as a tool in my journey over the last year. 

Over the past year I’ve also enjoyed the kindness of God through family vacations, evening walks, kid snuggles, park days, church gatherings, volleyball games, neighborhood get-togethers, camping trips, freezer meal parties and, most recently, a move to one town over. 

 

Rachel-

As we launched Hearts Refreshed one year ago, my heart’s desire was to uplift other women in their day-to-day walk with God, as well as share my motherhood journey with other moms with the hope of being an encouragement. Whether or not that mission was accomplished, I have been encouraged, challenged, and uplifted by Chrystal and Angie as we have blogged together these past 12 months. God has also used Hearts Refreshed to build a strong relationship with my sister-in-law (Angie). I am truly thankful for the friendship God has built between us!

Much of this past year drug by for me but in hindsight, it was a whirlwind. God guided me through undiagnosed illness, a difficult pregnancy, the  loss of my dear grandmother, traveling across the country 5 times, adding another precious baby girl to our family, uprooting and moving across the country, and parenting during the toddler years. It has been a lot, but there have been many sweet moments intertwined.

Time with God has been hard but His Spirit continues to prod me and give me a driving desire to know His Word and commune with Him in prayer. God has been faithful to grow me: He has humbled me as He exposed my pride, selfishness, and attempts at self-sufficiency. Yet he has also reminded me of the love He has lavished upon me through His cross and the good gifts He has given me in my husband, children, church family, and many other undeserved pleasures in this life. All glory be to Christ!