When Giving Real Thanks Is Hard

When you’re raising a child with extremely challenging behaviors, it can be hard to face a holiday all about giving thanks.

Sure, we can all find small gratitudes each day.

We have food to eat.

We only called the police once last week. 

The sun came out today.

special needs, adoption, foster care, thanksgiving

But what about deep gratitude for the life you’re living?

After all, you may be living a life that you didn’t sign up for.

Maybe each day is a living hell. You feel like you’re being held hostage.

Maybe you feel isolated and alone. Like no one else gets it. Or even worse, that everyone thinks you’re crazy.

Maybe you’re starting to feel like you’re crazy.

If we focus on the injustice of just wanting to complete our families or help a child in need but ending up victimized and with no help, it is hard to think about being thankful.

Plus, the actual celebrating of the holiday with extra people, overstimulation, and lots of extra foods to have to police, it can be easy to become a Scrooge about Thanksgiving.

I was thinking I could do without this particular holiday.

Then I read Psalm 136 this week and was reminded of something powerful.

Give thanks to the LORD, because he is good.
His faithful love continues forever.
Give thanks to the greatest God of all.
His faithful love continues forever.
Give thanks to the most powerful Lord of all.
His faithful love continues forever.
Give thanks to the only one who can do great miracles.
His faithful love continues forever.
By his understanding he made the heavens.
His faithful love continues forever.
He spread out the earth on the waters.
His faithful love continues forever.
He made the great lights in the sky.
His faithful love continues forever.
He made the sun to rule over the day.
His faithful love continues forever.
He made the moon and stars to rule over the night.
His faithful love continues forever.
Give thanks to the One who killed the oldest son of each family in Egypt.
His faithful love continues forever.
He brought the people of Israel out of Egypt.
His faithful love continues forever.
He did it by reaching out his mighty hand and powerful arm.
His faithful love continues forever.
Give thanks to the One who parted the Red Sea.
His faithful love continues forever.
He brought Israel through the middle of it.
His faithful love continues forever.
But he swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea.
His faithful love continues forever.
Give thanks to the One who led his people through the desert.
His faithful love continues forever.
He killed great kings.
His faithful love continues forever.
He struck down mighty kings.
His faithful love continues forever.
He killed Sihon, the king of the Amorites.
His faithful love continues forever.
He killed Og, the king of Bashan.
His faithful love continues forever.
He gave their land as a gift.
His faithful love continues forever.
He gave it as a gift to his servant Israel.
His faithful love continues forever.
Give thanks to the One who remembered us when things were going badly for us.
His faithful love continues forever.
He set us free from our enemies.
His faithful love continues forever.
He gives food to every creature.
His faithful love continues forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His faithful love continues forever. — Ps 136

 

True thanksgiving isn’t about being thankful for the circumstances as much as it is being thankful for the eternal, unshakable truths.

True #thanksgiving isn't about being thankful for the circumstances as much as it is being thankful for the eternal, unshakable truths. #lifeishard Click To Tweet

We aren’t to be thankful because we feel like it, but because The LORD is GOOD. And that never changes.

If we are thankful for nothing else, we can be thankful that The LORD who created the world and will eventually restore and redeem it all is GOOD.

Regardless of whether or not our kids use their words, face their demons, or become what we consider functional adults, God is still GOOD.

Regardless of what others think about us as parents or whether or not our kids can receive our love, God is still GOOD.

So when you’re sitting around the Thanksgiving table this week, and you’re kids are running amuck, just remember that God is still GOOD and be thankful for that. And you are NOT ALONE.

DISCLAIMER: I am not condoning any disrespectful behavior or advocating that you sit around and do nothing if you are experiencing child on parent violence. If you are in this situation and need help, please send me a message.

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