Saying “Thanks” for the Hard Stuff

My dad died several months ago. He was my buddy, and I fiercely miss him every day. But I’m thankful for the many years I had with him, the memories we made together, and even spending the hard days with him when he was sick.

About a month after he died, I had the opportunity to say “thank you” to his doctor, the one who had cared for him the last several years. His determination opened some possibilities for a few more good days (and years!) with my dad, and I’m grateful. Yet when I said, “thank you” to him, it felt awkward. After all, my dad was no longer with us at the doctor’s office. I guess some would say we lost him, and what could there possibly be to thank the doctors (and so many other caregivers) for under the circumstance?

A lot.

As is often the case, there are many reasons for gratitude even in the middle of pain, grief, and suffering. Thankfulness and sorrow can coexist.

We don’t have to choose between the two. Life doesn’t have to be completely not okay or completely okay. Most times, both are true.

As I told the doctor “thank you,” I realized how many times I do the same to God: express my gratitude even when I’m still in pain. Thank Him despite the chaos around me. I can accept the peace and healing He gives me in the middle of the storm. I can not like what’s going on around me yet find a deep contentment that spurs me to long for more of the right things…of Him.

Thanking God in the middle of my circumstances doesn’t require ignoring those circumstances or putting a mask on and faking happiness. Thanking Him requires authenticity and trust, transparency and humility. It’s not easy. It doesn’t always feel good. It’s as if I scribble a note on a scrap of paper, because it’s all I can do at the time, and I offer it to God with open hands, thanking Him for continuing to work in my life, and handing over everything to Him.

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8 thoughts on “Saying “Thanks” for the Hard Stuff

  1. So sorry for your earthly loss, Susan. Your dad has been a part of many of your posts, so I know you had a close rapport with him. May those memories be a comfort to you in the coming days, weeks, and months as you carry on his legacy.

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  2. You always have had the right message at the right time. You have been in my thoughts and I thank you for all you do to share God’s message. May you have a blessed Easter.

    Helen

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    1. Thank you, Helen. God is good to provide. I intended to schedule this post for next week but I clicked the wrong button. Instead of pulling it, I decided perhaps today was the right timing. I know you, too, have dealt with difficult loss. Praying for a perspective of gain for you. Especially this weekend.

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  3. With my diagnosis of cancer, I felt a sense of peace when my Doctor referred me to an Oncologist that I knew previously from a committee I served on at work. He cared and he is Christian. When I showed up at the office my Nurse Practitioner was also a former coworker. I intercede for both of them to our Lord. I thank them despite the bad circumstances. I know they stay up at nights worrying just like we do. This was the perfect post for Easter. Thank you.

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  4. So much truth here. Thanks for this Susan. It can be hard to be thankful when the journey is so challenging. But God is good in the midst of it all.

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