Last week, I had the privilege of speaking to the women in my church. I encouraged them with an acrostic, T.H.A.N.K.S., to guide them in an intentional pursuit of gratitude. I offer it here to help you give thanks through the thick of life’s busyness, burdens, or hardest trials.
The acrostic is simply T.H.A.N.K.S:
T is for Thoughts.
H is for our Hearts.
A is for Acknowledging our realities.
N is for Numbering our thanks.
K is for a Kaleidoscope of creation.
S is for Speaking our thanks.
T is for Thoughts
Thanksgiving starts in our thoughts. Romans 12:2 tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. I think of two types of thanksgiving when it comes to what we are setting our minds upon: changing truths and unchanging truths.
Changing truths are things like “Thank you, God, for this parking spot close to the entrance when I have a bum knee.” Or “Thank you, God, that the sun is shining for our outdoor wedding.” These are awesome things to thank God for. These honor God and recognize that all we have is from His Hand.
But, these are circumstances that can change, and if we end here in our thanksgiving, we may find ourselves perplexed, crushed, and even embittered when Providence is not in keeping with our heart’s desires or finite wisdom of what is good. It’s so important that we move beyond this kind of thanksgiving because life is unpredictable, but our God is sure and steady.
Patterned in Scripture is a thanksgiving rooted in “unchanging truths.” This second type of thanksgiving focuses much more on Who God is and what He has done.
The character of God and the covenant of love He has established with His people through Jesus are two truths that will never change. They are truths that will ground you when facing hardships of any and every kind. They are the truths for which thanksgiving is always accessible and appropriate.
Thanksgiving starts with your thoughts.
H is for Heart
This is where many of us want things to start — in the affections. We want to feel grateful before we give thanks.
But, our affections lie, mislead, and are out of whack at any given moment for an innumerable amount of variables. We cannot rely on our emotions. We cannot wait for them in order to give thanks. We can, however, trust that as we renew our minds, our affections will eventually come in line with the truths of who God is and what He has done for us.
Sometimes this takes minutes. Sometimes this takes years.
Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord.” Often it takes time for the renewing of our thoughts to move to the heart. But it will. Press on in renewing your thoughts, trusting that God will move upon your affections in due time.
A is for Acknowledging Our Realities
Giving thanks doesn’t mean ignoring or denying hard realities. It doesn’t gloss over challenges or hardships. It acknowledges all of that while at the same time persisting in hope.
When we deny the difficulties and challenging circumstances we sometimes face in life, we diminish the opportunity for God to be magnified in the eyes and hearts of others and ourselves as He shows Himself strong on our behalf and present in our pain.
But, when we acknowledge the hard and the heavy of our circumstances while maintaining faith in God’s promises to love us, sustain us, never leave us or forsake us, we offer a genuine sacrifice of praise that honors God and inspires others.
N is for Numbering Our Thanks
Keep a numbered list of anything and everything you notice during your day for which you can give thanks.
1. A vibrant, red maple leaf floating through the sky.
2. Your children getting along for an entire five minutes.
3. Waking up another morning.
4. A long phone call with a friend.
And so on…
K is for the Kaleidoscope of God’s Creation.
Like God’s unchanging character, we can draw upon our five senses to experience God’s creation in its many forms and give thanks for the way in which He has given us varied displays of His beauty, wisdom, and power through creation.
S is for Speaking Our Thanks
Ephesians 5:19-20 exhorts us to speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, giving thanks always. Psalm 78:4 says that “we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His powers and the wonders He has done.”
God commands us to give thanks because He knows that it will bring us the highest happiness in life. It will bring joy to others as well and will tell them Who He is and what He has done.
In closing, my prayer for you is that the thanksgiving that begins in your thoughts would move to your heart and through your fingers and lips as you learn to give thanks in the thick of it.
Welcome to Ungrind!
Do you want to be inspired, motivated, and equipped to live the everyday story of your life well?
If so, you’re in the right place. Whether you need encouragement in your relationships or in your faith, I hope you’ll find the transparent voices of mentors and friends here at Ungrind.
So, grab a cup of coffee and keep reading. We're so glad you're here!
Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor
Get Our Free Ebook!
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions
The Psalms is a book that's rich with the reality of what life's like in this fallen world. Here are...
3 Ways to Navigate Personality Differences
Sometimes personality differences can wear on us. Here are three ways we can navigate them in a loving manner.
Surprised By ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’
If you haven't seen this film, God may speak to your heart through it in ways you weren't expecting.
The Wedding Ring
Are you struggling in your marriage? Here's how a wedding ring helped one wife fight for her marriage.
5 Ways to Live an Out-of-Control Life
Here are 5 ways to let go of control and trust your present and your future to God.
5 Creative Places to Find Prayer Accountability
Do you want to pray more, but are easily distracted? Here are some practical ways to stay focused.
How to Rescue a Day Gone Wrong in Your Marriage
Just because a day doesn't start well, doesn't mean you can't rescue it.
What Women Are Saying
-- Jenny Schroedel, author of Naming the Child: Hope-filled Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Death
"Real life is not always pleasant. Every marriage experiences disappointments, misunderstandings, sickness and financial crisis. Ashleigh doesn’t camouflage the pain in her own marriage, and offers practical ideas on how to walk through the difficulties and find intimacy on the journey. If you are anything like me, I predict that as you read, you too will find yourself laughing, wiping tears, and saying 'Oh, yes.'"
-- Gary Chapman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages
We are a member of the Amazon affiliate program and regularly use affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an Amazon link we provide, we will receive a small referral commission. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. We only share books, music, and products that our writers personally have used and highly recommend.
Faith4 years ago
When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds
Motherhood4 years ago
Surviving a Strong-Willed Child
Faith5 years ago
7 Ways to Create A Family Altar
Friendship6 years ago
Beyond the Registry: The Ultimate Gift Guide for Expectant Parents
Relationships4 months ago
5 Ways to Teach Your Child to Hear God
Marriage6 years ago
4 Reasons I’m Not Facebook Friends With My Husband
Articles5 years ago
10 Ways Life is Like a Box of Chocolates
Articles7 years ago
How to Lift Up the One You Love
Articles5 years ago
Relationships9 months ago
Facing Our Motherhood Fears
Digging Into Scripture1 month ago
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions
Articles8 years ago
June Cleaver Syndrome