By Sue A. Fairchild
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary describes “thankful” as being “conscious of benefit received.” For me, the definition doesn’t seem to say enough about this word. Being conscious of a benefit we have received is a good thing. It helps us to say “Thank you” and to show appreciation. It helps us not to dismiss important events in our life and assists us in seeing the good when sometimes life is just too hard. But simply being aware of the benefits in our life doesn’t seem to truly define the emotions behind the word.
When I think about all the things I’m thankful for in my life—my husband, my health, the health of my loved ones, God’s never ending blessings and His ever present care in my life—it simply is not enough to say I’m “conscious of the benefits” of each. Each thing I’m thankful for in my life affects me deeply and I want to express my joy for each of those things in the right way.
My husband loved me at my most broken stage and has helped me become the strong entrepreneur I am today with his love and never-ending support. Simply being aware of all he has done for me doesn’t begin to describe how I feel about him. Joy fills my soul when I think of him. My heart sings when I consider his sacrifices, the parents who made him who he is and the God who placed him into my life. In turn, I seek to show him how thankful I am for all he’s done, by doing things for him, verbally thanking him, and loving him in a tangible way.
When I think of my health and the health of my loved ones, I marvel at a mother who has persevered through years of debilitating illness, admire a father who worked two jobs to make ends meet despite heart issues and am proud of how I’ve battled weight loss and depression problems. Being thankful means understanding how hard it has been and yet still finding joy—being grateful—for every minute of the process. (Check out my post here about how thankful I am that my mom recently turned seventy-five!) In addition, I need to remain aware that God has placed each moment in my life as a means to grow, learn and achieve.
It’s good to be aware of our blessings. It’s right and positive to say “Thank you” at the appropriate time. But it’s so much more. It’s a feeling, deep down, that life could have possibly been better, but without the hard things, it’s difficult to recognize the good. We must not only be aware of the benefits of our life, but also seek to extend thankfulness, graciousness and admiration for everything God has placed in our lives.
I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. (Ecclesiastes 3:10-14 NIV)
Sue A. Fairchild is a freelance editor who specializes in substantial edits and Christian writing. Her editing credits have included a suspense/thriller series, a fantasy series and numerous other genres. In addition, Sue is also a writer who has been published in Christian devotion magazines, two Chicken Soup for the Soul books, as well as self-published two novels currently available on Amazon (“What You Think You Know” and “Summer’s Refrain”) and is currently working on a third.
Sue’s attention to detail and passion for good writing assists her clients in making their work shine. She’d love to talk with you about editing your next big project! Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or email her (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a free consultation and estimate (max. 2 pages).