Friday, May 9, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Grateful

It is time for Five Minute Friday! Last night I saw on twitter that Lisa-Jo had announced the Five Minute Friday word prompt: grateful. "That will be an easy one," I thought to myself. "I have had a very difficult week, but I can choose to focus on what I have to be grateful for, and I can share about that."

I had a simple post in mind, one that could easily be typed up in only five minutes. It was a post that would briefly share the physical struggles I have had this week and then focus on a list of all of the many wonderful blessings for which I am grateful. But it didn't sit right with me. Something was missing. The post I had in mind I was mostly choosing to ignore the hard things and just focusing on the happy and cheerful things of life. It is good to be grateful for those things, but gratitude should go farther than just focusing on happy things.

I have been mulling things over last night and this morning. I've never put so much thought into a Five Minute Friday post! I have been thinking about gratitude, suffering, and Ephesians 5:20 in which we are commanded to give thanks for everything. Everything. Even the weakness, loneliness, and bad days. After much thought and prayer, here is my Five Minute Friday post. (Disclaimer: I forgot to look at the clock when I wrote my five minute post. I probably went well over my allotted time.)

This has been a difficult week for me. On Monday I felt pretty well in comparison to the last few months, but after a meeting that afternoon and supper with my family, my body was done. I was tired, weak, and exhausted. It is now Friday, and I still haven't recovered from Monday.

My health has been steadily declining since September. In December my health started declining more quickly. My body is weak and tired, and I have to spend most of my time in bed. When I do choose to push myself to have friends over or spend extra time with my family, I pay for it for a week or more. These are hard and challenging days for me.

As I think about gratitude in the midst of my current circumstances, my mind keeps going back to Ephesians 5:20. I look it up in my Bible, and it says, "giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

For everything? I am to give thanks for declining health and diminishing energy?

Yes, I believe I am. As a Christian, I am to give thanks for all things. Even suffering is a gift from God.

I turn to Philippians 1:29, and it reads, "For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake." In this  verse, "granted" (echaristhe) means to give freely and graciously. God in His sovereignty bestows suffering. Suffering is a gift.

On these weak and tired days suffering feels like anything but a gift. How can this be a gift? And how can I give thanks for it? It helps to remember Romans 8:28,  "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."

And there it is. God is working all things for my good. Even dysautonomia. Even declining health. Even the loss of energy. These things are, as Joni Eareckson Tada says, "a severe mercy." Because God is ultimately using all of these things for my good, I can thank Him for them. I must thank Him for them.

I think of 2 Corinthians 4:17, my favorite verse: "For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison." Wow. What a reason to be grateful for affliction! The suffering that I endure faithfully now will result in great reward in Heaven, a reward that is completely out of proportion to any hardship I endure.

Thank you, Lord, for this severe mercy. May I never forget to be grateful to you for your many blessings, whether they be pleasant or painful.


  1. Oh this is so hard to do!! You have such a heart of grace and I will be praying for you that you see some healing and strength return!!

  2. Thank you, Kristin. It is so hard!

  3. Thank you, Joe! It's great to hear from a FMF neighbor!

  4. Will be praying for you.

    In the 10 years I have been dealing with dysautonomia, I had one year where I kept deteriorating, it was scary, upsetting and so hard to understand spiritually, emotionally, physically. That was about three years ago now I am making some progress again.

    I have found that my body seems to develop a tolerance to my beta blockers after about 2 years. They simply do not have the same effect of lowering my heart rate.

    Now I am on three BP meds, sometimes 2betablockers, prednisone for flare ups as needed...
    Some days I am up somedays I am not...

    I use my down time to intercess for people, so I will most definitely be praying for you. Your words help keep me going every week. I cannot imagine how difficult this journey would be without Christians who blog about dysautonomia. So thank you, bless you,

    Beth Moore has that book called get out of that pit... Well you help many to be mindful of the pit... Your honesty and encouragement and humility have helped me so much... Your a regular light in the darkness. Jesus came to touch the oppressed, the hurting, the blind- you do that in a deep way thru your words. Your blog on your that showed the time line of your day touched me real deeply, it mirrors my days...

    Rest as you need it and I will be lifting you up to God asking him to reveal his presence and wisdom to bless you, protect you and fill you up with his peace, strength and joy


  5. Thank you so much, Corrine, for your words. You help to keep me going too! Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.

    I'm glad that your dysautonomia isn't currently deteriorating and that you are making progress again. I hope that you continue to feel better and stronger. I will be praying for you too.

  6. I know how easy it is to brush over the hard and just list the cheery, so thank you SO MUCH for being authentic.


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