being thankful when it’s hard (and what i’m thankful for).

Thanksgiving is all about being thankful – everyone knows that.

But how are you supposed to act if Thanksgiving falls around a hard time in your life?

I started this post as a “Ten Things I’m Thankful For” post, but something happened while I was writing it that took my joy away.  And it left me wondering the aforementioned question: How am I supposed to act on Thanksgiving if I’m not really happy or extremely grateful at that moment in time?

Besides what literally just happened, a lot of things have happened in my life recently that have been, to say the least, pretty rough.  I’ve had to leave a church, my family has been really stressed out about things that happened before we left (that continue after we left – here comes a sarcastic yayyyyy), and we’ve heard some really bad things said about us – untruthful things that damage our reputation.

I wrote a post a while ago about seizing the happy moments in your life.  I think we all should do this is so that when we go through hard times we can look back on the times when our lives were actually happy.

So, in an attempt to reverse the suckiness of my life right now, I’m going to finish the previous draft of this post and write out seven things I’m thankful for.

  1.  I’m thankful for my family.  They’re my rock and my constant definition of unconditional love.  Even when I act stupid and yell at them and tick them off and get back at them for doing the same to me, we all still love each other.  I’m so blessed to have them in my life.
  3. My awesome friends, especially my bestie, Hannah.  I’ve been so incredibly blessed to know so many amazing people, especially in the past year.  This year has been one of the hardest I’ve had to go through thus far, and I’m always encouraged to know that, no matter what happens, I’ve got people in my life who will stick by me and my family.
  4. All of the writers in my life who have shared their talents with the world – R.J. Palacio, J.K. Rowling, Gabrielle Donnelly, John Green, Rainbow Rowell, Jack Cavanaugh, Wayne Thomas Batson, Suzanne Collins, Robert Whitlow… I could go on and on.  They inspire me to keep writing even when I feel like a failure and I’m so grateful for them.
  5. Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun.  |-/
  7. My amazing God.  I’ve learned more about Him in the past year than any other time in my life, and it’s scary and incredible and I don’t want it to stop.  When my family and my friends fail me, He’s always there to pick me up again, comfort me, and give me strength to keep going.  I’m learning to be satisfied in Him alone, and it’s been a phenomenal experience.

What are you thankful for?  (And how do you cope when you feel like you can’t be thankful?)

20 thoughts on “being thankful when it’s hard (and what i’m thankful for).

  1. Pingback: “give thanks to the LORD, for He is good.” | inklings press

  2. Pingback: year in review: 2015 | inklings press

  3. Aw. Ash. I am so sorry. 😥 Wish I could give you a big hug!! I totally know what you mean about when things in life just seem to be pushing you down and you can’t seem to get past the hurt and pain. Thanks for lifting up your head a little though, looking at the positive and writing what you are thankful for, no matter how hard it was.

    I am thankful for my family, friends (yes you’re included!! ;)), a place to live, a van (even though it seems to have a TON of problems… I’ll leave it at that), the One who is purifying me daily for the work that He has for me in my life and my future husband (who God is also working in and making him more Christ-like).
    How do I cope when I feel like I can’t be thankful?? Well, I’ve kinda experienced this a bit lately and I could write how I think I should cope, but nah, I’m sure everyone knows that already…unfortunately I have to admit that most of the time, I don’t cope very well…I get sulky and often forget to even THINK about being thankful for what God IS doing. I forget to even try to find something to be thankful for, instead I seem to continually look at the negative, point to everything that’s going wrong and then pour out my frustrations on those around me. 😦

    • Thank you so much for the encouragement. It’s hard, but I think it’s gonna get better soon. (At least, I hope it will. Fingers are crossed.)

      That’s a great list – and I didn’t even think about adding my future husband, although I’m thankful for him, too (if he exists, lol).

      HA. Yeah, we all know how we *should* act, but we don’t do it that often. (Right before writing this post, I was curled up under a blanket, listening to twenty one pilots in headphones. HA.) I’ve always been an optimistic person, but this past year has really challenged that. I find that just remembering that the day will end and another one will start really helps – it keeps a finish line in focus, even if it’s just the end of a day. (Which turns into the end of a week, which turns into the end of a month, etc, etc.) Of course, I forgot all about that last night, but I’ve been encouraged by talking to friends and family yesterday, so I’m doing better in the immediate sense, and hoping the long-term will get better, too. 🙂


      • Haha!! Yes, He’s out there somewhere! God’s using this time to perfect Him for you! 🙂 ❤

        Yes, it will get better. I so agree with Ashley Perham! You will look back and see how much God's hand is in your life and the good He has for you and how He is perfecting you! It's still hurts sometimes when I look back at our church situation from 7-8 years ago and all the other stuff that has just stunk, etc. But I see now, how God used that to draw me closer to Him. It's not easy, NO. WAY. but it's worth it!

        "As I reflected on the last few hectic, crazy and stress-filled days and weeks of my life, I shook my head and with tears in my eyes, I exclaimed, "My life is such a mess!"
        "Then I heard God answer, 'But It's a beautiful mess and one I enjoy working through. Stay close to Me and I'll fix it all. I can straighten it all out if you let Me, but you can't pull away. Don't let the craziness of your life pull you farther away from Me or else it'll just get messier. Sit close beside Me, be still and let Me do the work. I'll untangle everything that has wrapped around you.'"

        *Confession*…This was just a few days ago.

        It will. It will!! Praying for you, girl!!!

  4. Aw, I’m so sorry you’re having to go through stuff like that right now. 😦 From things my family has had to go through (and be witness to) in the past, I know it’s incredibly hard to stay cheerful during times like those, but you seem to be doing an amazing job, m’dear. 🙂 *hugs* Just remember – God is ALWAYS in control, even if everything seems dark and depressing. (And if you ever want to email me, feel free to do so! You’ve encouraged me enough times, so I feel like I should return the favor. :))


    ALSO. YOU MENTIONED JACK CAVANAUGH AS ONE OF THE WRITERS IN YOUR LIFE. *totally freaks out* I need to re-read his books. It’s been a while. 🙂 (Did you ever finish the Songs in the Night trilogy? Just curious…)

    • It’s okay. It’s getting better. 🙂 Aww, you’re so sweet. 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement! I’ll do that! 🙂

      AWW YEAHHHHH. And yeah, I’ve been meaning to read more of his books, but I knew you’d appreciate that. ; ) I didn’t – they’re on my shelf, though!!!

  5. 1. FRIENDS
    2. Sherlock Christmas Special
    3. Doctor Who Season 9
    4. The tenure of Clara Oswald
    5. Civil War trailer
    6. Piano
    7. Etc.

    Question: Are Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun the Twenty-One Pilots dudes? I have a friend who is OBSESSED with them.

  6. STUDIO C YASSSSS! When it’s hard for me to be thankful in situations, I try to thank God for being Him. It gets my eyes off me and focuses everything on Him and all He’s done for me! (I forget this a lot though.)
    I’m praying for you! I’ve been through similar experiences with church stuff. It stinks and hurts so bad, even sometimes today. But it WILL get better! This time next year, you’ll look back and realize just how far God has brought you and how everything has worked out for His glory and plan. The first year after everything went down was super rough, but looking back, I see how God used that time to grow my dependence on Him and used it to give me opportunities I might not have had otherwise! I know it’s really hard right now, but “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength!” Have a Happy Thanksgiving! And watching Studio C always helps me!
    I’m thankful for Whitney……’s mom for making me this nice sweater!”


      That is very true and a really good perspective! Thanks for the advice!

      Aww, thank you so much for the prayers and the encouragement. I’m really hoping it’ll all get better soon because I’m just done. XD That’s what I’m learning – where the church failed me, Jesus is still here and remains my security and my stronghold. Thank you so much! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

      “I’ve been trying to get her to break up with me for *forever*!”

  7. Aw, I’m so sorry you’ve had some hard things going on. I hope things clear out quickly – will be praying for you.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Ashley! Thank you for such an amazing blog. I love how you’re posting frequently lately. 🙂

    ~ Naomi

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