Thursday, November 26, 2015

Escape from the Prison of Ungratefulness

Written at Thanksgiving several years ago.

I once said that mothers couldn't get sick. I was blessed with good health and couldn't remember when I was sick for longer than a day. But a bad cold hit me the week before Thanksgiving. And it refused to leave.

Don't pity me. I wasn't deathly ill, just miserable. I continued to care for my children - as much as I could from the couch. Casseroles from the freezer supplied our meals. Cleaning was non-existent. After I lost my voice, homeschooling entered survival mode.

My husband added household tasks on top of all his normal responsibilities. I was grateful for his help but typically I measure the success of my day by what I accomplish. Holding down the couch didn't qualify. I coughed like a chain smoker and could not sleep, but worse, I now felt like a total failure as a wife, homemaker, and mother.

God was working on me. 

He wanted me to discover joy in Him, not in my accomplishments. He longed for me to be thankful for the circumstances He placed me in and to find fulfillment in serving Him with my whole being – coughs and all.

The calendar reminded me that I had promised to visit an inmate. She had attended the Bible study at our local detention center and now had moved to a long-term prison facility in the city. I managed to feel good enough to keep the appointment. 

It was a scary, new experience to visit a large city prison. The high walls ribbed with rolls of barb wire silhouetted in the November darkness echoed the hard, cold eyes of inmates held  in sin's night.

Next time my gratefulness needs a boost, I'll remember to visit a prisoner. 

Or the homeless. 

Or the sick. 

Spending time with those who have far greater problems than mine drove me to sheepishly return to my Father and say "Thank you for my problems – my cough, my hyper children, my dirty house.”

God doesn't reserve His lessons on gratefulness to one day of the year at Thanksgiving. This year, a visit behind prison walls demonstrated the prison of ungratefulness where I resided. Thankfully, His Word holds the key to unlock the gate.

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts...and be ye thankful. (Colossians 3:15) 

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Colossians 3:17) 

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Freedom is found when my joy is based – not on my circumstances, but on the One who rules my heart. 


  1. I read your blog and become grateful and happy to serve the Lord and my husband and my daughter, you truly love your Lord and your family, it is something else to read how you obediently serve your Lord and family in this wicked world, on Thanksgiving day we are having a small feast just the hubs and myself and talk on the phone to our only child many miles from her home..Praise the Lord for your blog, blessings from God daily in your life!

  2. Gina,
    Thanks for sharing your experience. We forget how lucky we are until we see how others are dealing with life choices. Your story certainly made me think how much I appreciate my life and grateful for my family. We are a work in process.

  3. Hello Gina,

    What a lovely and timely post. Thanks for sharing it with your faithful readers.
    I pray you and your family experienced an abundantly blessed Thanksgiving filled with love, family and fellowship.

  4. It's bring joy to my heart when reading your blog. I love the way you always give glory to God in all situations. Thank you, and continue to write.

  5. I just came here to catch up and see how close you are getting to the new arrival in your family, but it blessed me to read this excellent post on thankfulness. :) I had many of these same thought when my son was two and I was laid up with a broken ankle for 6 weeks. Unfortunately, being a leaky vessel, I often forget the gratitude God showed me at that time. Thanks for sharing this timely reminder!

  6. thank you for your blog


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