By Julie Fuller
I Thessalonians 5:18 says,
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s
will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
Wow, that is not always the easiest thing the Lord commands us to do. Most of us have walked through some really difficult things that bring us, at its worst to deep grief and anguish, and at best, to feeling bewildered or confused as to why it happened.
If we are not careful, we can find ourselves living under the assumption that life should be easy and trouble free because we follow Jesus. But that is the exact opposite of what Jesus told his disciples, the men who gave up everything to follow him. In fact, he said, “in this life you will have trouble.” That word trouble in the original language means, anguish, affliction, trouble, and persecution. And yet, God’s Word still tells us to “be thankful in everything.”
Thankfulness is about faith and trust, Colossians 2:7 says “Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” There are truths in God’s Word we learn with our heads that cannot be seared onto our hearts until we experience them.
The sudden death of my father is one of the things the Lord used to make this truth about thankfulness real for me. This is the single most difficult thing I have walked through; the grief was so overwhelming at times I felt like I couldn’t breath. Even now, after 9 years, I write this with tears in my eyes. You see, being thankful is not the same thing as being happy about a circumstance, or denying the pain or the ugly wrongness of it.
Thankfulness is about “letting your roots grow down deep into him,” allowing the things the Lord has allowed in your life to drive you deeper into His grace and mercy, so you are able to trust Him, and your thankfulness overflows not in the circumstance but in who He is.
As we drove to my father’s funeral, the Lord met me in that car with a simple children’s song from Psalms 33. He spoke this truth to my heart.
In You our hearts rejoice,
for we are trusting in your name,
in You our hearts rejoice
We depend on You,
for we are trusting in your name,
we depend on You
Our hope is in you Lord,
for we are trusting in your name,
our hope is in you Lord
I am still filled with thankfulness as I remember the tender way He accompanied me to that funeral. Reminding me I can rejoice in Him, not in the circumstance, I can depend on Him, even when I don’t understand why, and I can hope in Him because this life is not the end. He has an incredible eternity marked out for my Dad and me.
Oh Ladies, we can give thanks in ALL THINGS because we belong to Christ. After Jesus said “in this life you will have trouble” he said “fear not, for I have overcome the world” and in that we can truly be thankful!!
** Psalms 33 is written by Rob Biagi, I added the link if you want to take a listen
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, have five children, one son-in-law, one soon to be daughter-in-law, and one wonderful grandson. Donna and Bryan have recently moved back to their home state of Arkansas after livingin southeast Alabama the past 23 years. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.