In Everything Give Thanks

(Although Thanksgiving is over, allow me to share some of my blessings this Thanksgiving season)

At Thanksgiving our thoughts turn to giving thanks. There is a verse in the Bible about giving thanks that has always been a bit hard for me to swallow, “In everything give thanks.” It’s one of those verses that has provoked me to want to say,”God, you can’t be serious.” I have often tried to twist the words or their meaning so I could interpret it differently.

However, since my stroke, I have had a different response to this idea of giving thanks in everything.

Perhaps God is commanding us to do something that He knows will help bring healing. Perhaps the best thing about thanksgiving is that the focus is not on me. In order to give thanks, or even feel thankful, my focus must turn outside myself, to someone for whom or to whom I am grateful. Perhaps this is one reason for the verse in scripture that tells us to give thanks in all circumstances, for all things. Perhaps this is more a prescription for our own health and well-being, since gratitude can be a sort of spiritual and emotional therapy.

So I would like to express thanks here. If “faith is focus,” as my brother once wisely said to me, my faith will be strengthened by focusing on the blessings of my circumstances! I would like to name a few things for which I am thankful in this Thanksgiving season of 2016:

  1. I am thankful it is Thanksgiving 2016 after my surgeries/stroke instead of 2015 before these health traumas.
  2. I am thankful I am about to come to the end of my first year post stroke (December 14)
  3. Though slow, I choose to be grateful for the progress that His grace and strength have made possible this year.
  4. IMG_0258I am eternally grateful for the chance to live longer in order to love longer the very ones who have loved me through this journey, of whom my husband is the first. When I stop to think what we have learned to do together, I am overwhelmed with gratitude that he has been with me all the way. In 11 months of this journey through dark, deep, uncharted waters, He has never left my side. I thank God for my husband who took his vows seriously, to love in sickness and in health.
  5. I am thankful for the good hard laughs we have shared, more than ever in our married life.
  6. I am grateful that, through God’s power, I have been able to embrace the humiliations of this new normal for me.
  7. I am thankful for God’s mercies in allowing me to see another Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  8. I am grateful for the miracle of being present at the birth of my grandson and img_2126namesake Josiah and for the opportunity to love on and be a part of my grandchildren’s lives.
  9. I am grateful for all the times I cried out to the Lord for help and He sent a person, whether a medical professional or aide, a family member, care-givers at home, new and old friends, therapists who brought the perfect skill sets to my places of need.
  10. I’m thankful for my children and their many expressions of love to me in meeting my needs as they have arisen through these months. I am thankful for their genuine prayers and their belief in me through the darkest of days in this journey.
  11. I thank God that I have never suffered boredom, even in months of disability.
  12. I thank God for a friend who baked pumpkin pie and spice cookies for me during Thanksgiving. And for her sweet and talented daughter who has helped to redecorate my home with new ideas and new seasons.
  13. I thank God for Becky, who takes me on outings and errands. No errand is too small, no outing too big.
  14. I am thankful to the Lord for His unimaginable provision for our financial needs.
  15. I am thankful for the faithful support of friends from our past church, and from the Chinese church of Niskayuna, NY! We have been able to pay medical bills, purchase equipment for a handicapped lifestyle, pay for services of others to meet physical needs. This has all made it possible for Stan to even continue working and traveling.
  16. I am thankful for the healing of my scalp and the regrowth of hair after two surgeries.
  17. I am so grateful for the many visitors I have had from near and far. Two of the more recent ones have been the Collins and the Mackeys. The Collins were a huge source of encouragement and inspiration to us as they understand our reality in ways that few can. And what joy to see the Mackeys even if only briefly. I am grateful for both these families.
  18. I am thankful that one year after my stroke I can sit, stand even take steps with minimal assistance. 11 months ago just sitting and holding my head up felt like Mt Everest.
  19. I am grateful for those dear friends who saw a need before I was even out of the hospital and gifted me with an iPad that has made life so much easier as I can no longer type on my computer.
  20. And most of all I am thankful to the One who entered into the mess of this world as a baby in order to redeem us! The One who willingly took on flesh and understands suffering, loss, and pain. The One who never leaves us or forsakes us! Immanuel, God with us!
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25 thoughts on “In Everything Give Thanks

  1. Amen; I am forever thankful for Pastor Stan and You!! We miss you and pray for you often. I hope Pastor Stan is 100% now. Merry, Merry Christmas

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  2. Thank you SO much for your words of gratitude. I continue to learn from Katy’s circumstances.
    Praying everyday for Katy’s full recovery and peace and strength for her and those nearest and dearest to her. Merry Christmas to all of the Key’s!

    The Watson Family

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  3. My dear Katy and Stan, how thankful we are for YOU! And thank you for being so transparent with your life at a time when it would be easy to isolate. You are both so dear to us and we treasure the memory of our visit with you in November last year!
    Love and prayers, Bob and Judy Long

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  4. I am thankful to be a part of your life by reading your wonderfully heartfelt messages…I think of my dear friends Joan and Mason…who BOTH suffered strokes the same month almost 2 years ago…he suffering from 2 that month…I can envision you through Joan who suffers as you do… and thank God for allowing Mason to recooperate enough to drive as well as take care of Joan and the house…His effected his speech and hand movements…they are both in their 80’s and live alone together…God is good…we all know that…I pray for you and Pastor Stan every night…God bless you and your spirit during and beyond these special days of this Holiday Season…

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  5. Thank you for the reminders of all that God does…even when we don’t notice. Grateful for you, Stan, your girls and their families. May His mercies be noticed daily. ❤️

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  6. In this world you will never grasp the number of people and the extent to which they are thankful for you, Katy. The size and number are beyond measure. Thank you for what you show us and the spirit you show. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I love you, and continue to pray for you.

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  7. thank you again for sharing your journey-you who have been through such a difficult journey have blessed more people than you will ever know-Jesus must be so delighted with you!

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  8. Love and miss you and Stan. I too love your transparency through this difficult journey. The transparency of your lives is what I have always treasured about you and Stan. God bless you as we enter this Advent season awaiting celebration of Jesus’ birth. You are an inspiration Katy. Your posts have ministered to a dear friend of mine as I share them with her.

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  9. Peace, perfect peace, to you tonight, Katy. I love you dearly. Heavenly rest to you, Camille

    On Mon, Dec 5, 2016 at 3:21 PM, Journey with Katy wrote:

    > lizlind posted: “(Although Thanksgiving is over, allow me to share some of > my blessings this Thanksgiving season) At Thanksgiving our thoughts turn to > giving thanks. There is a verse in the Bible about giving thanks that has > always been a bit hard for me to swallow, “In ” >

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  10. Katy – Thanks so much for your perspective on thankfulness and your heart attuned to God’s will. It is so hard to be the example for others to follow, but God is using you and Stan and your family as a great example of faithfulness and loyalty. Just as Robertson McQuilkin and many others have testified of God’s faithfulness during long periods of illness or disability, your testimony will have a far-reaching impact that won’t be known until Journey Stories in Glory. Blessings on all of you as you persevere in His strength.

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  11. What a blessing you are to me Katy. I am thankful for you, your blog and your willingness to continue to share what God shows you.

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  12. You are one valiant lady! I admire you stance on gratitude. I can’t even compare my situation with yours, but I have also learned to be grateful through 4 kinds of cancer and open heart surgery in these last 8 years. But even more than my own situation, the tragic loss of our son-in-law topped anything personal about me. But…..Gratitude changes everything. And the object of our gratitude being Christ makes all the difference. I found a Proverb that I cling to….Prov 20:24….”The Lord guides our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” I gave up trying to understand and just became grateful. And it’s ok not to have an explanation, isn’t it?

    Much love at this Christmas season when Jesus came for us. And here’s a thought I love THIS Christmas…for the first time I have entertained it……the FIRST person to welcome Jesus into the world was an unborn baby (when Elizabeth’s baby leaped within her at the news from Mary)

    Lovingly and gratefully,

    ~ Jan

    >

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  13. And I am thankful for your continued ministry to others in spite of your circumstances. Nothing is wasted in our Great God’s economy. Indeed, He is Immanuel – God with us! Love you, Katy.

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  14. What a beautiful testimony to God’s goodness in the midst of difficult circumstances!! What a wonderful witness to God’s faithfulness!! We continue to pray for you and Stan daily!

    Love, Darlene and Mark too

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  15. What strikes me first is that possibly adversity makes us more thankful. You may have discovered more in adversity to be thankful for than I could with a relatively healthy body.

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  16. Katy, you teach us all. Love to you, Judy and Bill Wood

    On Mon, Dec 5, 2016 at 3:21 PM, Journey with Katy wrote:

    > lizlind posted: “(Although Thanksgiving is over, allow me to share some of > my blessings this Thanksgiving season) At Thanksgiving our thoughts turn to > giving thanks. There is a verse in the Bible about giving thanks that has > always been a bit hard for me to swallow, “In ” >

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  17. Thanking God with you for what you have shared and what is not mentioned. You are our Faith Hero, if the Hebrews 11 of today is written it would said stan and katy by faith trusted God, stuck together in love in the midst of darkness. Love you, happy thanksgiving in arrears and christmass and new year.in advanced

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  18. Dear Katy,
    So good to read and see pictures of you,Stan, friends and loved ones. I’m so thankful for you sharing the joys you experience each day. We are sending love to you.

    Like

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