Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

An aftershock of grief hit me with full force last Thanksgiving. Preparing to go to my parents’ house for a family meal, I found myself in my bedroom unable to hold back tears and the accompanying flood of emotions. What could I be thankful for this year?

Before eating turkey and pumpkin pie, our family tradition is to go around the table and say what we’re thankful for. Some years, this is easy. I’m grateful for God’s provision of my husband’s job or a new home.

But all I could see that afternoon was the baby I wasn’t holding and I didn’t know how to give thanks after a painful miscarriage.

The trauma surrounding my delivery the previous April haunted me—the ambulance ride, losing consciousness along with too much blood on the ER table, and my tanking numbers on the monitor. My body was still recovering in June and it wasn’t until the end of the summer that I’d been able to begin the process of emotionally grieving our loss. When I reached my due date in October, I was a mess but I took time to pray, ask questions, and truly cry.

Now, the fourth Thursday in November, a new wave of grief swelled unexpectedly high and knocked me over. I couldn’t hide my swollen eyelids with makeup (I’m allergic anyway) and I’ve never been good at pretending everything’s OK when it’s not.

My husband carried sweet potato casserole to the car and we drove a mere 10 minutes to gather with siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins. He kept a protective eye on me as we greeted everyone, but when it was time to give thanks at the table it was all I could do to keep from unraveling.

When it was my turn to share I said, “I’m thankful for my husband.”

He prayed with me the afternoon the pregnancy test was positive and he rejoiced with me over one of the biggest surprises of our marriage. He saw the ultrasound that revealed the unbearable truth. He held my hand when I lay unmoving on that hospital bed. He walked me to the restroom to make sure I didn’t fall over the day after my miscarriage, and he drove me home from the hospital.

He listened, consoled, and carried my broken heart those following months. He told me it wasn’t my fault when that persuasive lie kept invading my thoughts. And he patiently waited for my body and heart to heal.

As hard as it was to speak words of thanks and as hard as it was to see past my grief, God helped me to see mercy in the midst of my pain in the form of my husband sitting next to me at that table. At the necessary moment, there was a way to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Real life is hard and holidays can be hardest. Grief and tears and weeping and mourning don’t respect a calendar. They pay no attention to our schedule or plans. They love to keep us in suspense and surprise us.

The people around our table change, too—some leave us through death or broken marriages, and some are added.

Life happens—basements flood, we’re unemployed, or a loved one’s diagnosed with cancer. In those times, what can we be thankful for?

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1).

We give thanks because God is good and promises to work all things for the good of those who love him. We give thanks because our pain—though intense and overwhelming—will one day fade but God’s steadfast love “endures forever”. And we ask God to open our eyes to see how he’s being good and loving to us in the midst of our sadness.

We’re sorrowful yet always rejoicing.

We trust through our trials.

Whether we’re happy or not . . . we give thanks.

You may also like:

To the Husband Whose Wife Just Had a Miscarriage

8 Ways to Serve a Mother Walking Through Miscarriage

If God is Truly Good, He is Still Good When Life is Not

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Katie Faris

Katie Faris is married to Scott, and her greatest works in progress are their five children ages 2 to 13. She is the author of Loving My Children: Embracing Biblical Motherhood. You can read more of Katie’s words on her blog.

God Had Different Plans

In: Faith, Motherhood
Silhouette of family swinging child between two parents

As I sip my twice-reheated coffee holding one baby and watching another run laps around the messy living room, I catch bits and pieces of the Good Morning America news broadcast. My mind drifts off for a second to the dreams I once had of being the one on the screen. Live from New York City with hair and makeup fixed before 6 a.m. I really believed that would be me. I just knew I’d be the one telling the mama with unwashed hair and tired eyes about the world events that happened overnight while she rocked babies and pumped milk....

Keep Reading

This Will Not Last Forever

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman looking at sunset

“This will not last forever,” I wrote those words on the unfinished walls above my daughter’s changing table. For some reason, it got very tiring to change her diapers. Nearly three years later, the words are still there though the changing table no longer is under them. While my house is still unfinished so I occasionally see those words, that stage of changing diapers for her has moved on. She did grow up, and I got a break. Now I do it for her baby brother. I have been reminding myself of the seasons of life again. Everything comes and...

Keep Reading

God Calls Me Flawless

In: Faith, Living
Note hanging on door, color photo

When I look in the mirror, I don’t always like what I see. I tend to focus on every imperfection, every flaw. As I age, more wrinkles naturally appear. And I’ve never been high maintenance, so the gray hairs are becoming more frequent, too. Growing up a lot of negative words were spoken about me: my body, my weight, my hair, my build. Words I’ve somehow carried my whole life. The people who proclaimed them as my truth don’t even remember what they said, I’m sure. But that’s the power of negative words. Sticks and stones may break our bones,...

Keep Reading

Your Husband Needs Friendship Too

In: Faith, Friendship, Marriage
3 men smiling outside

As the clock inches closer to 7:00 on a Monday evening, I pull out whatever dessert I had prepared that week and set it out on the kitchen counter. This particular week it’s a trifle, but other weeks it may be brownies, pound cake, or cookies of some kind. My eyes do one last sweep to make sure there isn’t a tripping hazard disguised as a dog toy on the floor and that the leftover dinner is put away. Then, my kids and I make ourselves scarce. Sometimes that involves library runs or gym visits, but it mostly looks like...

Keep Reading

This Is Why Moms Ask for Experience Gifts

In: Faith, Living, Motherhood
Mother and young daughter under Christmas lights wearing red sweaters

When a mama asks for experience gifts for her kids for Christmas, please don’t take it as she’s ungrateful or a Scrooge. She appreciates the love her children get, she really does. But she’s tired. She’s tired of the endless number of toys that sit in the bottom of a toy bin and never see the light of day. She’s tired of tripping over the hundreds of LEGOs and reminding her son to pick them up so the baby doesn’t find them and choke. She’s tired of having four Elsa dolls (we have baby Elsa, Barbie Elsa, a mini Elsa,...

Keep Reading

When You Just Don’t Feel Like Christmas

In: Faith, Living
Woman sad looking out a winter window

It’s hard to admit, but some years I have to force myself to decorate for Christmas. Some years the lights look a little dimmer. The garlands feel a bit heavier. And the circumstances of life just aren’t wrapped in a big red bow like I so wish they were. Then comparison creeps in like a fake Facebook friend and I just feel like hiding under the covers and skipping it all. Because I know there’s no way to measure up to the perfect life “out there.” And it all just feels heavier than it used to. Though I feel alone,...

Keep Reading

When Your Kids Ask, “Where Is God?”

In: Faith, Kids
Child looking at sunset

How do I know if the voice I’m hearing is God’s voice? When I was in high school, I found myself asking this question. My dad was a pastor, and I was feeling called to ministry. I didn’t know if I was just hearing my dad’s wish or the call of God. I was worried I was confusing the two. It turns out, I did know. I knew because I was raised to recognize the presence of God all around me. Once I knew what God’s presence felt like, I also knew what God’s voice sounded like. There is a...

Keep Reading

To the Woman Longing to Become a Mother

In: Faith, Grief, Motherhood
Woman looking at pregnancy test with hand on her head and sad expression

To the woman who is struggling with infertility. To the woman who is staring at another pregnancy test with your flashlight or holding it up in the light, praying so hard that there will be even the faintest line. To the woman whose period showed up right on time. To the woman who is just ready to quit. I don’t know the details of your story. I don’t know what doctors have told you. I don’t know how long you have been trying. I don’t know how many tears you have shed. I don’t know if you have lost a...

Keep Reading

I Was There to Walk My Mother to Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Hand holding older woman's hand

I prayed to see my momma die. Please don’t click away yet or judge me harshly after five seconds. I prayed to see, to experience, to be in the room, to be a part of every last millisecond of my momma’s final days, final hours, and final moments here on Earth. You see, as a wife of a military man, I have always lived away from my family. I have missed many birthdays, celebrations, dinners, and important things. But my heart couldn’t miss this important moment. I live 12 hours away from the room in the house where my momma...

Keep Reading

God Sent Me to You

In: Faith, Motherhood
Newborn gazing at mother with father smiling down

I was a little unsure As I left God’s warm embrace: What will it be like? What challenges will I face? There were so many questions Running through my mind. I asked around for the answers I was hoping to find. Who will hold me And cuddle me tight? Who will rock me To sleep at night? RELATED: The Newborn Nights Feel As Endless As My Love For You Who will comfort me When I’ve had a rough day? Who will be there To take my worries away? Who will nourish me And make sure I grow? Who will read...

Keep Reading