The Healing Power of Gratitude

Kim Funkhouser B&WAs I ran some errands this morning I realized, it’s that time of year again. The surplus Halloween candy is sporting reduced prices while Christmas lights are hanging in displays. I have heard some say, “Where is Thanksgiving?” Indeed, where is Thanksgiving in this world of greed? I have often felt myself slipping down the slope of ingratitude. I hear messages from many sources, “You owe me something” or “I deserve this!” This disease of ingratitude appears to be contagious. Is there a cure? Oh, Yes! Yes, there is!! It is called: GIVE THANKS!!

Today, I give thanks for the glory of God and for His word that admonishes us to give thanks in all things (John 5:18). I have to be honest here and just say that I haven’t always understood this concept, but I’m finding it to be the key of unlocking a world I have yet to fully explore.

I have picked up a book written by Corrie ten Boom. In her book, The Hiding Place, she described a scene from their lives during the Holocaust at Ravensbruck, a women’s concentration camp in Germany during WWII. They had just been moved from a temporary tent barrack to a block barrack number 28. Corrie, in the midst of horrid smells, sights, and fleas, wailed, “Betsie, how can we live in such a place!” Betsie replied, “We can, He has already given us the answer!” and together they recited the verses they had read earlier that day. I Thessalonians 5:14-18 admonishes us to “…encourage the disheartened, help the weak…rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” They offered up thanksgiving, even for the fleas.*

Nothing inspires me more than people who are able to put their trust in God for the unknown and express gratitude in the midst of personal trials, physical sufferings and heartaches.

Truly, we may never know what the future holds. Tomorrow may hold a stress- induced heart attack which happened to me on June 7, 2011. Celebrating my 44th birthday just four days prior to this event, I did not have a heart attack on my “to do” list for the coming year. But it came and it changed my life. I’m thankful to be here to say, “I am a survivor.” I’m not only a survivor in the physical sense, but like Corrie ten Boom, I am a survivor on the emotional and spiritual journey on which this event has placed me. Establishing a heart of gratitude in all things has brought a depth to my relationships and life that otherwise had a tendency to be cluttered with wants, needs and unrealistic expectations.

Today, I can walk by those aisles of discounted candy and enjoy the beauty of the lights that brings the promise of the celebration of the true “Light” of Christmas. My heart also revels in the hope and the healing Thanksgiving brings. The Thanksgiving season is not one to be forgotten or overlooked. It is to be celebrated everyday! Let us give thanks and be well.

* Weeks later the ten Boom sisters would learn that these fleas were actually a source of protection from the prison guards. They often wondered why they had so much freedom to do as they pleased in their barrack and the answer was that the guards would not set foot in a barrack infested with fleas!

Kimberly Funkhouser is a wife, mother, homeschooler, and heart-attack survivor.

©Copyright 2014 Kimberly Funkhouser

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