Struggling to Feel Thankful in This Circumstance

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances.” That’s what I read in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. I’ve taught this principle of thankfulness to others for many years. I know it’s how I am supposed to respond to daily life, including hard situations. Yet, I am struggling to feel thankful today (ironically, the day after Thanksgiving). While attending a women’s conference in Colorado Springs last weekend that was supposed to encourage me in my own ministry to women, my dear husband broke his ankle in two places. Yep. Ambulance ride, ER, crutches, pain, very little sleep at night. It’s been a very hard week. He’s having surgery on that ankle today with pins and screws and plates being inserted to hold him together. I know the next week will probably be even worse than the past 5 days—for both of us. I am really struggling to feel thankful in THIS circumstance.

I know all the biblical truths about bad things happening. We live in a fallen world due to Adam’s sin and things happen that are out of our control. Ron’s injury didn’t happen as a punishment for any particular sin. We do know a good God allowed it to happen. Yet, He wasn’t hitting the “smite” button to be mean. Now, we just have to adjust to a new normal for a few months. And, this is a shock to my system because the adjustment will not be just for him but for me as well.

As we drove back to our house on Monday, I realized that I would be the one to do leaf removal by myself for the next few weeks whereas before we did it together. I love trees and usually don’t mind the work involved this time of year. But, I know I will be the one doing the outside maintenance for several months not just a few days (including trash and recycle bins that he always took care of). Those chores we shared together will now be my responsibility. I’m sure there are other things I haven’t even thought about yet.

We are both pretty independent in taking care of personal needs. Now, he needs me to help him get dressed everyday not just once in awhile when he was sick. And, men don’t handle being sick or injured very well, do they? Neither one of us have had much sleep at night since the injury, and I know that for the next week we’ll have to set alarms to take medicine throughout the night on schedule. I get really self-centered when I am tired so that’s already surfacing. You know that crabby response you give when you have finally had a chance to sit down or take a nap and your help is needed again? I can handle a lot of busyness and work, but as to being really tired, I don’t handle that well. This is really going to challenge my “heart attitude.” Daily. Hourly. “Lord Jesus, I know I cannot do this on my own. But, you can do this in me. I will trust you to do that in me.” I am really struggling to feel thankful in THIS circumstance.

Have you felt this way at some time? How long did it take you to get adjusted to the situation? Six months from now, we’ll hopefully look back and see the blessings through it. I do feel grateful for family and friends who have offered help. I won’t hesitate to ask for it if needed! I do feel grateful for good medical insurance to pay the bills. I do feel grateful for excellent care at the time of the break in Colorado and for an orthopedist back home with an excellent reputation who was willing to do Ron’s surgery on the day after Thanksgiving. I do feel grateful for the medical team that showed up this morning in the pouring rain (DFW broke the record for wettest year during the night) to serve Ron’s needs. Ron’s is the only day surgery scheduled. I do feel grateful for steerable knee scooters, which are 1000 times better than crutches for getting him from place to place! And, I do feel grateful for the encouraging words from our neighbor who had broken her ankle several years ago, had the same kind of metal-inserting surgery done by the same highly-recommended physician, and has fully recovered. There is hope!

We both had other plans for this week and for December. Not going to happen now. So, I look realistically at what will be needed each day, trying to think through how to best make it happen for both of us.

I know beyond a doubt that God is good all the time (even in the tough times), is good in different ways to different people and is good in that He blocks more pain than He allows into our lives. I am grateful that my husband is still with me and didn’t sustain a life-threatening injury. I am grateful that Ron is otherwise in very good health. Yet, this interruption to life hurts. I like to be able to carry out plans I have made. Feeling a little lost in the turmoil. So, I am still struggling to feel thankful in THIS circumstance.

“Lord Jesus, I know I cannot manage this on my own. But, you can get me through this time in the right way. I will trust you to do that in me. And, please help me to be thankful.”

Melanie Newton is the founder of Joyful Walk Ministries, an online ministry that helps women learn to study the Bible for themselves and grow their Bible-teaching skills to lead others on a joyful walk with Jesus. Melanie has written many Bible study guides (available on Bible.org and her website) and presented insightful messages to large groups of women. All of her BIble Studies are available as books on Amazon.com. Melanie is wife to Ron Newton (“Integrity at Work” ministry), loves to be outside in her garden, and enjoys her yearly fix of boiled crawfish.

One Comment

  • frances kennison


    Hey, dahlin'!  I'm sorry for the breaks in Ron's ankle and the resulting pain for him, and for you.  You are both in my prayers for speedy healing, patience, and blessing for you and others as a result.  Love you both!

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