Thankful for What I Haven’t, by Nancy Lohr

If November were to have a theme verse, it just might be “In everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Four words, simple words, and one a simple command. Give thanks. Give thanks in everything. If it’s November, then you’ve probably thought about what you are thankful for. I know that I have. If your list is like mine, it includes people and health and goods and more. I am grateful for the Lord most of all, and I know that He is the source of all the good gifts I have. But I’d like to suggest that there is a bit more to “everything.”

Some years ago a friend prompted me to be thankful for what I don’t have, and I’m going to ask you to consider this too. Here is the beginning of my list this year. Maybe this will help get your thinking started.

I am thankful that

  • I haven’t had to worship in secret.
  • I haven’t been persecuted for my faith in God as some around this world have.
  • I haven’t sent my husband, my children, or my grandchildren into the heat of battle.
  • I haven’t buried any loved ones.
  • I haven’t battled cancer, addiction, or some other debilitating disease.
  • I haven’t struggled to pay for the roof over my head, the groceries on my table, or the clothes I wear.
  • I haven’t lacked for friends, for fellowship, for encouragement along the way.

These are a few of the things I am thankful haven’t come my way this year.

I am sure my list looks different from yours, and by the time another Thanksgiving season rolls around, this list will be old news and the statements may be new. What I pray does not change is my focus on giving thanks for everything. Everything.

It is one of my Lord’s mercies to know what to give to me and what to withhold.

If you’ve never taken time to give thanks for what you haven’t, I’d urge you to do so during this Thanksgiving season. This would be a great family project, especially with your older children.

Happy Thanksgiving! We love to hear from you and would love to have you share your favorite Thanksgiving traditions with us.

nancy-lohr-headshotNancy Lohr grew up in Indiana, but has lived many years in the beautiful foothills of the Smokey Mountains. She has enjoyed ministry opportunities outside her home ranging from teacher to librarian to editor, and within her home she enjoys life as a wife, mother, and grandmother. Books and words have paved her pathway since childhood, and she loves learning and sharing from God’s Word.

Vonda Skelton

Vonda is a speaker, writer, and motivational humorist who is thankful God can take her messes and use them for His glory. She's the author of four books, owner of The Christian Writer's Den blog, and founder of Christian Communicators, an organization to help educate, validate, and launch women in their speaking ministries. Vonda and her husband have been married all their lives--and they're still happy about it!

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  1. Thank you for sharing this powerful, thought-provoking insight, Nancy. We’re such a rights and stuff society that we often whine about what we don’t have, rather than being thankful for what we do have. Great reminder!

  2. You ladies encourage me. Wish you could have known my friend who planted this seed in my mind. A dear, dear woman.

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