Hey there OOBTers! Before we get started today, please know that this episode is coming to all of you from a place of deep heartbreak, loss, and grief mixed with a whole lot of thankfulness and gratitude.
“Both/And.” Hard and Good. Joy and Pain.
Truthfully, on this side of heaven, we seem to always live in the tension of having both joy AND pain in our lives in one form or another … all at the same time. Often found in varying degrees of more joy or more pain,
but both are present. Always. Right now.
Be sure to listen in for some questions to consider and some practical ways you can begin (even today) to develop a gratitude practice in your own lives - just in time for Thanksgiving and all the days to follow.
This doesn’t mean that we have to thank God for our hard circumstances, but we can certainly thank Him through them + be on the lookout for all of His blessings in the midst of it all… to fight for thankfulness to God
for being with each one of us in the hard and the good.
Emmanuel. God With Us. Amazing. Just AMAZING.
// Show Notes //
:: MY FACEBOOK POST HONORING MY DAD ::
This man. Stanley F. Kohn. Dad.
I have been struggling to find words for all the many long days since we lost him suddenly and unexpectedly on Thursday, November 10th at age 65 (He would have been 66 on December 19th).
Truthfully, I’ve been struggling to find adequate words for all the thoughts and memories swirling in my mind to honor a man and a life that I am so beyond grateful to have been blessed to be a part of.
Time definitely stood still when I received the call from my sister mid-morning on Thursday saying that my Dad passed away at work. They found him leaned over on his forklift at F&A Food Sales in Concordia. After being unable to revive him at the hospital, he was pronounced at 10:30AM and at that moment the bottom dropped out of our world. The doctor believes he suffered a massive heart attack and died painlessly and instantly.
My Dad. As a child of divorce with an absentee biological father, that word holds a whole range of emotions and value to me. Stanley chose me, my brother, Bruce, and my mom. Eventually we added my sister, Kimberly, and my brother, Jacob, to make our family complete.
He never once said the words “I love you” (although he did once say “I like you a lot too” when I told him I loved him the last time my whole family was down visiting us in Attica. I remember laughing out loud and saying, “Close enough Dad.”) Truthfully, he never had to say those three words though … he lived in such a way that you always just knew how much he loved you.
I was a first-grade little girl when Stanley started dating my mom. He was and is to this day the only true Dad in my life. The one who chose to be my Dad. The one who never once caused me to doubt how much I meant to him. The one who wore the titles of Husband, Dad and Grandpa as the most prized ones in the whole world. Loyal, loving, dependable, a steady constant in a world full of chaos, a strong protector. He was truly the best of all of us.
Thank you for leaving a legacy of a life well lived loving others.
I desperately miss you already Dad. ♥️
:: As M promised in today’s episode, below are the questions and gratitude
practices she read for your consideration in journaling, prayers,
or even around the Thanksgiving table with those you love. ::
A few questions to ask as we consider gratitude…
• What does gratitude mean for you?
• How do you practice gratitude?
• What are you grateful for in this season?
• What does it look like to practice your gratitude out loud?
• What are you thankful for this year?
• Who in your life are you thankful for?
• What is a memory that brings joy?
• How have you seen God answer your prayers this year?
• Where can you see God’s hand in your life?
• Consider what disappointment in your life this year or in your past that you are thankful for.
A few ways to develop some practices as we fight for thankful…
• Create a “thankful for” photo album on your phone.
• Go for a walk and look for physical things you are thankful for or focus your mind on things you’re grateful for.
• Create a gratitude jar. Put small pieces of paper and a pen next to it and each time you pass the jar and think if something to be grateful for, write it down and put it in the jar. When you’re feeling down or upset, go to the jar, grab a few notes and read them for encouragement.
• Journal or even write on post- it notes a list of things God has done in the past that you want to remember again.
• Consider writing God’s promises that you are clinging to in the thick of things or how you see God working in those around you.
• Take time to reflect on what God’s done in and through you already.
• Set a timer for 5 minutes and challenge yourself to make a list in a journal or on your phone.
• Read A Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and then begin the process of writing 1000 things you are thankful for. Pretty sure this one will be a long-term project for sure am I right?! 1000. WOW.
• Look back at your calendar from the year for moments you are thankful for.
• Write out or say prayers of thanksgiving to God for the blessings you recognize He has given you.
• Research and memorize scriptures about thanksgiving and gratitude. In even the most difficult and trying circumstances, we see God’s people give thanks. For example, in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Paul writes, “give thanks in everything: for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Paul wrote these words in chains, in prison as he was rejoicing in the ways God was using him. Pretty impressive mindset to consider am I right?!
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MFahring’s Website // https://mfahring.com/
MFahring’s Bible Study Resources // https://mfahring.com/bible-study-resources
MFahring’s Show Notes // https://mfahring.com/show-notes/
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OOBT // Advent :: Christ Our Savior is Born // 12.22.2021
Go & Tell Gals // Episode 159: How do I practice gratitude?
Ann Voskamp // One Thousand Gifts
Ruth Chou Simons // Emmanuel Advent Devotional