With the holiday season upon us, so many are facing difficulties of various kinds. It’s not quite Hallmark in everyone’s life. But I believe there are still things we can look up about. I shared this in a writer’s group I’m a part of and thought I’d share it here too. I was inspired by a beautiful sermon I heard at church this week, by a conversation I had with a sweet writer, and of course my own life.

I hope you are encouraged.

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Delays, setbacks, tragedies, failures, disappointments, and other life challenges arise during the writing process. We are not sequestered to a safe zone while writing with someone else taking care of everything while we’re away. Wouldn’t that be dreamy...?

I digress.

In this season, we are approached with a fantastic opportunity to look at all of life through a lens of thankfulness—the tough times too. In what way can we be grateful for the challenges and setbacks? In what way can we thank God for where we are right now even if it doesn’t look how we expected it to look?

We can start with what we know.

1. God is with us.

Psalm 23 has dug me out of some low places, and in verse 4 it says that even when we are walking through the valley of the shadow of death, God is with us. He brings comfort and guidance. Have you ever broken down the words valley of the shadow of death? They describe the worse, most frightening, darkest place ever! Well, if you’ve ever been there, or anywhere in between, God was/is there too. That means a lot to me. We get a similar message from Hebrews 13:5: God will never leave us or foresake us. Knowing the character of God, that is an incredible promise for which we can shout, “Thank You, GOD! Thank You for being with me.”

2. In all things, God works.

“And we KNOW that in ALL things God WORKS...” (Rom. 8:28). I’ll stop there and let that preach for a second. God is working in all things concerning you, your life, and your writing. He is straightening paths, He is defending your honor, He is getting the right people in place, He is opening doors, He is bringing your name up in the minds of great people of influence, and more. He is working. This is all while it seems things just couldn’t be going worse for some of us. IN ALL THINGS, GOD WORKS. Ask me how I know.

Delays, setbacks, and such are sometimes orchestrated to get you to the right place at the right time. Not too fast and not to slow, not 10 degrees to the left, but right there, on the spot, and on time. Don’t you love Him for that?

In these momentary afflictions that are common to us all, count it all joy and give thanks. You are one who loves God. You qualify for His working things out in your favor.

Isn’t that just so very good!

Pray with Me

Today, God, I pray and give You thanks in everything. It is Your will for us to trust that You are working behind the scenes in ways we cannot yet fathom. We thank You for what is working in our hearts and characters that is preparing us for Your next level of favor. We are getting excited even in the not-so-good times because we know that IN ALL THINGS GOD WORKS. Hallelujah!

The devil will not steal our joy. He will not steal our praise. And he will not steal our fight to write with joy another day. We have a joy that is set before us that these challenges will not sabotage. We will stay focused in Your presence. We will keep our hands on the pen. If it’s finances, writing for now doesn’t cost a whole lot, so we write until You release what we need when we need it. We will write until the appointed time comes to activate the strategies You’ve spoken to us in the secret place about how to release our words to the world.

We thank You, Father, that even in this You are adding to the power of our testimony. We thank You for what we are learning about You and Your ways and even about ourselves because it is adding more words to that book You told us to write.

We will not back down. We will not give up. We will press forward, giving thanks to You in all things. We love You, God. We honor Your name and Your majesty. There is none like You in all the earth. And to You, we give thanks for working it all out. In Jesus’s name, amen.