During this season of gratitude, how do you give thanks when your life hurts and feels broken?
That’s a tough one.
As I look out my window, the season’s first snowfall quietly descends. The traffic noise from earlier somehow fades away with the drifting flakes. Gray skies replace the sunshine. I feel cold. But I’m grateful for the moisture it represents.
We can’t wait for everything to be perfect before we express gratitude.
That will never happen. Perfection’s a pipe dream, an illusion. It’s also a way to avoid what feels tough. I can’t do it perfectly right now, why should I try? Sound familiar?
One thing I discovered when life was at its darkest was praise and thanksgiving pushed back the shadows. Speaking or writing words of thanksgiving elevated my emotions. They cleared the brain fog that consumed me.
The Apostle Paul wrote that we are to give thanks for everything. Good words, but how do you do that when life hurts?
How to express thankfulness when life hurts:
Find a solitary place to process.
Depending on your situation, this could take some planning. Don’t shy away from that. If you have small children, arrange with a friend to watch the kids for a few hours. If your children are older, find a place you can go during school hours. If you’re an empty nester, perhaps book a hotel room for a day and night or a weekend.
Many couples facing a crisis wait at least six years to get help. Don’t be part of that statistic like I was. You need to process today not next week, month, or year.
Bring your journal with you. In that solitary place, follow Jesus’ example and pour out your heart to God. Jesus, facing crucifixion, met with His Father and poured out His pain. God knows your soul is crushed. Tell Him about it. He’ll listen and meet you there.
Read the Psalms.
In the book of Psalms alone, there are 186 verses that talk about praise. It’s a major theme in this book of the Bible. Psalm 18, written by King David, praises God for His protection in the face of an enemy attack.
For the longest time during our recovery from porn addiction and suicidal depression, nothing in the Bible made sense except the Psalms. I’d read the imprecatory Psalms, like Psalm 69, which call on God to destroy my enemies and marvel that eventually the Psalmist praises God even before he can see the answer to his prayer. Written in a raw, unvarnished style, I related to these psalms because of the anger and pain they expressed.
Write your own psalm to God.
He already knows your pain and anger, why hold it in? Journaling your thoughts and prayers to God allows you to process them in a healthy manner. No one reads your journal but you. Rage, cry, scream, whatever you need to do. Just get the craziness zipping through your mind onto paper. If you get all done and fear someone reading the pages, tear them out and burn or shred them.
However, I encourage you to keep them. It may help you to go back and read these heartfelt sentiments in the future. You’ll see how God met your broken heart in this place and brought healing.
Keep doing this process until you, as the psalmists in the Bible, reach a place where you can praise God for who He is, not necessarily for your current circumstances.
Seek professional help.
Reach out to a coach or counselor who specialized in porn addiction or sex addiction recovery. You need an unbiased third party to help you navigate through this discovery and devastation.
The aftershocks often continue for a while after the initial discovery. That’s normal and to be expected. An unbiased third party listens to you, confirms that what you feel right now is normal, processes the shock and pain with you, and develops a recovery plan for you. If your husband earnestly desires help as well, that’s great. But whether he does or not, you need assistance. Don’t put it off. The best first step I took was to get help right away.
Ask someone you can trust to pray for you.
Resist the urge to spill your guts with every detail. It’s enough to admit you and your husband need prayer for some marriage issues.
Do you have a heart-sister you can call? Someone you know has your back, who won’t baby you, but will walk every step of the healing process with you. Call her and tell her you need a prayer warrior right now. If she’s truly a heart-sister, she won’t need many details. If she insists on getting the nitty-gritty, back away. You don’t need that. You need an intercessor before God.
Ask this prayer warrior to pray for peace, clarity, faith that God will bring His perfect resolution to this crisis, and courage to confront the issue with honesty. Then believe that God will answer this prayer. He does and will.
Write out everything for which you are thankful.
It doesn’t matter how big or insignificant you think it is. Write down everything that comes to mind. Don’t edit.
Growing up we often sang a song called, “Count Your Blessings.” During my healing process, the lyrics often played through my heart and mind.
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Here are some things I jotted down. Maybe they will jumpstart your thought process.
Now it’s your turn.
Before the end of Thanksgiving Day (Thursday) in the US, take a few minutes to write out your blessings list. This exercise elevates your mind, heart, and spirit. And a more positive outlook also energizes you. Would you share your list with me? I’d love to celebrate with you. Simply click this link. Thanks.
Not sure you can get beyond your pain at discovering your husband’s porn addiction?
Reach out. I understand your broken heart and wounded soul. We’ll unpack your pain and discover a new future that doesn’t include porn. It’s possible. I live it every day.