When I Forget to Be Grateful

When I Forget to Be Grateful

March 4, 2016

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)

My arm was in a sling due to a broken collarbone, and pain spiraled if I moved it even a fraction of an inch. I couldn’t do a lot of things — one of them was fix my own hair — so I had to call Mr. Richard for help.

That’s what my husband called himself over the next few weeks, as he stood behind me trying his best. He joked while he blow‑dried, brushed and straight‑ironed my hair. He only burned my ear once, but that jerky movement you make when 400 degrees hits the tip of your ear is not fun with a broken collarbone.

I learned that my hair was versatile. One day it could be flippy and kind of cute. Another day I had super flat hair. Not as cute.

My hair stylist was funny and handsome. We laughed a lot, but sometimes I was grouchy. Really grouchy.

“Babe, it’s sticking up like a rooster tail in back.”

“My scalp is smoking. Can you turn the heat down?”

These were reasonable requests, but when I dipped into “that” tone I was really saying: I want to do things by myself. I’m tired of hurting when I move.

What my husband might have heard is: You’re not appreciated. You can’t do it right.

Though I should have been grateful, my frustration and pain opened the door to momentary ingratitude — and I walked through it.

In Lamentations 3, Jeremiah (the author according to most theologians) shares a long list of complaints. Suddenly, in the midst of his diatribe, his words take a drastic turn.

God’s love never ceases.

His mercies are without end; they start new every morning.

God is faithful.

We don’t know what caused Jeremiah to take a U‑turn, but there are times when I sense God asking me to stop and consider where ingratitude is taking me.

Ingratitude has the power to lead us down a road we aren’t intended to travel. It affects our closest relationships as others try to figure out how to change so we can be happy. Ingratitude blinds us to the good around us, while we are hyper‑focused on what we wish were different. It bleeds into our attitudes, which impacts anyone who accidentally gets in the way. Ingratitude tries to overshadow the way we see our lives, even the really good parts.

Stopping to consider what we are thankful for is a course corrector.

We aren’t asked to pretend that there aren’t challenges, but to tackle them as we address the real need (which is a beautiful, strong response). The situation may be the same, but we are free to put our toes on a new path and spiritually and emotionally take a step in a different direction.

When I look back at the six weeks that I slept in a recliner, typed with one hand and wore several different hairstyles created by Mr. Richard, I also see a sweet guy standing behind me with an earnest look on his face, saying, “What will Mr. Richard create today?”

I can’t help but be grateful for that, or will I?

Heavenly Father, I’ve been so focused on my temporary situation that I forgot to say thank You. Thank You for the people who show up. Thank You for laughter. Thank You that You are a safe place where I can share my feelings and needs. Thank You that Your mercies show up new every single day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 36:5, “Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.” (NIV)

Psalm 106:1, “Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (ESV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Amy Carroll shows us how to find the “good” in imperfect seasons in her book: Breaking Up With Perfect: Kiss Perfect Goodbye and Embrace the Joy God Has for You.

Join Suzie Eller on her blog for a giveaway of her new book to be released in May, “Come With Me: The Beauty of Following Where He Leads.”

The same power that raised Jesus from the grave lives in you, your family, and your home. Let some of our new products serve as reminders for you and your loved ones this Easter.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Intentional gratitude means stopping whatever you are saying or doing to take inventory.

Think of three people for whom you are thankful. Tell that person. Whisper thanks to God.  Let gratitude redirect your heart and day.

© 2016 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. Yesenia Alferez says:

    That

  2. Yesenia Alferez says:

    That whole “Mr.RICHARD” nickname made me smile😆Thanks for your post,will focus on all the blessings instead of the negatives. God uses all things for our good.

  3. Laurie Eder says:

    Thank you for this message. It made me smile, pause and think.

  4. I started a long winded note about my broken ankle situation… and then, deleted all of it. It really doesn’t matter if you know my story here in Oz. … what’s important is that the words that spoke to me the most in your post were these: “Heavenly Father, I’ve been so focused on my temporary situation that I forgot to say thank You. Thank You for the people who show up. Thank You for laughter. Thank You that You are a safe place where I can share my feelings and needs. Thank You that Your mercies show up new every single day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.” Keep on writing Suzie. Your words have traveled all the way round the world and today when I needed this message most, it arrived! Bless…

  5. Thank you for this, I had been needing to hear this.

    Was not Lamentations 3 by Jeremiah and not Solomon, though? :-)

  6. Isn’t Lamentations written by Jeremiah?

  7. TGIF
    How commonplace the phrase has become?
    Wouldn’t it be great if when it was used, people would actually break into a real praise and worship service?
    Just imagining a grateful world…..

  8. Denise Fraley says:

    My husband suffers from severe rheumatoid arthritis and there are times he snaps or answers in an unkind way. I have a tendency to respond in kind. I needed to read this in the worst way. Thank you

  9. Good reminder. Thanks!

  10. This was a great reminder and a new perspective to think about. So often we focus on our pain and what we are going through and we don’t realize how are actions make others feel. Thanks for this.

  11. Don’t most scholars attribute Lamentations to Jeremiah?

  12. I read these devotionals every morning, but there is usually a sweet toddler interrupting my thoughts every few minutes. This morning, I felt God ask me to get up before the rest of the house. This was exactly what I needed to read. I’ve been in severe pain for months from a hard pregnancy, with plenty of weeks left. I’ve been so focused on letting God know, that despite my moments of despair, I am so thankful for this baby. I realize now I have often forgotten to show my gratefulness to my husband for his extra help. Always defending my snappy tone with “I don’t mean it, I’m just hurting.” Thank you for showing me a new light when I needed it most.

  13. How easy it is to fall into a “woe is me” mentality, especially when in pain or needing time to heal (from a fractured elbow and displaced tailbone for me . . . roller skating with my kids). But God slows us down to teach us and turns sorrow to joy as we hold His hand and see how He provides. And He does! His mercies are new every morning and for this I give Him thanks and praise.

  14. Amber Harter says:

    Jeremiah wrote Lamentations. Solomon wrote Ecclesiasties. While both are kind of depressed writing, they are not the same.

  15. How awesome is our God !!!! He loves, cares for and blesses us even when we forget to thank Him. His power and victory are ours. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

    Being in the moment, learning as we experience life is how we grow to know Him.

    Praise to our Heavenly Father from whom all blessings flow!!!!!!!

  16. This really hit home… It seems as if I get the grouchiest when I can’t do things myself and my poor husband has no clue what it will take to help me through those times. And it IS then, when I realize how very blessed I am to have his unconditional 💘.

  17. Lamentations was written by Jeremiah, or at least credited to someone seeing the fall of Jerusalem– def. not Solomon.

  18. I just self-published my 8th book:Thanksliving:Attitude of Gratitude. It is a 30 day devotional, journal, and album. Hopefully we can create the “habit” of intentional gratitude and make a difference in each others’ lives. Thanks for today’s theme!

  19. Thank you, Amy, your message today touched me at the perfect time. I find I must remind myself to be grateful in times of adversity when my flesh gets weak. When I stop to count the many blessings that surround me, it always brings me back to where I should be ~ grateful. God is merciful and faithful always!

  20. Mariakuisa Bernal says:

    I thank God for his love and mercy , also for this program that has bean a blessed to my Life. Thanks
    may the Lor continue Bkessing You !

  21. kathy wyg says:

    good morning…Suzie…this one jumps up off the page for me as learning humility & being grateful…but it also made me laugh…a few of your quotes…” the rooster tail in the back….the smoking scalp….& ..what will Mr. Richard create today…”….this helped make my day….& this shows you what a true & happy marriage consist of finding the happy moments in stuff like this…give & take…& compromise…thank you Suzie….

    have a blessed day………….guys………..kathy wyg

  22. Denise Zambrano says:

    Thank you for this reminder of being grateful. This is my word for the year 2016. It is so important, yet we always forget. To God be all the glory! Lamentations was probably written by Jeremiah.

  23. Thank you so much for the many lessons in this devotion. I saw a “happy marriage” by the way “Mr. Richard” stepped in to lovingly help his wife with humor and patience…I loved that. Way to go Mr Richard!! And how a sense of humor goes along way in trying situation! And…that in all things to be grateful and thankful that the Lord’s mercies are new every morning! Thank you. And get well soon!

  24. Kathy Cox says:

    Suzy I had a stroke a year ago and I so identified with your devotional today!! I have short “spiky” hair so it wasn’t my hair but my makeup and contacts Chuck had to do for me every day as well as get me dressed! Contacts were the hardest to put in, on the 10th try, me blinking, we were both frustrated! I need to again be grateful and thankful for my man who so patiently cared for my every need down to the mascara perfectly applied! God blessed our marriage of 47 years. I look back over the last year and thank God for yes, the stroke and His love that was new every morning demonstrated through the love and kindness of my husband.
    Blessings, Kathy

  25. I have to say I know where you are coming from. 20 years ago a drunk driver hit me and I was pinned in the car with a broken collar bone, a broken shoulder blade and 6 cracked ribs….. I was so focused on the here and now that I didn’t take the time to thank God for sparing my life. I had a year of extensive therapy and never once did I thank God for that time….. I do now. that time in my life taught me a lot and I let God use that learning lesson to help others……

  26. This post really struck home to me. Two weeks ago, I had a client who literally was never happy – about anything – over a two week period. I can’t remember ever meeting someone who complained so much – glass definitely half empty.

    It really drove me to focus on NOT being like that – on trying to be grateful – glass half full.

    Your post was another reminder from God – so Thank You!

  27. Hi Suzy,
    Thanks for your honesty and humor in your devotions. I enjoy your writing and would love a copy of your new book. Thanks for the chance.

  28. This was well-timed for me. It’s a question I keep asking myself. “Do I appear ungrateful?” And according to what you’ve brought up, I’m saddened to realize I do. I guess I’ve been trying hard to find a way to be grateful even though things are not the way I’d like them. I think the problem is as soon as I focus on what I want, gratitude is not seen at all. I’m asking God to incorporate this into my core. Thank you so much.

  29. Caroline says:

    Oh… to be thankful! God is good – all the time! To praise Him through it all has been a true blessing to me. Every morning I thank Him in my journal. My life has changed with this focus.

  30. Thank you for this devotional this morning! Due to a fractured femur 4 months ago and still in recliner, woke up feeling discouraged! Thankful I was able to do my own hair! 😅 Am going to remind my husband how thankful I am for all he has done for me! God is good! Great is His faithfulness!

  31. Yvonne mcfarlin says:

    Everyday this is a challenge for me I pray for a husband whose heart is hard and moves toward divorce. A lost job in January yet i have seen God’s love for me and how I cling desperately to him not knowing what my future is. Lord help me to remember to be grateful for what i do have YOU.

    • Yvonne ~ My heart goes out to you. Hearing your words made my thought go directly to The Love Dare. Praying for you, your husband and your marriage. God knows and He loves you both dearly.

  32. Yes, this is what God is teaching me more of, and guess what? This week! And your verse that you used from Lamentations . . . read the chapter beginning at verse 1. Look what Jeremiah ended up saying saying after all what you read through verse 20 . . . This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. And then what you shared . . . . yes I am learning to be more grateful, even if I did lose my cell phone, therefore I have hope. We serve a gracious and living God. Praising Him today in the midst of anything and everything. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  33. Beautifully written and this article is definitely a keeper for me especially when I fall into the frustration of not being grateful when things don’t go as expected. My husband and I made some financial decisions that are still affecting us…. Yet, I grateful to my husband because he continues to work and do whatever he can do to provide for his family.

  34. How wonderful to read this. God has blessed me with so many mr Richards!! This is a powerful reminder to be thankful every day

  35. This beautiful parable, Suzie, reflects the wisdom in James 3:9-10.
    With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

  36. Kathy Rust says:

    I am very grateful that Jesus is my Lord and Savior. I am also grateful for my husband Marv, he is patient with me when I’m trying to understand something new or if I’m trying to understand something that I have trouble with, like math,(ugh.)

  37. Dene Hart says:

    I so enjoyed the devotion today. I believe one of the things that must sadden the heart of the Father is the ingratitude of his children. All things that come into our lives are not all “happy” things, many are hard, but Jesus is still walking by our side in those times also. I lost my right leg some 8 years ago, and that loss brought me closer to the Father than I ever was before. I am 87 now and I try to be thankful for all things in my life. There are times when I fall in my face and grumble because things didn’t go as I wanted, and then I have to repent and say “sorry Lord” forgive my ungrateful heart. Many things I can’t do for myself and I have a Mr. Richard in my life, my son-in-law, who is so patient to do them for me. I hope I always remember to be thankful to him for all he means to me. May the Lord richly bless you and your Mr Richard.

  38. Beth Prestridge says:

    Didn’t jeremiah write lamentations not Solomon?

  39. Terri Lyons says:

    Love this.

  40. Margaret says:

    in this particular proverb 31 you say Solomon – wasn’t it Jeremiah who is speaking?

  41. Thank you, this is just what I needed to read this morning.

  42. We lost our family dog 5 months ago today. I know that doesn’t compare with what many are going to but it has been a painful, difficult, five months. Today I choose gratefulness for so ,any reasons. Even as tears roll down my face in memory of my sweet girl.

  43. Jackie Rocek says:

    I could really relate to this devotional. I broke my right arm last summer and found myself in the same situation. I wish I could have read this then. Thankfully, my arm has healed and my life has returned to a more normal state. God is good and his mercies are new EVERY morning

  44. Thank you for your devotional message! I love the verse in Lamentations that you quoted! Yes, Gid give us a new day and new mercies with it! But isn’t Jeremiah saying this! I think Jeremiah wrote the book of Lamentations.
    Thank you Proverbs 31 for you daily devotions!!
    Judy

  45. judy ruggiero says:

    Hello, and thank you for this. I know God loves me, but do i let Him know that i know He loves me enough? That was a mouthful, lol but its true thank you for reminding me that when i am grateful to others, it shows gratitude to God. I will be more mindful of the need to show more gratitude to those around me and also to thank God for his mercies which are indeed new every morning! Have a Great, full, day everyone.

  46. This is such a great reminder of the importance of keeping a perspective that honors God in the midst of troubled times. They seem huge to us but are called “light and momentary afflictions” compared to the future glory awaiting us as God’s children. I am eternally grateful for Jesus and all the blessings God sends my way but I sure forget to hold onto my gratitude and live it out well especially in the midst of struggles. I have a Mr. Paul who has been walking with me and some days, pushing my wheelchair, during a year and a half of hard health. He has been my voice on the phone when my own is too weak to be heard. He is my chauffeur weekly for a 3 hour round trip for weekly lab work and my variety of drs.appointments. Too many things to list! He is not much on words and doesn’t like to be thanked for things he should do ( his words). Praying God will help me remember to show him gratitude in the best way for my Mr. Paul to receive it.

  47. This devotional couldn’t have been more timely for me this morning! God Is Good! Earlier this morning had complained not understanding why I’d been ‘slammed’ with multiple physical/medical issues very recently! Thank you for the reminder to be more grateful for all Gods blessings in my life, and that having a grateful attitude In approaching these ‘imperfect’ situations, is part of overcoming them!!

  48. Carrol Ellis says:

    Thank You for your words of remembering to be Thankful in any situation. I am down in the valley right now and know God is making a diamond out of me. I just want to honor Him and grow for him.

  49. Kathy Thompson says:

    That really stepped on my toes. I had extensive foot surgery February 19th. I am not to put any weight on my foot until April. My husband has been so kind, but I get grouchy at times. Laying around I see so much that needs done. I need to take a U turn and be thankful for what I have. My Husband has really been kind and good. I just get impatient. Thank you so much for the reminder to be grateful. I have so much to be thankful for.

  50. Sally Ann Price says:

    I know how this is. I was in the hospital 3 times after Thanksgiving. I had to go in for emergency hernia surgery. Had to stay in there for 6 to 7 days. Then I had to go back a week later for 3 days because I was having diahrea and was dehydrated and then after Christmas I had to go back in because of a blockage of my bowels and I was in there 6 to 7 days. I came home on New Years Day. I felt sorry for my husband Joe and my 2 sons.

  51. As I read this message, I remembered that God had me to meditate on Isaiah 53:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways.” (NIV). THANK God His ways are not our ways! THANK God He does not have thoughts of ungratefulness, unforgivingness, or impatience! And even more, THANK God He does hold these things against us! Thank you for this message, Suzie!

  52. cindy gb says:

    I wanted to feel sorry for myself today because of an emotional week at home. I’m a bit spent. While reading this post, I realized I need a gratitude adjustment. Thank you!

  53. Susan G says:

    Such truths! So hard for me to be in the mood to be grateful when I am in pain… I hope to remember these words…
    Blessings!

  54. I thank you so much for this today. I soooo needed to hear it. Gratitude is something I often forget. You know “counting” my blessings. I truly am so very grateful for so many things but I too often forget to voice it to God and to the people involved in my daily life.
    Again thank you.

  55. Oh, thank goodness His love ins’t dependent upon my attitude!

  56. Mary G Johnson says:

    Your story is exactly like mine. I had surgery for a seriously broken arm, and I became so depressed because of the pain and the uselessness I felt (I had broken the same shoulder 10 years before.). I didn’t think I would heal like I had the last time. My husband was a saint during this time. Not only did he try to fix my hair for me, he also helped me dress, go to the bathroom, shower and dry off, and all of the nitty gritty stuff. I, too, was grouchy and sometimes picky and mean to him. Thank God that my husband put up with me! Now I try to look at things differently when issues come up. It definitely made me realize that I didn’t have to look perfect or have everything my way, and my husband will receive a nice jewel in his crown for putting up with me! :)

  57. Joan Payne says:

    I went through a fractured collar bone, also. The pain was always there and then when therapy started…
    But that experience strengthen me and how I learned to appreciate my therapist. She was strick and had me working hard, but it paid off…to the extent that when I went to the therapy department, I complained that they weren’t working me hard enough. Imagine. I knew this was not a permanent injury,and I would recover, even driving again a month and a half later. I felt it was time and could handle it, as my husband wasn’t driving anymore. I was tried of depending on others. Yet in the midst of this unwanted injury, God was always there. HE was my strength. HE was my all. He was my healer.

  58. Pamela Pitts says:

    This reminds me of a season a went through and now am witnessing 2 others go through that I need to be a little more patient with. What they’re doing I did too, it’s called the blame game, I was blaming whoever was nearby when I was looking for an object, no matter what it was, until 1 day realized how horrible i sounded and stopped! So glad I’m past it and hoping they will get past it soon.
    Thank you for helping me realize this so I can be more gracious and not get so frustrated with them!

  59. I have been sick a lot since Dec. of 2015. I have made three-four trips to the ER. I just want to feel good again. I want to be “grateful ” to God for all He does for me daily. I know I have put my husband through more than he should have to go through. I just want to feel good again, gain weight and not be sick anymore. I know God knows my every need and I am trying to learn to be patient, not stress and get strong again. It is all about my lack of faith in God. I need to give it all to Him and let Him take care of it. Mary

  60. Kate Aiken says:

    It’s funny that this devotion came out when it did. I’m typing with one hand and trying to type with the other as I broke my wrist Feb 1. My husband tried to do my hair once (a simple low pony) but he gave up thinking he wasn’t doing a good job. I tried to tell him I was ok with it. He was way out of his comfort zone. So luckily my friend became Miss Amy my impromptu stylist. I have very fine med length blonde hair and she is a family of thick haired gingers, so we had a good laugh, but thankfully the job got done. I have been feeling like Suzie and very down and frustrated. I have been through 2 hip replacements (yes Im 46 now) due to the way I was born, the last one was done not even 2 years ago. I hate being slowed down, having to rethink how to do things as simple as brushing teeth, filling our daughter’s drink cup (not being able to unscrew the lid).My mom came to help me pre-make meals and I had to ask her to do up my coat so I could walk daughter to bus and amidst my humiliation and frustration it was very funny. Its been over 40 years since she did that last for me. I’m not sure why God has chosen for me to endure pain and having to slow down so I am taking this time to be with him and my family as I am not able to work. I’m able to do some things but it’s a slow process and I have to take many breaks so I can heal inside and out. Thank you God for this devotion and reminding me that you are always here and nothing else matters.

  61. Kimberly says:

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and Gods mercy and grace with us! I needed to hear His words spoken through you this morning. My attitude needs an adjustment. Thank you!

  62. Diane Kinzer says:

    This was just what I needed to read tonight. My guy is Mr. Phil. My sisters call him “Danny Tanner”, the father on Full House, back in the day. I have a messed up muscle in my shoulder as I type. Thursday night, Mr. Phil was outside at 1:30am, digging in the trash can he had earlier rolled to the street, for the control to my new device that I had been using for only a few hours. I misplaced it earlier in the evening and wanted to check my car to see if it was there but I was home alone and was in so much pain, I couldn’t go and look. So at 1:30am, I woke him in pain, so he checked by car. When he came back in, I said,”Maybe I accidentally threw it away.” Without a word, he went back out it the cold and dark night, to search. Inside I’m digging in my very deep purse and tearing up the kitchen but to no avail. We tried to ice and heat and finally we got back to bed. About 4am, I am so uncomfortable that I just get up and go to the other room. I paced the floor, iced/ heated my pain. At 6:15am, I spotted my purse on the counter again and decided to given it on complete dump. Then, I ran my hand in it and what do you know………there it was in the black, velour bag, wedged in the bottom of my bag!
    I can’t tell you the joy that came over me and gratefulness that once again, Mr. Phil was there for me. And yes,
    he does floors, dishes, and laundry! I’m blessed!!

  63. Jeannie says:

    God’s timing is perfect. I didn’t have a chance to read this email till today. Funny thing is on Friday morning (when the email came through) I slipped & fell & sprained my wrist. I’m in a splint/sling & a lot of pain. So, I’m reminded to thank my husband & kids for helping with cooking, chores, washing my hair etc. This morning while doing my devotions one of the first scriptures that came to mind was Lamentations 3:22-26, then I read your email! It’s the little things that remind us God cares for us & is with us every step of the way. I am so encouraged! Thank you!! Blessings!

  64. Deborah Vargas says:

    Hi. Lamentations was not written by Solomon. It more than likely was written by the prophet Jeremiah, although the book never states who wrote it. Thank though for your timely words. I needed to read them today.

  65. I believe Jeremiah is the author of Lamentations. Lamentations 3 is entitled The “Prophet’s” Anguish and Hope.

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