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How to Be Thankful in the Middle of Your Pain

Do you ever struggle to be thankful in the middle of your pain?

Satan really loves to grab a hold of our lives in times where we are trying to be thankful.

For so many years, Thanksgiving seemed to become one of the worst weekends of my year. Everything would collide or come apart on the day I was trying so hard to be grateful. I would end up exhausted, hopeless and longing.

Friends, this is no mistake.

Have you ever been burdened, longing or sad during a Thanksgiving season?

What about right now, in this moment? What is weighing heavy on your heart?

If you have ever struggled to be thankful in a difficult time, you need to hear this.

How to Be Thankful in Pain

You aren’t meant to sweep your sadness, your burden or your anger under the rug.

God is not calling us to ignore our pains.

That is exactly what Satan wants.

Satan wants you to think you have to tuck your heavy heart neatly away in order to be thankful.

Because when you bury your pain, you end up putting it right into Satan’s hands.

I’ve seen this happen in my life for so long.

I thought by acknowledging my pain I was complaining, being ungrateful or focusing on the negative.

So I buried it. I locked it away.

The painful parts of our lives that get locked away end up growing beneath the surface until we cannot live and love in healthy ways.

I’ve seen this in my own life and in the lives of those I love.

We cannot allow this to continue.

We need to create the space to acknowledge and to work through our pains.

It is only then that we can surrender these hurts or hardships to God and learn to be thankful in the midst of them.

I know that today many of you are burdened by hurts. I want to say that you are not alone.

Let’s walk through these steps together and learn how to cultivate thankfulness even in the middle of our pain.

Allow the Space to Acknowledge

I learned a powerful lesson a few weeks ago. I had really been struggling with some heavy stuff and in the middle of my busy life, I felt myself falling downwards, fast. Everywhere I went, I put on a smile, a front and it’s okay. And because of this, I felt alone. I felt Satan’s grasp on my hurts tightening.

And then, my three best friends came for the weekend. My walls melted and my struggles were invited to the surface.

When I found the space to acknowledge my hurts and to share my struggles, I found immense freedom and healing.

It was in that space that light was brought into the darkness.

As friends, as family, as a church body, we need to create the space for others to acknowledge their struggles. And as those who are struggling, we need to take the leap of sharing our hurts with those we trust.

But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. Ephesians 5:13

When you bring your pain into the light, you open the door to seeing God at work. And in doing so, you take the first step toward cultivating true thankfulness.

Work Towards Healing

God wants to bring your pain to a place of redemption and healing. He wants you to be free from the hurts.

But redemption and healing are not a passive process.

Working towards healing takes time, it takes intentional effort and it takes resources. But during this process, God will heal parts of your heart that so desperately need hope and free you from bondage.

Here is a list of things you can do to being working through your hurts.

  • Go to counseling
  • Seek out a mentor
  • Share your story with a friend
  • Pray every day
  • Find Scriptures to combat Satan’s lies
  • Journal
  • Find and read through a book on the topic you struggle with

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11

God is working to turn your brokenness into beauty and your bondage into freedom.

Today I want to encourage you to start by choosing one way to work through your pain. And as you do, expect God to show up. This step is essential to cultivating thankfulness in the middle of your pain.

Surrender to the Most High

Surrender can be so hard, but it is in this step that we can untangle our hearts and be thankful.

When we surrender our lives and our hurts to the Lord, we accept His sufficiency and greatness. When we surrender, we make His love and goodness a reality.

And in this newfound perspective, you will find thankfulness pouring from your heart.

But surrender isn’t easy. Most of the time, we grasp so tightly at our lives.

And when you are grasping at control, you will find yourself being led by fear and paralyzed by pain.

Surrender is the opposite of control. When you surrender, you are placing your heart, your life and all that happens in God’s control.

How many of you want to stop reading right here and shout, "There is no way can I do that! My life in God’s control?"

I’ve been there. When we are surrounded by pain, heartbreak and chaos, we have to trust in God’s good plan.

Click to read more on how to surrender in the midst of your pain.

As you become assured of God’s great love for you and His good plan for you, you will find an overflowing thankfulness results.

What are you holding tightly to that you can begin to surrender to God today?

Thankfulness was never meant to be a forced denial of your pain, but the overflow of recognizing God’s love and sufficiency even in the middle of your pain.

What has helped you to recognize the Lord’s love and provision in the middle of a trial?

Cultivating Thankfulness in the Middle of Pain Bundle (1)


  1. Beautiful and wise post, my friend ♥ We cannot bury our hurts and find healing at the same time. We need to be honest with ourselves and others. I love the wisdom you share and the options we can take to begin the road to healing. I can’t wait to share this everywhere ♥

    Blessings and smiles,

  2. I am also in that situation for almost 5 months now. Everyday I am infront of my laptop searching for ways on how to overcome my struggles. I even questioned him why it has to came all at the same time. I am totally broke and almost consider suicide as one option. Until yesterday when I was thinking why I am experiencing all this, then I realized maybe he wants me to be in a right direction.

  3. “…expect God to show up.” Love that perspective, Nicole. — We all need community where we can share our pain. It’s too easy to bury it, so we don’t have to deal with it, but that doesn’t stop us from dealing with it, it just prolongs it. — Good read today, Nicole. Thank you for sharing. ((hug))

  4. Nicole, I needed this right now. Sometimes, it IS hard to focus on the positive and be thankful in the storm! I like that you bring attention to the need for working through it (not passively standing by) as well, and that counseling should not be ignored. It is so encouraging- and comforting to know that God often takes us THROUGH the storm. As we journey, we then learn to be more dependent on Him and compassionate with others. Our pain- is His gain. Thank you!

  5. Great encouragement here, Nicole for all of us to fight against Satan’s plan to try to keep us in our pain and not in the comfort and redeeming love of Jesus. Your words here will benefit many and I’m thrilled to share them!

  6. For many, the holidays can be the most difficult time of year. Thank you so much for sharing these inspiring words of truth words along with some great practical steps to work on our hurt.

    I think my favorite part is “Surrender can be so hard, but it is in this step that we can untangle our hearts and be thankful.” You are absolutely right surrender can be so tough, but it is a beautiful thing when we submit ourselves to God!

    Visiting today from #ChasingCommunity <3 Misty

  7. So very good and pertinent, Nicole. I too get healing when I spend time with my dear, close friends who I can trust with my whole heart. Next weekend I’ll see one of my best friends who has known me for over 30 years. Her insight is invaluable, and she always gives me fresh perspectives on my pain, along with pointing me to God. I’m glad you have three dear friends who do the same for you–if we lived closer, I’m sure you and I would be like that for each other too! Blessings to you, friend.

  8. Thanks for sharing so many sweet truths! Encouraging to know that we are not alone in our struggles…I’ve found that trials sometimes show me where I’ve truly been placing my hope and security–challenging me to trust God and truly surrender my life, even when it doesn’t make sense, even when the prayers don’t seem to be answered. I keep going back to Phillipians 4:6-7 and preaching it back to myself…

  9. The fact that this year has been hard, not including the past weekend with a death in the family. I needed to hear this so much! I’m glad I’m not alone, you made very good points. Thank you for of all days to post this. It was needed the most ♡

  10. Although I try to be as open and vulnerable as possible, as often as possible, I am going through a fatiguing period. It’s been going on for several months. I find that some things are more difficult to be open about than others. I’ve been meditating lately on how much I need to accept the brokenness that is in my life right now. That I’m not going to have all my ends tied neatly in the near future, and that’s okay. 🙂

  11. Acknowledge is always the first step. After that you can start taking steps to correct and change. Doesn’t come in a day but it will happen.

  12. “Thankfulness was never meant to be a forced denial of your pain, but the overflow of recognizing God’s love and sufficiency even in the middle of your pain.” Love this truth! And I find that thankfulness is God-magical. When my focus is on the part of the glass that is full, the empty no longer has power. My spirits lift. Satan wants us to doubt God’s goodness and love for us. Thanks for sharing! You’re blog is beautiful. I’m visiting from Moments of Hope Link-up. 🙂 Andy Lee

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