Wednesday, November 9, 2016

what no one wants to say about gratitude

I have a confession.

I sometimes quit being thankful.

room goes quiet
men gasp
ladies clutch their purls and cover their children's ears
clock ticks loudly

I, the perfect Christian child, have quit being thankful before.
In fact, I've been tempted to do it again in these past few weeks.
So when Katie e-mailed me saying that our BY theme for November was gratitude, I shriveled my nose.

Because in all reality, reading and writing things like
we should give thanks in all circumstances
we have so much to be thankful for
count your blessings
just be thankful for what you do have
sounds so awful and fake.

A very dear friend of mine ended her life a month ago.
I'm not thankful.
I'm not thankful for funerals and tears and therapy.

Right now, I don't give thanks when think about sitting on Madison's bed with her mom two days after she committed suicide.
Right now, I don't give thanks for the pain and suffering of this world.
Right now, I don't give thanks when it punches my chest every morning.

Telling you that gratitude is nothing more than instagram worthy pictures of coffee, boots and leaves feels wrong.
Because gratitude is so much deeper than that. 
It's the response of your heart when you find Jesus in the broken and the beautiful.

So if you find joy in coffee and boots {like me}?
But if not?
You're awesome too.

Don't throw gratitude away.
Don't be thankful because it's the Christian thing to be.
Don't act like it's all good, all the time.

Please dear sisters, know that it's not fine all the time.
Please be sincere in your thanksgiving.
Please know that there are, and will, always be things to be thankful for.


it's okay to not be thankful.
it's okay to feel pain and anger,
loneliness and depression.
And in those things?

 You are held.
 You are precious.
 You will fight until you see beauty in the world.
 Because it's there.
 This earth contains so much joy, just for you to  feel.
 There are blessings to be received.
 There is warmth to be felt,
 and light to be seen.

So it's okay to quit being thankful in your pursuit of fearless authenticity.
Just don't forget there is still reason to give thanks.


  1. Love you and your ability to be so completely sincere and real with people <3
    Gratitude is often something you have to choose. Sometimes we don't feel like being thankful for our lives and all the bad things that are happening, yet God says to consider our sufferings joy, to give thanks. This is really really hard sometimes, and as humans, we fail to do this, but nevertheless, God still picks us up off the ground, holds us, and loves us.

  2. Elissa, your authenticity is so beautiful. I'm praying for you- I know this is so incredibly hard. So much love for you.

  3. Yes! I appreciate your perspective here - gratitude does seem to be associated with warm fuzzy feelings, when that's not what life is about. It's the response of your heart when you find Jesus in the broken and the beautiful - yes, so much truth in that. Thanks for being so brave and sharing your heart. Sending hugs! xx

  4. Oh, dear Elissa. I'm so sorry about your loss, and I'm praying that the Lord will give you strength! And you're so right with this post. <3 Gah, thank you.

  5. Wow.. THIS <3 I already emailed you about your loss but again, I can't imagine. Much love for you, Elissa. This is amazing. YOU are amazing.

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    1. I'm sorry about your loss, Elissa. I, really appreciate this post,the raw, realness of it. Your words are so beautiful, and also so true and real. It's hard to feel gratitude all the time, but there are always things to be thankful for. <3

  7. oh man oh man. this is quite a punch of truth to the heart. keep writinf and hold on. we're all here beside you. xx -jr