Fanning the Flames of Thankfulness

Jar_Candles_Kelly _Sikkema_@creationswap

““Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now.””  –
A.W. Tozer

I was first diagnosed with Depression toward the end of 2005.  It was a devastating diagnosis to me.  Not because I was ashamed to be touched by the word “depression”, but because I was shocked to find out that these were words that could possibly ever describe me! Natural born sunny disposition aside, I usually choose to look at things through rose-colored glasses, find the silver lining in every possible situation, and see the best in people.

However, I also consider myself practical, and more of a realist than a dreamer.

So, back in the fall of 2005, when Sweetman and I first received Sweetboy’s Autism diagnosis, I wasn’t completely taken by surprise.

But, you can bet your bippy that I was surprised to hear The Counselor utter the word “Depression”. To describe me! And this, just months after receiving Sweetboy’s diagnosis.

God and I? We were tight at the time.  I wasn’t asking Him “Why?”.  I was begging him to show me how to parent this child He’d decided Sweetman and I could handle.  Because, clearly, I didn’t feel like I could handle this kind of parenting.

As evidenced by my, you know, sitting in the chair facing The Counselor.

Thanks to the encouragement and Godly wisdom that this Christian Counselor poured into me that year, I learned some important things.  Things that carried me through then, and continue to carry me through, even now.

1) “I can do all things through Christ Jesus, who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) Oh, indeed I can.  Maybe not immediately; but, if I am faithful to pray and commit my way, my plans, my hopes to Him, I most certainly can. I am blessed to be called Mama, and some days, I just needed to start the day by crying out in thankfulness for that one thing.  Anything else that I am to take on for the day, I needed (and still need) to remember will be accomplished through Christ. Amen?

2) Take note of the kindling.  Oh, how I must take note of any kindling that’s going on. Kindling is a metaphorical term used to describe those little tiny embers of suffering that can can be fanned into a full-on Five Alarm Fire, if not tended to. In Psychology, it is often used to describe one who is going through nothing big and everything small.  That seemingly endless pile of Everything Small grows until, finally, your body decides it’s had enough and begins to show symptoms of deep stress.

I feel some kindling going on, lately, my friends.  And it could become an arsonists dream, if I don’t get on my knees about it. I need to focus on God. Here. Right here, in the midst of all of this potential kindling.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

(Deuteronomy 31:8)

I can fan the flames of thankfulness by remembering that God is not a Firestarter, but The Fire Quencher. 

“For I will pour out water to quench your thirst
and to irrigate your parched fields.”

(Isaiah 44:3)

I’m resting in the Hope that I have.  Hope that springs to life at the thought of unrealized blessings.  I choose not to fan the flames of death by a thousand cuts, but to fan the flames of a thankful heart, catching fire at the thought of all that there can be or even could be, to be thankful for.

“What am I doing in the meantime, Lord?
Hoping, that’s what I’m doing—hoping”

(Psalm 39:7)

34 thoughts on “Fanning the Flames of Thankfulness

  1. Pingback: Watching Them Play | Missindeedy

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  3. This here? Might be one of my favorites you’ve written.
    When I read this: “Maybe not immediately; but, if I am faithful to pray and commit my way, my plans, my hopes to Him, I most certainly can,” I stopped and read it three more times, after taking a breath. It stopped me in my tracks. And that kindling business? Nothing big and everything small? That is all the time. I need to remember these words. Thank you, friend.

  4. Missy, you are such a blessing to so many! And I love you so much! I must admit I felt shock reading that you were depressed, because you always have such a joyful perspective. But yes, we are human. Weak and frail, and in need of Jesus. I understand your feelings, and I am doing the same. Giving it to God. Resting in hope. And I bet you’re a great mama!! You’re Sweetboy is very blessed. ❤

  5. Loved your kindling analogy!! It’s always kindling with me… it’s never some enormous, stressful event. It’s a bunch of things that pile up until I can’t take it anymore. Thanks for sharing with us!

    • You know, that’s often how I feel about it, when it gets to be too much, too – like I just can’t stand One More Thing. That’s when I know I need to get on my knees and quick!

  6. Once again I can completely identify with your post! Thank you for sharing this an your heart with us. Keep fanning those flames of thankfulness. 🙂

  7. Another depression sufferer here. And another reader that thoroughly enjoys your take on things with your blog!! Thank you so much for sharing your story, and your tips for keeping those flames at bay. You’re right, those smallest things can soon become huge. Thanks again!

  8. I am always, always encouraged by your posts, Missy. Today, 3 things stood out to me:

    1) your response of not asking God “why”, but “how” (to parent your son),
    2) your desire to get on your knees in response to kindling,
    3) your use of “bet your bippy” (I love this saying!).

    Thanksgiving takes our eyes off our situation and on the One Who made us and provides for us. Praying for you sweet sister that in fanning your thanksgivings the LORD will drench these embers and put them out for good.

    • Pat, thank you friend. And yes indeedy! That thanksgiving has a funny way of suddenly putting our pile of problems into proper perspective.

  9. Again, I love your thoughts…the way you express your feelings is inspiring. I love the ‘light’ or ‘cheery’ feel of your posts even when it’s something not necessarily ‘light’ or ‘cheery’. Through your words, you seem like a happy person with a very pleasant disposition. Depression doesn’t label us (I’ve fought with it for years…I come from a long line of very depressed women) and it doesn’t define us…your take on it shows that…I just love your ‘fanning the flames of thankfulness’ take on it!!!! Thanks for sharing Missy! 🙂

    • Becky, your comments are so encouraging to me, too! I so loved that line “depression doesn’t label us…” INDEED! 🙂

  10. I have never heard about the “kindling” before. Wow, is that ever a wake up call for me. As a woman who have struggled with depression in the past, and now fighting the mid-life blues and raging hormones and hot flashes, I am realizing I have some kindling that needs to be taken care of! You are a blessing!

    • Barbie, may I suggest we walk along the freezer section of the grocery store together one afternoon? 😉 Thank you for your encouraging comments.

  11. Missy,
    I look forward to reading your blog every week. Thank you for the blessings that you bestow upon all of us at OBS!!

  12. Thank you SO much for this. You have shared some deep insights and I am so appreciative. I also have been diagnosed with depression and live with someone with challenges. You have taught me much, especially about the kindling. I had heard that term long ago when I was a practicing counselor. I have experienced what you are describing and still feel there is some kindling going on. I too will hope in The Lord and wait on His beautiful timing. Thanks for sharing. I will be praying for you.

    Love in Christ,


    • Tristine, I’m praying that God quenches those flames quicker than we can think to ask Him to, each and every time! Big hugs, friend!

  13. Saying a prayer for you my friend. It’s a blessing you can recognize the small little things stirring up inside you. We’ll all bring our watering hoses and help put out that fire if you need some help.

    Some seasons of life are really, really hard. It always amazing me at how much stress really does affect my body and my health. Take care of yourself!

    • FringeGirl – some seasons just really are, aren’t they? But, I’ll take any and all prayers and send some up for each of you lovlies, too!

  14. Thanks for sharing Missy. I always love your posts, they always speak to some in some way about God’s love and faithfulness to us as His children. I too have dealt with depression and the Lord brought me through also. He is so awesome and faithful to us. God bless you Missy ♥ You are a blessing ♥

  15. Sweet friend. You and I have so much in common. Depression was a shock to hear when I was told the same thing. Yet, God has pulled me through the muck and continues to teach me to rely on Him as my everything. I am in a dark time here, too. Know you are not alone and that I am only a phone call away. His hope is what I am clinging to as well!! I love you sweet lady!

    • Sweetpea Sunshine (and yes, I have dubbed you thus forevermore), indeed He is our everything. And I am walking in your dark right alongside you – holding that hand and praying the tar out of your sitch and mine; knowing, KNOWING that God sees, hears us, and will make it beautiful. Loving you right back!

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