Being Thankful Changes Everything
Lysa TerKeurst

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

I sat on the bed, tears streaming down my face, negative thoughts racing through my mind … Why does marriage have to be so hard sometimes? Why can't he see my side of things? Why won't he change? Maybe I married the wrong man.

This was a scene repeated over and over the first five years of my marriage. I was discouraged, overwhelmed and so tempted to give up. But here I am about to celebrate my 18th wedding anniversary so thankful I didn't walk away.

Ephesians 6:12 was a great reminder to me over the years that my husband isn't my enemy. Art may feel like my enemy but the truth is Satan is the real enemy who hates marriage and schemes against my husband and me. One thing we must always remember is Satan's goal to be one who casts something between two to cause a separation.

Satan wants to separate us in every way. He wants to separate us with conflict, hurt feelings, misunderstanding, and frustrations of all kinds. He wants to separate us from our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers, our parents, our spouses, our kids. He wants to separate us from God's best. He wants to separate us from God.

One of the best ways for Satan to start these separations is by luring us into a place of grumbling and complaining. If he can get us to focus only on what is aggravating and negative in life, then little cracks of distance start forming in our relationships. The grass starts looking greener everywhere else except where we are standing.

I can see this so clearly when I look back on the first five years of my marriage. Somehow, I became so hyper focused on all I felt was wrong with my husband, I became blinded to all that was good. I grumbled and complained and nagged and set out to change him. And I almost destroyed my marriage in the process. Satan had a field day as the separation between Art and I kept ever widening.

Then one day as I was in a fit of tears asking God to make things better, I felt challenged to start listing out things about Art for which I was thankful.

It was hard at first. I had bought Satan's whispers that there was only negative there with very little positive to find. But, with each positive quality I listed, it slowly changed everything. It was as if the clouds of negativity lifted and I could once again see his good qualities. There were so many good qualities; I was shocked how I'd gotten so blinded.

How sad I spent five years thinking the grass would be greener with someone else. Not true. The grass is always greener where you water and fertilize it. And being thankful --really intentionally listing out things for which we are thankful-- is a great way to start watering and fertilizing and changing everything.

Dear Lord, thank You for helping me see how beneficial it is to be aware and appreciative of the good qualities in those I love. Lord, help me to recognize Satan's schemes and combat them with the power of having a truly thankful heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
What are you thankful for today? I am inviting each person who reads this to stop and take time to list just a few things for which you are thankful by hopping over to my website. Each person that leaves a comment on my website today will be entered for a chance to win a copy of my book “Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl.”

Be sure to check out Lysa’s book and Bible study Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl. This is the perfect 6 week summer study or one to consider doing with your women’s group this fall.

To order your copy of the book, click here. To order your Bible study workbook and DVD study click here and here.

Application Steps:
Every time a negative, separating thought comes into your mind today, intentionally combat it with something for which you are thankful about that person.

How does it make you feel to dwell on what you wish was different about another person?

Could this devotion showing up in your inbox today be a reminder from God that there are positive things for which you can be thankful?

How does having a thankful heart change things?

Power Verses:
Philippians 4:6, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (NIV)

2 Corinthians 4:15, "All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God." (NIV)

© 2010 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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Blogger Unknown said...

This is so true! Our attitude just gets more rotten as we dwell on the negatives of each day instead of the positives. Our lives get a little moldier with each negative thought or action and pretty soon we are so stinky nobody wants to be around us. Thankfulness provides us with a fresh look at each new day where we can be usable for God's glory. Thank you for a much needed reminder!

Blogger Unknown said...

That was a great devotion, I can get into that rut myself sometimes.
Not just with my husband but with coworkers, my daughter and so on. I am very thankful for each one of these people I listed, I can see a change in my job already for just not looking for the negative in each person. Denise

Anonymous Karen said...

After I became widowed I used to focus on being lonely all of the time. Once my focus shifted away from man and to the fact that only my Heavenly Father can supply me with the joy and peace that only He can give, my attitude began to shift to being thankful for what I have rather than what is lacking. Now, I am in a greatful state for my many blessings such as physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and wellness as well as the love of my family and friends.
Thank you for this devotion and reminder of God's many blessings.

Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks you for the reminder to see all the people I have a relationship, especially my husband, through God's eyes, and love and appreciate them as much as God does. I like your insight. and am thankful for the ministry of Proverbs 31.

Blogger Familyof6inTX said...

This devotion did show up in my inbox for a reason. I have been struggling with this very thing. There are several areas of my life where I want things to improve or that I feel don't meaure up to where I thought I would be by this point in my life. Philippians 4:6 stays in my mind and I try to focus on it instead of what I don't like in my life. Thanks for the reminder that I am not the only one that struggles with this issue and that God is still listening.

Anonymous Susan M. said...

Thank you so much for this devotion. I have been sitting here thinking of the things that I want my husband to change. Now I am going to sit here and think of all the things my husband does (and is) that I am thankful for.

Blogger Unknown said...

I fall into the trap so quickly I don't even see that I have. Thanks for calling me out on it!! I am thankful for my husband who willing came on vacation during a very busy work time. Seeing him enjoy time with our children laughing and smiling!! I am thankful for my children even though they get have the daily tiffs we love each other.
I am thankful for my God who brought me out of destructive ways and into His kingdom!!

Anonymous Danielle said...

"The grass is always greener where you water and fertilize it." I absolutely love this sentence, this quote! This is definitely an awesome way of thinking in times of jealously, or just dissatisfactions. Being thankful is everything. I went through some complaining recently, but since trying to focus on what the Lord has already provided with me, I have been much more joyful! God is amazing!

Anonymous Shannon said...

Thanks so much for this! God used you today to be a great reminder for me. I got married just a little under a month ago, and many of our discussions since have revolved around our budget and money. What a prime area for the enemy to work in our new marriage relationship. Thanks for the reminder that the Satan is my enemy, not my husband!

Blogger Kelsie said...

I really appreciated this statement: "The grass is always greener where you water and fertilize it." Thanks, Lysa!

Anonymous Jennifer said...

This is absolutely sent from God. I have had this exact same situation happen to me within the last few days and I know God will be with me to pull me through. Thank you so much for posting this today, it has helped so much Lysa.

Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you - so good to be reminded of this!

Anonymous Melanie said...

I love this devotion i have been married for two years and it seems as if these last two years have been the hardest in my life. We have fault and hurt each other. One day when i thought i couldn't take anymore i got on my knees and prayed to God and simply told him i couldn't take this anymore. After that it seems like things have just improved. i thank God for hearing my prayers

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Lysa.
Have been struggling with this myself. Thank you for reminding me that my husband is not my enemy but that Satan is my enemy!! Please Lord my desire is to walk with you all the time, Help me Lord as I am weak!

Blogger Marie said...

Amen...I am grateful for that message! And I am grateful to having gone to a conference this weekend in Apex where Lysa was the speaker so that I would come to this rich site of God's work in the lives of women..thank you for sharing all that God is doing and has done in your life!

Blogger Unknown said...

I am thankfulfor my wonderful husband, fabulous daughters who are so generous and different in their own unique ways, I am thankful for my career, my principal who prayed with her faculty yesterday, all my students who teach me so much about God's love and grace! I am thankful for where God has placed me. Thankful for my pastor and his family and his love of God's people! Thank you Jesus for your Son!!

Blogger Unknown said...

I'm thankful for this day,also that God has a plan for me today. I'm thankful he chose me to use...

Blogger sweetpea said...

What a great devotional. I really believe that my negative thinking and grumbling and complaining was so instrumental in the demise of my first marriage. I have remarried and have decided to see only the best in my husband and remind myself of his great qualities.

Anonymous Allyson said...

Wow...this is exactly what I was looking for today. I too, like Karen, am a widow. My husband passed away a year ago this Nov. 30. We have 3 beautiful and amazing teenagers that I am thankful for every day. There were many, many years that I complained, groaned and begged God to change my husband, my children, my circumstances. Instead of changing those things, He changed me. Today, I look back and am grateful for the wonderful times we had as a family and for the faith in our Lord and Saviour that my husband and I shared with our children.

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