| from Lauren Roman |

It’s the time of year when our hearts and minds turn toward giving thanks. First, as Americans, with a national day of Thanksgiving – second, more importantly, as grateful recipients of God’s most precious gift. It’s amazing that his gift was given thousands of years ago, and is still being received every day, all over the world!

We’re facing a holiday season unlike any other. Many of us have experienced more loss and painful challenges this year than ever before, many of which are ongoing. Everything from grieving the loss of loved ones, to job loss and financial insecurity, to struggling with unexpected homeschooling, to simply not being able to spend time with family and friends the way we usually do… and much, much more.

How do we go about giving thanks while dealing with continual uncertainty, in so many ways, day after day?

Before we focus on “giving thanks,” let’s consider the psychological toll of “continual uncertainty.” We don’t give it quite enough credit as a source of angst. And when we’re unaware of a hazard, it’s easier for the enemy to use it against us.

Whether it’s about something small and frustrating or huge and life-changing, uncertainty itself is adversity. Science proves it!  

“Studies show that [people are] calmer anticipating pain than anticipating uncertainty because pain is certain. …[R]esearchers discovered that study participants who knew for sure they would receive a painful electric shock felt calmer and less agitated than those who were told they only had a 50% chance of getting the electric shock.” – Psychology Today

These fascinating brains God gave us really, reallyreally don’t like uncertainty. The mind equates it to danger… how can it do its job of keeping you safe when it doesn’t know what’s coming?!

There’s a saying I often turn to amidst uncertainty:

You don’t need to know where you’re going when you trust the one who’s leading.

When the unknown kicks my anxious mind into overdrive – Where are we going? How will we get there? When? Why? – I pause, breathe, and pray. God patiently reminds me I don’t need those answers, as long as I’m following Him. Because He is always trustworthy, no matter what.

What a privilege to rest in that truth! What life-giving peace it stirs in my heart! It stills my frantic mind, replacing worry with soothing calm.

There is always reason to give thanks, because God’s loving care is certain – no matter what.

As I pondered this, God kept bringing me to Colossians. When I read it, his purpose was abundantly clear! Thankfulness is woven throughout, from beginning to end.

Think about it. We all appreciate thankfulness as a virtue and want to instill it in our kids, right? We love seeing an “attitude of gratitude” in their hearts that shines through with every “thank you,” don’t we? God wants that for his kids, too!

As Paul writes in Colossians 2:7 (NLT), ”…just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”

And in 3:17, “…whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”

If you want to cultivate gratitude in your kids, if you want them to rely on the certainty of God’s loving care in a world that will tell them nothing is certain… it starts with you.

Gratitude is more than an attitude. It’s a choice and a practice. It can and will shape what you say and do – that’s how you nurture this value in your kids.

The example you live out each day has much more influence than the words you say.

I hope you’ll share these verses with them. Even better, read Colossians aloud to your family, the way you’d read a letter from a beloved mentor – it’s a short book, it’ll take less than 20 minutes. The New Living Translation works well, as it’s intended for ease and clarity when reading aloud, the same way the original listeners would have heard it!

Then go back and find the variations of “thanks,” “thankfulness,” and “giving thanks” to discuss together. (There are many more than what I listed above!)

It truly puts in perspective all we have to be thankful for this year – and every year – no matter what.

Lauren Roman is an enthusiastic encourager, creative communicator, and truth teller who captivates audiences of all kinds. Her eclectic career began as a “soap star” in her teens (ABC’s All My Children) and now encompasses speaking, singing, and writing – all to inspire others toward true identity and counter-cultural freedom in Christ. As Lauren shares from her own life with bold transparency, emotion, humor, and humility, interweaving practical biblical insights, hearts are engaged and stirred to change.

In addition to her work as an Associate Writer and Speaker for Celebrate Kids, Lauren keynotes live and virtual events for women, youth, and multi-generational ministries throughout the US and beyond. For more information, visit:​ laurenroman.com ​