The Ministry of Lisa Copen

Lisa Copen, Founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill, shares about mothering, illness, ministry and more.

Thanksgiving and Chronic Illness

I aCornam beginning to hear my mother’s voice as I talk to my soon-to-be-4-year-old son. "You need to be grateful that you have so many toys. There are a lot of kids who don’t have any toys. If you are going to treat them that way then mommy will take them away and give them to another little boy who will be thankful. . ."  The other day I saw the following quote and it made me smile. "I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose." –Woody Allen

Thanksgiving is a time a time when, regardless of living with a chronic illness, regardless that we may not being having a big family celebration, regardless that our life is not how we would have chosen, we can still say, "Thank you, Lord. Thy will be done."

As I left a bookstore the other day I overheard the two clerks saying, "Yeah, man, did you know this week has the highest suicide rate than the rest of the year?" And the other guy said, "Really? I thought it would be in December."  They kind of chuckled about it and I walked away biting my lip. Because just a few days before one of my best friends had the 1-year-anniversary of her son taking his life. I am awed by her ability to find things to celebrate this year even in the midst of deep, deep heartache.

We don’t know why we have a chronic illness. We don’t know why so many people are hit so hard with mental illness. I pray for the healing of many, but I also know we live in a world where answers to prayers are often delayed.

I am blessed. Some would look at my life and say I’ve pretty  much got it made. And yes, I know how blessed I am. But people don’t see the pain either. They don’t see that each day I make a choice to count my blessings rather than the burdens. If I was counting those burdens and sharing them with others, perhaps I would gain more sympathy, but I’d definately have less joy.

Whatever you have to be thankful for, celebrate it. Do you have a roof over your head? Praise the Lord it’s still standing! Many people lost their homes this year. Are you spending the day alone? Praise the Lord that you don’t have a toxic family to squabble with. Are you reading this? Praise the Lord you have a computer to be able to connect with the world at your fingertips.

Hebrews 12:28 says, "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. . ."

Circumstances may be less than you would wish this Thanksgiving, but earth as it is now is not the kingdom. When the Lord returns and the kingdom is fulfilled, then it will not ever be able to be shaken. In time, it will all be ours, as we receive it. If you have nothing else in your life today that you can be thankful for, hold tightly onto this promise:

  • "We are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken!– so be thankful!" Sounds like a command to me. "So be thankful. . ."

John F. Kennedy once said, "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." Sounds like wise advice–sometimes hard to follow–but wise the same.

Hoping you have a blessed Thanksgiving. I will be eating dinner with my husband and son. I made lo-carb dressing, sugar free cranberry sauce and lo-carb pies. Here’s to hoping we can enjoy the day without adding any extra pounds.

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"The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank."
Dante G. Rossetti

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1 Comment»

  Tammy Swauger wrote @

Today is Jan 13 and I just discovered your site. Lately, I have been pitying myself because of all my losses. Just the other day though I remembered that I do feel better when I thank God for his blessings rather than put down those blessings (my family). Thank you for your insightful article. Also, thank you for serving me by your involvement in restministries, Lisa.


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