When You Need to Give Thanks for God’s Love {Anchored Souls Series}

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To kick off our series, I’m thrilled to welcome my dear friend Betsy de Cruz back to the blog. Betsy has a gift for explaining God’s word in a practical, easy-to-understand way. Her words have prompted me to dig into scripture with fresh eyes and apply new techniques when studying it. I know you will be encouraged by her words about gratitude today.

When You Need to Give Thanks for God’s Love

Do you ever wonder what on earth God is up to? Life brings constant change, doesn’t it? Just when you think you have things figured out, God surprises you again. The unexpected hits you, and you wonder what to expect.

Last summer my family and I returned home to the Middle East after nine months of living stateside in an unfamiliar city. We could hardly wait to get back to “normal” life. We looked forward to the best tomatoes ever, summer peaches, olive trees, hot glasses of tea, hugging and kissing our friends on the cheek, and laughing for the pure joy of it all.

What we didn’t count on was culture shock all over again, a family member’s struggle with depression, political violence, and a national state of emergency.

When life throws you for a loop, it’s hard to give thanks in the transitions you didn’t plan.

You lose your job, or watch your child lose a friend to an auto accident. Deep inside, you wonder what God is doing and if He cares. And you ask all over again, “Are you there, God? Do you really love me?”

Sometimes it’s hard to believe, let alone give thanks.

If you’re struggling during this Season of Thanks, how about returning to the simple truth?

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“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

We know this verse forwards, backwards, and upside down. We’ve heard it so many times that it goes inside one ear and out the other. I can hardly read it without remembering Sunday school in Fort Hancock, Texas. Miss Malloy said it was the Bible in a nutshell, so we painted “John 3:16” on pecans. Only I wasn’t that artistic, so I ran out of room after “John 3,” and the flower I tried to paint on my pecan got all smudged.

Today I read John 3:16 for the 967th time, but God impressed the words on my heart.

For God so loved the world that He gave…

God is love. It’s his nature to love. He loves you and me desperately. He loved us so much that He gave. He poured out love for us at the cross. When life shakes us, we can hold on because we have a love to hope in. In the fiercest storms, we can rest because we have a love to remain in.

We can give thanks no matter what because He’s already given His Son.

Here’s a Bible journaling exercise:

Write John 3:16 down, substituting your name for “the world” and “whoever.”

Read it a few times. Believe and receive it. Rest in it. Give thanks for it.

Lord, thank you for loving me. Help me to feel your love resting on me just as tangibly as I can feel a sweater on my shoulders. Your love covers me. It protects me and keeps me warm. I receive it right now. Help me remember today I’m dearly loved. Help me to love others well.


Betsy de Cruz headshot

 

Betsy de Cruz enjoys God, life with teenagers, and dark roast coffee. Betsy’s passion is to encourage women to get God’s Word in, so their faith can spill out, even during life’s bumpy moments. She and her family live in the Middle East. Most days she feels privileged to live overseas; other days she wants to pull her hair out and catch the next plane home. You can find Betsy at her blog, faithspillingover.com , on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

 

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25 thoughts on “When You Need to Give Thanks for God’s Love {Anchored Souls Series}

  1. I love that exercise Betsy! Personalizing the Scriptures can bring us into such a deep understanding of how much God loves us:) Thank you both for sharing this inspiration today.

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  2. So good . . . there’s nothing like personalizing the truth of Scripture for driving it deep into our hearts. And it reminds us of the infinite and personal love of God, because I’m sure that’s how the Spirit is whispering the truth to us, if only we have ears to hear.

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  3. It’s a wonderful exercise, putting His love in relatable perspective. I’m glad you made it through the transition, and that you’re continuing to step triumphantly with Christ even though unexpected events continue to be cast your way, my friend. He is God and He soooo loved. Beautiful.

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  4. Betsy,
    So good to be reading your post here at Abby’s place :). Yes, sometimes when my heart is aching and I’m wondering “why?”. God calls me back to basics. My imaginative thinking can take on a life of its own, so going back to the basics of John 3:16 helps to put it all in perspective. I may not have all the others answers to all the why’s….but I DO know that God so loved me that He gave His only Son for me so that I will not perish but have eternal life. Claiming the “enoughness” of that promise today….thanks! May you have a blessed Thanksgiving…you too, Abby!!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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    • I know what you mean about “going back to the basics,” Bev! You and I are so much alike, I think. I call it “returning to the simple things.” When you just can’t get your mind wrapped around anything. Psalm 23 is another one.

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  5. So glad you’re here, Betsy!! What a chaotic transition. That simple truth, the Bible in a nutshell, has already been on my mind today. I first heard of the pronoun technique reading about Ruth Graham and it has stuck with me. Sometimes I substitute in other people’s names too, ones who I’m serving at the Lord’s request or who are driving me nuts. Because the simple truth of the whole Gospel is for them too, and I must see every person in light of who Christ is and how He loves them as well! Thank you for sharing this encouragement and tying it all up pointing to praising our Savior! Happy thanksgiving week, friend : )

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    • I love that idea, Bethany, of substituting in someone else’s name, and I do it sometimes too. But I’d NEVER thought of using that technique with someone who’s “driving me nuts,” as you say. That, friend, is a WONDERFUL idea.

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  6. Wonderful words, my friend. But for me, the most comfort came at the end in your prayer. Sensing the Lord’s love as sure as a sweater resting on my shoulders – his protection and warmth – that’s what I want. And it only comes through stillness, acknowledging Him.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Betsy and Abby! This series is much needed and I wish you blessings on it!

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    • Thank you, Ruthie. I love that prayer too. It just came to me one morning, and often now I stop and feel the clothes on my back and remember God’s love covers me, just as real. 🙂 Blessings to you this Thanksgiving, sweet friend.

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  7. Betsy, this came through my inbox yesterday and I didn’t have a chance to get to it until now. Lovely words, friend. I so appreciate how you always encourage us to write, journal, word-map. Not sure if you’re celebrating Thanksgiving over in Turkey or not, but all the same, thankful for you,friend. ❤ (And, thanks for sharing, sweet Abby. 🙂 )

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    • I AM celebrating, but on Friday night because my Turkish daughter can’t miss class on Thursday and she’s coming from out of town. I’ve done Thanksgiving on Friday here often since Turks of course don’t have a holiday. 🙂

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  8. Would seem God is weaving a theme this week, Betsy, with this word transitions… and I’m so grateful I got to read your words. This perspective on such a much loved verse practically changes my view of this week and all the ways I should remain in the love He gave… Happy Thanksgiving, and all the blessings for you and your loved ones!

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  9. Abby, thanks for sharing Betsy with us. I’m so grateful for this reminder that God chose to GIVE. He really loves to give us good things and I know He hurts when we do. I’m trying to remember that as I walk through my own transition right now. He is still a good God; a God who gives and who loves us completely.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you both.
    Marva | SunSparkleShine

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    • Marva, I’m praying for you now, dear friend. Yours is a hard transition, indeed. May God pour out abundant grace and love over you, friend. Some things we just cannot understand in this life.

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  10. Such a good practice. So often so many don’t realize that God’s blessings and protections are for them, too – but when you personalize like that, God allows that knowledge to unfurl in our souls! Thank you, too, for the prayer! Shalom, Betsy!
    ~Maryleigh

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