I once heard my pastor speak about how we should handle and navigate tough seasons and times in our live. He talked about how we need to develop the ability to still be thankful no matter what we are going through. It doesn't matter the season or the circumstances we find ourselves in, we can always find things to be thankful for. This should be a part of our lives. We should always strive to maintain an attitude of gratitude.
What my pastor went on to say is that through tough times and seasons, we should eventually find ourselves thankful for the circumstances as well. At the time that I heard this I was actually walking through a rather tough season. I remember thinking that I was able to be grateful during that season, but I was not at a place where I could say I was grateful for the season and the circumstances yet.
James actually touches on this very topic in the Bible in James 1:2-4 where he says "Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish it's work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
As that season began to clear I thought a lot about what my pastor had said. I thought about the idea of actually being grateful for the tough times. And I realized that in my own life there was the space indeed to be grateful for what I had walked through.
I believe that everything we experience whether it be good or bad has the ability to impact us. Tough seasons especially will change us. The question is: how are we going to let it change us. If we choose to let the tough seasons change us for the better then we will find ourselves eventually grateful for the circumstance because of what it produced in our lives. For myself I am sincerely grateful for that season because of the things it taught me about God and produced in my relationship with HIm.
Just last year I walked another tough season. As I sat at my kitchen table weeping one morning before the Lord, I felt like he said "let the tears of this season water the things that you want to grow in your life. May your tears wet the clay of your life for me to shape you into what I designed for you to be." A year later I'm grateful for what those tears watered and allowed God to shape in my life. May we always get to the other side and find ourselves grateful for the circumstances we walked/endured. May we always choose to let the circumstances impact us for the better and not for the worse.