Cultivating thankfulness in the midst of difficulty…
I’ve admired Rachel Wojnowarski for years. Her popular website, RachelWojo.com, is filled with wonderful ministry tools for going deeper spiritually. But over the past few months, I’ve been blessed to get to know this woman as a friend. And I can tell you, she is special!
When I found out that Rachel was publishing her first book with WaterBrook (my publisher), I couldn’t wait to read it. And when I read it, I couldn’t wait to endorse One More Step: Finding Strength When You Feel Like Giving Up.
I’ve asked Rachel to join us for a short Q & A to share her new book as well as some tips on cultivating thankfulness this Thanksgiving. No matter what might currently be going on in our lives.
Rachel, thanks for joining us! I know your life is crazy busy as a wife and mom of seven (yes, seven!) kids, but I’d love to hear how this book came to be…
Well, I didn’t initially choose the topic. I was ready to write another book on a “safer” but very relevant topic. However, every door closed to that book because God had a different plan. Ironically, as I was about to give up on writing a book altogether, I realized that God might want me to write about that very thing.
Because all of us, at one time or another, have felt like giving up. My editor loved the idea and so that became my goal – to write a book centered on biblical yet practical tools that empower people when they feel they can’t go on.
This book really came out of your own story and struggle. Thanks for letting me share this powerful testimony video with my readers…
Rachel and her daughter Taylor
Looking back over the difficult seasons in your life, what are some of the things you’ve held onto – what has helped you take “one more step”?
Well, first of all, I realized that even though I’d been raised in a Christian home, I needed a personal walk with God. I needed to grab onto Scripture so that it could grab hold of me. That’s why at the end of each chapter of One More Step, I provide exercises to help us focus on what God has to say in His Word:
Pillars of Truth – filled with foundational verses we need to have in our hearts because God’s Word will empower us more than anything else.
Stepping Stones – these prompts gives an opportunity to write out and pray through scripture, helping us apply what the verses say.
We’ve designed a free One More Step Prayer Journal [access resources here] to help you walk through these activities. The exercises may seem like extra work, but as we get God’s Word in our hearts it will change us even though our situations may not change.
When we’re in the middle of pain or difficulty, it can be hard to be grateful. And yet, over and over in the Bible we are called to “give thanks.” Why do you think gratitude is so important?
It’s the only way to find joy in the dark places of life. When you live with a child with terminal illness – when you’re faced each day with the reality of death – if you keep trying to wrap your mind around that, you’ll end up crumpled in a heap. We can’t process those kinds of things in our own power.
- Gratitude is a strategic way of living life in the midst of dark times.
- Giving thanks for what’s in front of us helps us focus on something besides everything that’s going wrong.
- Sometimes you have to search for things to be grateful for.
To be honest, that can be tough sometimes. Taylor is still eating by mouth, walking and breathing on her own, which is really a blessing. But I have to remind myself of that, because it can be a lot of work to help her do these things.
It’s important to realize that joy doesn’t come from our circumstances but from a heart that’s pure toward God.
That’s why I need to initiate gratitude. As I focus my heart on the Lord and thank Him for who He is, what He’s done in our lives and the future hope of heaven one day, my heart is strengthened and my joy is increased.
Thankfulness doesn’t come naturally, does it? I have to cultivate it in my heart and the hearts of my children. As a family, how do you focus on the gratitude part of Thanksgiving?
I try to do practical things. One tradition we have in our family is called a “Thanksgiving Tree.” We place several branches in a vase, and then over the course of several weeks we all write down what we’re thankful for on paper leaves.
Each night at dinner, we take time to pray over the things written on a few of the leaves. It’s really helped us focus on the blessings in our lives. [Learn “How to Make a Thankful Tree”]
As we close this interview, is there a verse that’s meant a lot to you, especially during the difficult times of life….
I have so many verses that have helped me. A lot of them are included in the “Pillar of Truth” sections of the book. It’s really hard to choose just one, but the verse that comes immediately to mind is one that I’ve held onto since childhood.
But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Romans 8:25
This verse is such a good reminder that God always shows up at the right time. No matter what we’re going through, we can trust God to give us the strength we need.
Amen, friend! Thanks so much for sharing your heart and your new book with us, Rachel. I really believe God is going to use this book in a special way.
Click here to learn more about Rachel Wojo and One More Step: Finding Strength When You Feel Like Giving Up
Click here to enter the “One More Step” GIVEAWAY I’m hosting at my Facebook page. (Update: This contest is no longer accepting entries)
“Give Thanks” Printable
To help cultivate gratitude, my good friend, Jana Kennedy-Spicer, created a Thanksgiving Printable just for you!
Print out the lists on light-brown cardstock and place one at each table setting. Have your guests list a few things they’re grateful for this Thanksgiving.
Invite each person to pray a short prayer concerning one of their blessings then invite them to use the list as a bookmark to remind them of their blessings all year long.
For more tips on maintaining a thankful heart, check out:
I’d love to hear from you! What are you most thankful for today?