The 20 Verses You Love Most: #12 This Is It

The 20 Verses You Love Most | Liz Curtis Higgs

If you’ve ever longed to know God’s will for your life, this is it.
Six words. Ready?

“Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks.”

That’s it. And yes, it is the same for everyone. If you’re thinking God’s will for your life is unique and personalized and not like anyone else’s, that’s just not how it works. Sorry. One will to rule them all.

But how you do these things, what shape and form they take, the ways you live them out—well, that makes these six words truly yours, as individual as your thumbprint.

Let’s take a look.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Maybe you have one or more of these verses posted around your house or hanging from your key chain or written on the front of your journal. All good, of course, but we gotta be careful not to reduce God’s Word to a slogan. “Rejoice Always” can end up sounding like some happy-happy-joy-joy Christian platitude, dished out like candy. “Don’t worry. Be happy.”

The truth is, God is asking us to do something that’s not merely difficult—it’s impossible to do on our own strength.

Rejoice Always

“Rejoice always,…” 1 Thessalonians 5:16

I’m an upbeat kind of woman. I usually look on the bright side and try to think positively. My glass is at least half full. (Actually, it’s overflowing, but we’ll save that for another post.)

So a command from God like ”be glad-hearted” (AMP) sounds like an easy assignment, right? Keep smiling. Be joyful. ”Celebrate always” (VOICE).

The rejoice part is easy. The always part, not so much.

Even so, God is asking us to “be cheerful no matter what” (MSG). No matter what kind of day we’ve had. No matter what’s happening on CNN. No matter what our hormones are up to. No matter what someone just said to us. No matter what’s for dinner (or isn’t).

Lord, you’re kidding, right? You don’t really expect us to ”be full of joy all the time” (NLV)?

Yes, he does. And here’s how he makes it possible.

”Be happy in your faith” (PHILLIPS) means despite all that’s going on around us, we can be happy, joyful, content in Christ. Our faith keeps us anchored. Not always silly and laughing, but definitely solid and certain.

“Joy be with you” (KNOX) reminds us that the Holy Spirit, the author of joy, is always with us. Beside us. Inside us. He makes our joy real. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…” (Galatians 5:22). If the Holy Spirit is in you, then so is joy, with love on one side and peace on the other.

Joy isn’t a feeling and it’s not something you can fake. Joy begins with knowing you’re not alone and realizing you have somewhere to turn. Always.

Women Praying Together

“…pray continually,…” 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Pray? Okay, we’ve got this one. We know how, we know when and where, and we know what to do. Close our eyes. Bow our heads. Maybe take hands if we’re with people. ”Talk to God” (WE).

Except prayer is more about listening than it is about spilling out requests. David wrote, “I will listen to what God the Lord says” (Psalm 85:8). When God tells us to “pray without ceasing” (ASV), he’s also saying, “Listen to me all the time!”

Just like that last little two-word verse telling us to rejoice “always,” this one calls us to pray “regularly” (CJB), “perseveringly” (AMP), “constantly” (HCSB).

Lord, this really is impossible. I have things to do, places to go, people to meet. How can I pray all the time?

Here’s how: by redefining prayer as an ongoing conversation. That means I don’t have to close my eyes or bow my head or hold hands. I start right in. And another thing… I never want to be irreverent, never want to take prayer lightly. But since the Lord wants us to ”never stop praying” (CEV), I’m thinking that’s how it could work.

Gratitude on a Stone

“…give thanks…” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Ann Voskamp wrote the book on this. Really. One Thousand Gifts is about giving thanks, being grateful, living a life of gratitude, seeing everything from God’s hand as a gift.

To be honest, some days it’s easier to count all the things that went wrong, instead of adding up all the things that went right. Ann would say (eek!) count both, give thanks for both.

That’s what the Bible says too. “Keep thanking God” (CEV) and ”always be thankful” (ERV). My favorite translation is “do ye thankings” (WYC).

(Now that’s a sign that would get your attention each morning: Do Ye Thankings. I’m on it.)

All right then. I decide to be intentional about expressing gratitude. To write down, “Thank you, Lord, for…” The list is long. Gratitude begins to swell inside me, threatening to pour out my eyes.

Then God adds this.

Traffic Jam

“…in all circumstances;…” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Wait a minute. We’re already joyful around the clock, praying nonstop, and writing down all the things we’re thankful for. Now God is asking us to be joyful, prayerful, grateful “in every situation”” (CEB), “no matter what the circumstances may be” (AMP)?

Wow, Lord.

Each one of us can think of situations and circumstances where it would be nearly impossible to say, “Thank you.” This seems too hard, even unfair.

Surely you don’t mean this, Lord.

He does.

God's Will

“…for this is God’s will…” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Now I’m mad. No, I mean it. I’ve lost too many friends. I’ve seen too many tragedies. I’ve known too much pain, and people I love have known much worse.

How do you expect us to do this, Lord? This joyful, prayerful, grateful business?

Make no mistake, “This is what God wants you to do” (CEV) and “this is how God wants you to live” (ERV). No way around it. No escape hatch, no easy exit.

The answer is woven between the syllables: “you will be working out the will of God” (PHILLIPS).

The good news? You will not be the one doing this. God will be doing this through you. Let go of have to. Embrace willing to. God’s will, not yours.

This isn’t for everybody. God knows the whole world isn’t going to be able to do this. Only those who belong to his Son and have his Spirit working inside them. Only those who want to experience the fullness of this word.


“…for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

You “who are united with the Messiah” (CJB), you who live “your life in union with Christ Jesus” (GNT). It’s God’s will to do all of the above and more in you because you are in him.

I’ve been walking (stumbling, crawling) with the Lord for thirty years, and I’ve come to realize most of us are still making faith in God all about us. We’re still stuck, trying to keep the Law instead of learning to trust his grace.

Law says, “If you do this, God will do his part.”
Grace says, “Because God has already done his part, you can do this.”

It’s a question of who goes first, who leads by example, and who ultimately does the work. Jesus, Jesus, and Jesus.

You can live in God’s will “because you believe in Christ Jesus” (NIRV). The deepest joys, the richest prayer life, the most heartfelt thanks are possible because it isn’t going to be you doing it, it’s going to be God working through you.

Thank. You. Lord.

Now it’s your turn

So much for three short, sweet, simple verses, eh?

Have you experienced God’s joy in the midst of sorrow? Have you found a way to pray (and especially, to listen) in the midst of a noisy world? Were you able to give thanks in a difficult circumstance?

We’d love to hear your experience. Just add your response under Post a Comment below. Bless you for taking a moment to add your voice to the conversation.

Next Wednesday, we’ll hang out in the New Testament and unpack #11 of the verses you love. Lots of people chose it as their favorite. Can’t wait to find out if it’s yours!

Your sister, Liz

Your Sister in Christ, Liz Curtis Higgs

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53 Responses to The 20 Verses You Love Most: #12 This Is It

  1. Linda Casella June 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    Pray continually is something I have learned to do. I read a book on praying and it talked about arrow prayers. Shooting prayers up all day for whatever is on your mind. I do this all day. In the world we live in it is all most always continually.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 5, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

      I have a friend who talks a lot about arrow prayers. Considering how poorly I did in archery at school, I might do better with basketball prayers! Thanks for sharing, Linda.

  2. marianne mc donald June 5, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    Giving thanks grounds me and reminds me that God is in control all the time. Praying reconnect me to God when it feels as if I am losing the plot. Love Rom 15v13

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 5, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

      Oh yes, Marianne, love that one too. If I’d done the Top 30 Verses, Romans 15:13 would have been among them: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Such encouraging words!

  3. Jeannine Hogan June 5, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    I think that praying involves not only talking and listening but also looking. I think this makes “every circumstance” more possible. If you are looking for God’s fingerprints on everything the burdens are lighter, his presence is more tangible, joy is evident. He is there no matter how dark things seem.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 5, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

      Well said, Jeannine. Talking, listening, looking. New plan!

      • Jeannine Hogan June 5, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

        Liz, I just know from experience. I was there the moment that my mother went home to be with Jesus. She died in my arms with a smile on her lips. The Lord’s prayer was playing in the background. She looked so beautiful. Joy, sorrow, relief, awe, love, peace were all rolled up in that moment. I never felt so close to heaven and he walked very close beside me after. It is an experience that I will draw strength from for the rest of my life.

  4. Michelle Roaque June 5, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    I would have to say it is Giving thanks in all situations and circumstances. When my brother passed away almost 5 years ago it was a very sad time. We grew up together with some happy and some sad but I remember the happy the most now. I remember I went to church just a few short days after he passed. I am on the worship team and I felt that I had to Praise the Lord because for one thing I knew my brother was with Him. Another reason was that I knew that even if I cried while I sang I would be pouring our my praise to Him who loves me, comforts me, strengthens me and is ALWAYS there for me. I knew that I had to honor my Lord and my brother by giving it all and laying it all at my Jesus’ feet. It really was amazing how wonderful I felt after the worship service. We cannot walk by our feelings because they change so much from minute to minute, we must always walk hand in hand with the one who gave it all for us.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 5, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

      What a testimony to your faith and God’s strength, Michelle. Such a tragedy, to lose your brother. Thanking God that all the happy memories have remained.

  5. Kay Martinez June 5, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    Thank you, Liz. I *needed* so badly to hear what you said today. God is so good that He had me find your blog & sign up for your emails last week! Things are & have been difficult for my husband & I. We see the Lord working in our lives & have so much to be thankful for but on hard days like today, when a whole lot seems really wrong, it’s a blessing to be reminded of this. Today, He used you to do so. Thank you!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 5, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

      Faithful God, dear Kay. I’m glad you found your way here. May this hard day end in a good night’s sleep and a better day tomorrow. Praying now as I post, sis.

  6. Teresa June 5, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    I am still growing in my walk as well. I have been facing MS for 18 years, and I can say I am truly thankful for the changes, challenges, and opportunities that are in my life as a result. May we continue to follow God’s will every day.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 6, 2013 at 9:34 am #

      A beautiful testimony, Teresa, to God’s faithfulness and yours. Praising him that you’ve chosen “better” over “bitter”.

  7. cherrie June 5, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

    Dear Liz,
    recently, i lost amber my dog. I knew the time was coming and asked the LORD for his came on Easter morning. God gave me peace thru the entire ordeal. Joy was there and sorrow too. I cannot explain it but grace.
    it will happen to everyone, be it a pet, friend or family. But the joy and closeness will be

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 6, 2013 at 9:36 am #

      We lost one of our precious pets this spring. Very sad indeed, Cherrie. I’m so glad the joy of the Lord lightened your sorrow.

  8. LINDA LEEDY June 5, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    WOW! I never saw it until today…..

    “The answer is woven between the syllables: ‘you will be working out the will of God’ (PHILLIPS). You will not be the one doing this. God will be doing this through you. Let go of have to. Embrace willing to. God’s will, not yours.”

    Willing to is Gods will to…through me…WOW!

  9. Cheryl Ricker June 5, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    Great reminder, Liz! Having met you at Mount Hermon, I LOVE your joyful, positive attitude. Sometimes I giggle thinking about how you asked, “Do we have any snorters in the audience?” And how everyone pointed to me. Guess what? I’m learning to be thankful for my snort. Neat, eh? I’m particularly thankful for the laughter it brings. That’s what you and my snort both have in common–the resulting ripples of laughter. Blessings on your day!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 6, 2013 at 9:37 am #

      Dear Sister Snorter,
      So glad my joyful attitude doesn’t wear you out! (I feel certain there are people in my audiences who roll their eyes.) But given the choice of being pessimistic or positive…I’ll take positive!

      • Cindy Childs October 24, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

        please keep up the positive, I get so much uplifting as a woman from your materials, I would love to take lots of women to see you somewhere here in Lexington, S.C. Your words about aging simply tickle my heart and I m able to change my outlook to a more christly way.It sometimes feelss like you are talking about my life with your sense of humor. I m now almost sixty and dealing with pain everyday( not easy to do after over six months) I needed an uplift so I revisited Mirror, Mirror and checked your blog thanks for bein there. I know I have to “do me Thankins” and trust his grace.I know God surely must have a will in my life for this pain which is degenerative. I must trust that.

  10. Pamela Gary June 5, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

    Precious Liz. I’m so thankful for you and your insights. Today’s lesson, like all of them, touched me. To be thankful in all things isn’t always easy. Nine months ago my sweet Dad passed away. Then the first of October, my wonderful mother in law was infected with West Nile and we lost her in early December. Oh, my heart aches with these losses. I thank God, though, that I know where they are. Faith tells me that they will be standing next to God and welcome me home one day. Every time I think of how I miss them, I instead think of them in paradise. Walking and talking with Him. Being reunited with their loved ones. This life is temporary. But eternity is sweeter with them there. So I try to push my selfishness away and focus instead on His promise.
    Thank you, again, for your encouragement. It’s a balm for the soul of this pilgrim. May His blessings pour over you always.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 6, 2013 at 9:40 am #

      One loss is difficult enough. Two in close succession is extra hard. I’m very sorry, Pamela. How like God, to use this time of sorrow to reveal eternity’s riches to you.

      • Pamela Gary June 6, 2013 at 9:52 pm #

        Amen. It’s all about faith, isn’t it? He’s always merciful and loving.
        Thank you ma’am.

  11. Carol Sumner June 5, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    On April 23 of this year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Completely out of the blue, no family history, my doctor nor I could feel the lump, but it certainly was there. Shining bright and ugly on the mammogram films. So I began an unexpected journey, but certainly not alone, for the “one who goes before me, the one who stands behind, the God of angel armies is always by my side”. That morning I woke up with that song blaring loudly (in the nicest sort of way) in my mind. I knew it would not be a normal day. I must say, no shout, that God has indeed walked by my side through everything so far, and I am confident He will continue to go with me. It has been an incredible time full of peace and joy in the midst of the storm. It has caused me to grow in my faith and grow closer to my God. The prayers of my family, friends, and my friends’s friends who I do not even know have given me such strength and encouragement. I hope to be able to pass that blessing on to others who may need it as well. Praise God from whom all blessing flow!! Even the ones we think are bad in the beginning can grow to be a beautiful expression of His love.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 6, 2013 at 9:43 am #

      I’m blown away at the many ways God is working through your journey, Carol. Your last statement is profound. Only someone who has been through an experience like yours can truly understand that. Thanks for sharing.

    • Roz Willis June 6, 2013 at 11:51 am #

      I am an eight year breast cancer survivor. Tumor was missed by MD’s and mammogram until it was 10 cm. But God healed me. He walked with me and my family through the entire process. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy but God did draw us all closer to him. God is always faithful. Passing the blessings on to others is just one of the joys of experiencing the trials of life. God bless you.

  12. Cathy Gross June 5, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Our family trials the last two years are impressive. My 79 year old father had an abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, my 77 year old mother had a cancer surgery and radiation, my forty-five year old bachelor brother broke his neck with significant damage and other chronic debilitating diseases, I had three back surgeries in eleven months and lost my job and my brother had another accident with another significant neck injury and further damage. Of course all the medical issues resulted in multiple trips to medical facilities hours away, dr appointments and lawyer appoints as well as outpatient physical therapy.
    The wonder of it all is that though we didn’t understand it, we had peace in the middle of it all. My brother came to Jesus and others were able to see that the God we worship is very real and shines in the midst of the storm. Some days all we could utter was the Name of Jesus…but that was more than enough. When we could barely hold on, He reached down and held onto us. He is worthy to be praised!
    Liz, thank you for this study, it is precious!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 6, 2013 at 9:44 am #

      So many challenges, Cathy…yet so much good fruit! Praising God with you for all he is doing in your family.

  13. Tanya T. Warrington June 5, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    God has faithfully carried me through many trials. The most resent was an all day everyday migraine for over 3 1/2 years. (You read that right, years). The one thing I could count on being able to do each day was to pray and let God hold me close. On the days I could read for a little bit, God used the Bible, Streams in the Desert and When God says Wait to bring me comfort and reassurance. Once during the migraine a friend took me to a prayer ministry group and I was showered with messages of how pleased God was with me and that he was preparing good things for my future. God is reliable and loving beyond our ability to imagine. He carried me through once again.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 6, 2013 at 9:46 am #

      To my knowledge, Tanya, I’ve had one real migraine in my life, it lasted just 3 HOURS and I thought I was quite literally going to die. I cannot imagine bearing that pain for 3+ YEARS. Your books of encouragement were well chosen. Trusting you are through this trial and experiencing less pain now.

  14. Linda Akehurst June 5, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    Good morning Liz, greetings from ‘Down Under’
    Thanks again for your faithfulness in presenting the Word of God.
    Only last evening we were recounting the many major challenges and changes we have faced in the last 7 years and yet we have continued to see the loving care and provision of our Heavenly Father. ‘The JOY of the Lord IS my strength’ I know He strengthens you too.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 6, 2013 at 9:47 am #

      Thanks for sharing, Linda, and blessings to all our sisters in the Southern Hemisphere!

  15. patti iverson June 5, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    Sometimes the very bestest “rejoicing, praying, thanking” times for me have been when tears roll down my chubby cheeks and the weeping seems as it will never end and the kleenex box is gettin’ low… The Holy Spirit is sooooooo there with me, for me, and on me that it’s rather inconceivable that this is a precious time–my joyful conversation of gratitude time with my Lord. Ohhh, but those are the precious times and I’d never trade a one of ’em, not even to have had the crisis, issue, problem or whatever it was go away. Nope! Not fer nuthin’! <3 Thanks for helping us think thru these dear words of God, Liz!

  16. Sandra June 5, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    I grew up in a dysfunctional home….my Mom was very ill but my parents stayed married and even had fun. My Dad showed us how to weather a storm — not with anger but with perseverance. He taught us how to be happy and how to be grateful. There was not a lot of public prayer in our house, but there was behind closed doors. We were a church going family and our church supported us even though we were a mess. My Dad taught us that we can choose how we deal with adversity. I know now that God protected us because my Mom could not always do the job. God allowed me to be joyous, even though there was trouble in my home. Everyone knew about my home life — small town — but maybe God working through us, showing that joy is possible, even in adversity — gave strength to others? Thanks Liz!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 6, 2013 at 9:51 am #

      Sandra, I think you can count on this to be true: “maybe God working through us, showing that joy is possible, even in adversity — gave strength to others,” Absolutely!

  17. Sharyn Moore June 5, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

    Help, Thanks, Wow as Anne Lamott phrases it.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 6, 2013 at 9:50 am #

      That book is on my nightstand, Sharyn. Eager to dive in when the dust clears a bit at the Higgs House. So glad this week’s post was meaningful for you!

  18. Marge June 6, 2013 at 12:21 am #

    Last Thursday my husband and I attended a celebration of life for a young man of 41 who is now in heaven with the Lord. Steve had brain cancer, during the days of suffering he continued to Praise the Lord and encouraged everyone that visited him.

    He lived his life 1000% for the Lord, yet it is how he died that is being remembered the most. He never complained, he enjoyed every second of each day and he always had a song of praise to sing.

    In life he was an inspiration, in death he was a true testimony for our Lord Jesus. Steve has shown so many of us how to experance I Thes. 5:18.

    Help me Lord to be more like you.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 6, 2013 at 9:53 am #

      May we all have a positive exit strategy like Steve’s in place, and so make our move to heaven with such grace!

  19. Tolu June 6, 2013 at 1:36 am #

    I remember trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant in the nineties, the easiest way to overcome the disappointment at the start of yet another period was to thank God because it represented the beginning of another cycle and therefore it was a new opportunity to try again. That was when “the peace that passes all understanding” would fill my heart. Eventually we adopted our beautiful daughter as a 2week old baby, she is now 13 and has given us so much joy. It really is possible to thank God in all circumstances by His Grace! Bless you Liz!

  20. Jenn Taylor June 6, 2013 at 7:51 am #

    Thank you Liz for reminding me to keep prayer continual. Lately I have felt that I was not close to God, our church in a small town in Maine has dwindled away and finding another church has been difficult. My widowed sister attends church with us and my husband and I feel we have let her down with these changes in some way. We are in a church as of this Spring that has been very warm and welcoming to us. I’m not sure how this has played into my feeling distant from God, but I need to keep praying as you say, as the bible says “if you come closer to God, he will come closer to you”. My husband and I went to the alter 7 years ago together and our lives have been enriched so much, like you wrote about the Grace. God’s blessings on you, I love your books!

  21. Linda H June 6, 2013 at 9:20 am #

    I have the “pray without ceasing ” down. Seeing this verse before me I am struck with how those prayers are being affected by my focus on my circumstances, complaining continually instead of praising. I am going to seek after the joy that only the Lord can give and change how I view my circumstances. As always Liz, thanks again for opening the doors wider so we may see God’s word up close. Lifting you up in prayer.

  22. Julie Sunne June 6, 2013 at 9:30 am #

    This is perhaps my favorite studies from the 20 so far, Liz (and one of my favorite verses). You’ve done a masterful job of exposing the reality of what this verse looks like for Christians. I’ve come a long way in praying continually and am making progress in the giving thanks part through Ann’s Joy Dare. Rejoicing always is perhaps the most difficult for me. And certainly, “all,” “continually,” “without ceasing,” and “in all circumstances” are stumbling blocks to the flesh. …but for the strength of the Lord.

  23. Karen June 6, 2013 at 9:46 am #

    A few weeks ago I was terribly humbled by a friend who has learned how to live “give thanks in all circumstances.” The night before Mother’s Day I was feeling very sorry for myself. I have 5 grown children who all live at least 10 hours away and none of them had remembered to send a card. I knew there would be phone calls the next day and my husband would want to take me to lunch after church, but really, couldn’t any of them remember the day ahead of time? It was with this attitude that I was perusing Facebook and my friend pops up in my chat window. My friend has 6 children… except that she buried one of them 4 years ago after a 7 year battle with cancer and her 4th child died of SIDS nearly 20 years ago. She somehow sensed my woeful attitude immediately and wrote words of encouragement on my heart. She has learned that “this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” She will be the first to tell you that none of what she’s endured was through her own strength. She’s made a choice to “be joyful always”. I was completely humbled and thankful for her loving kindness that night. God used her to remind me how to give thanks, even when I feel forgotten. God never forgets. I want my response to daily be “do ye thankings”. Thanks, Liz, for insight into these verses. We all need them!

  24. Heidi June 6, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    In conversation with my brother yesterday, I mentioned how life changes when you morph into a constant state of prayer. It’s the talking, then the listening for that still, quiet whisper that keeps me going. I’ll never get use to the beautiful miracles that happen every day, that I see now, being in tune with prayer.

  25. Valli June 6, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    Liz … I soooo look forward to your Wednesday Study … ALWAYS a time of refreshing … that mid-week ‘lift’ to spur us on … halleluyur (yup, did that one on purpose)! This past year has been a real struggle, probably the most difficult experience I have ever been through, as I suffered a mild stroke on May 22, 2012, home alone. Amazingly, nothing about me ‘on the outside’ changed, but things inside my brain sure did … and so did some other things, over time. Apparently, it is much like ‘the pebble in the pond’ effect … it slowly ripples out, not all at the same time. You don’t always see the repercussions immediately; some yes, but it can take from 18-24 months to recoup. Because there was nothing ‘visibly’ wrong with me after stumbling around to get my equilibrium back, holding a coffee cup without spilling it, and becoming fatigued within a couple of hours (just a ‘few’ of the things I experienced), the expectation and response from others was shocking. Friends, family, and even (yup), the church fell away like flies, almost immediately. I was stunned … BUT, I knew that the LORD had not abandoned me, and it was a time in which I have learned (and still am) to COMPLETELY trust in Him, TOTALLY … no ‘ifs, ands or buts’! At first, it felt as though everything I had ever learned in my 23 years (24 next month :D) as a Christian had disappeared. BUT, He has helped restore what had been stored up there … and some beautiful ‘extras’ … it has become more intimate, actually … just ‘one-on-one’. It is a slow process … ongoing, but it is coming back, and, whether people are in my life or not, I sure know He is! I have learned to talk AND listen even closer, so that I don’t miss anything … and having to write things down as it can slip out of my memory very quickly. I’m only half-way through that 18-24 month ‘restoration’ period, but I know, with all my heart, that I have NEVER been alone in all that time, even for a fleeting second. I know who speaks to me in my dreams, I know who guides my thoughts when I cannot (some days my head still can feel like a balloon, just full of air), and when I struggle with a mouth full of marbles … all I need to do is read His Word … and it comes out clear as can be! I, too, want my response to daily be ‘do ye thankings’ (I would like to have that hanging on a wall). God bless you, Liz … you are an inspiration … you have a special ‘gifted’ way in sharing our LORD with each of us! <3

  26. Hannah June 7, 2013 at 5:35 am #

    Thank you for how you broke this verse down. It was exactly what I needed to hear. It’s the always part that gets me but with God always is possible!

  27. Kathy Griffith June 7, 2013 at 10:46 am #

    This spoke to my heart today. Thank you, Liz.

  28. Michelle June 7, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    When I am feeling desolate, things have hit rock bottom and the last thing I feel like doing is being thankful, the first thing I do is remember all the times that God has been there by my side, even those times when I could not take another step and He has carried me. Remembering takes my focus off the situation and the hopelessness of it and turns my eyes toward Jesus. There have been some pretty horrific times in my life when I have wondered “why me” but each and every time I just have to remember what he says and the promise that comes with it – “I have called you daughter, your loving Father is here” How can I not be thankful when I have someone who loves me that much?
    Thank you Liz for the reminder that prayer is more about listening- I am praying that I will be like David “I will listen to what God the Lord says”.

  29. Esnath Ndlovu June 7, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

    Wow i have to pray more

  30. Judy Fairservice June 12, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

    Liz, I so appreciated those three gems of God’s will. I have had many painful operations including a breast cancer. I finally learned I wasn’t expected to be thankful for them but to be thankful IN them. The Lord was with me IN them. He gives strength to endure the pain and love his fellowship. I so loved what you had to say and have shared this study with others. Thanks so much Liz.

  31. Donna Lee July 1, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    I have in my “old” age tried to simplify. Those verses have been my “theme song” for several years. Although I can’t sing a lick, I have put them to a sing song kind of rythm to “remind me to remember!!” Really, I’m not that old, and senile, 61is the new 41 right ?
    I, too have had heartbreak during my life, as all do, losing parents at a young age, illness, money problems. I woke up aroung 50, and finally realized, these are all just part of the Life God gave us.,simple as that, He gives us the strength and Grace to get through these life experiences, some more tragic and heartbreaking than others, God has put us on the same stage, same show, different actors. Each day is something to Rejoice, good or bad. The Praying and Thanking part, go hand in hand in my little ditty, I thank God for hearing my prayers as ‘scattered” as they sometimes are. We have a saying called “monkey brain” in our small group bible study. I am usually ‘the accused”because when I pray out loud I get very nervous, and my thoughts get “scatter brained” But I thank God that he will take my scatterd prayers!!
    Liz, I can’t tell you how much I am enoying your emails, books, sense of humor, and the fact that our paths have crossed.. Rejoicing, and giving thanks that our group attended your Women of Joy conference in Louisville. Blessings, Donna

  32. Susan Ireland August 24, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    Rejoice , Pray and Give are all things we have to learn from the Holy Spirit. I have learned so much just talking to people from other countries – They humble me, they give all 3 words of instruction a new meaning and have changed my life ! One thing I have learned is to break the Lord’s prayer down , stop praying like a robot — there is a difference in knowing and feeling. God wants us to talk to him every minute of the day from the first your eyes open and last when they close for the day, I rejoice when strangers feel safe to talk to me, I feel honored I can pray and move mountains for others , I look for ways to give , even a smile , some people you smile at look shocked , you could be the only smile they have seen in a long time. I love you Liz , you are a woman of God and very real.