Why, you ask?
Because if I had never experienced offense, then I'd never know the depths and the true meaning of unconditional love. If I'd never been misunderstood I wouldn't have known what confidence in Him felt like. If I had never known sleepless nights, I wouldn't appreciate what rest feels like. If it wasn't for a lack of peace I wouldn't know the peace that surpasses all understanding. If I didn't know lack then I wouldn't know God to be my Jehovah Jireh - the God who sees all. If I never transitioned, then I'd never know what it feels like to walk on water and see the manifestation of God's Word prevail in my life. If there was no family issues, then I wouldn't value what I have in family as much as I do today - and know and understand how He's a restorer of relationships. If employers never said no, then when the "yes" came, I wouldn't know what that praise in my kitchen felt like when it finally came through. If I didn't ever experience not knowing who I am, I would have never stirred up the gifts that were inside of me or been confident in God's voice to know that He has named me! If I had never had God read my tears, I wouldn't know the laughter that's good for the soul and that the joy of the Lord is my strength. If I never had loss in my life then I'd never know or understand what God was trying to add to me and my family. And if I never saw near death experiences, and negative thinking - I wouldn't know Him to be a keeper and a healer!
And THIS is exactly why I'm grateful. Because He restores. He revives. He resurrects. He IS God. And He IS Good. And I'm more grateful today than I was just yesterday! He's put together all of these broken pieces - so intricately woven together according to the hairs numbered on my head, and the way He made me - fearlessly, and wonderfully - and it's the way He's made you. Unique, chosen, set apart, peculiar, lively, abundant, bountiful, overflowing with His goodness, His riches, His kindness, His love. And I promise you, if you've experienced any of the above, you know. You know exactly why I'm grateful. And you are too.
This is God's promise to you in Joel 2:
"The Lord says, "I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts. It was I who sent this great destroying army against you. Once again you will have all the food you want, and you will praise the Lord your God who does these miracles for you. Never again will my people be disgraced." (Joel 2: 24-25, NLT)
So no matter where you are in this process called life - be obedient; never lose sight of the fact that all things are working for your good; and remember to be grateful in all things. Train yourself to always have a praise on your lips, to always think positive. Your outlook can change your outcome! Happy Thanksgiving!