NOVEMBER IS NOT my favorite month. It starts to get dark early, and I hate the dark. I also hate the cold. Both of these things make me want to stay in my pajamas all day and cuddle on the couch with my dog, but I must face my life. I have four human beings who depend on me to be sane and kind and responsible and wise. I feel my inadequacy in this child-rearing area every moment of every day. I see my time with them slipping through my fingers and I get scared it won’t be enough—I won’t teach them enough or give them all they need to navigate life.

Like my kids, my parents are getting older, which I also hate. I don’t see or talk to my friends enough and I miss them. My skin is awful. I’ve gained weight. Then there are my students and my job. And I won’t even go into finances—always a fun topic this time of year.

People on social media have started the annoying practice again of posting things they are thankful for each day. Even though I love Thanksgiving, I’m in no mood for thankful thoughts. Thus went my grumpy inner dialogue on the way to work today, till I remembered Jesus and the fact that I really am thankful He loves me no matter what.

It seems that one glimmer of thankfulness opened the door to more things I am thankful for. I started to compose a mental list. And guess what? My grumpy anxiety gave way to peace, which was followed by joy. —GWEN FORD FAULKENBERRY

Guideposts. 2016. Mornings with Jesus 2017: Daily Encouragement for Your Soul. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

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