November brings awareness to thankfulness more than any other time of year, at least for Americans. (Except maybe Christmas depending on how we position the holiday in our hearts.) 

I see thankfulness in meme’s, in blog content, in online spaces, and community gatherings. It’s almost expected for a Christian writer to write on thankfulness or gratitude this month. Part of me wants to rebel and not write on thankfulness just because, but that’s not a great motivation. 😜

As I think about thankfulness (and gratitude), I’m compelled to write about something else. A concept related and pertinent to thankfulness.


Cultivate Remembrance When it's Hard to Be Thankful

Remembrance plays a key role in being able to express and experience gratitude. 

When I first tried out the process which became the Cultivate Connection sheet, I included a gratitude section after writing out scripture verses because I wanted to remember there are always things I can be grateful for.

Without realizing it, gratitude became a filter to levy the pain of hard things while exploring God things in His word.

In Unleash: Heart & Soul Care Sheets, the gratitude section is also a space to cultivate remembrance. You might answer this section with something you’re grateful for, but it might be hard to come up with something when you’re processing difficult situations. By considering how God has shown up in the past, for us and others, we make visible the presence and power of God which we can be grateful for.

Remembrance asks us to look back and acknowledge God in our lives.

To remember He is God and He is good. To remember who He is. How He’s shown up. Where He’s been active and how He’s walked with us as we are active in the growth of our own lives.

Scripture reveals remembrance as important throughout scripture.

  • God gives us the Holy Spirit, who reminds us of God’s Word. (John 14:26)
  • The act of communion in church reminds us of God’s immense love and sacrifice. (Luke 22:19)
  • Joshua was told to put up twelve stones of remembrance after the Israelites crossed the Jordan River to Canaan. (Joshua 4)
  • what verses would you add? there are many

Cultivating remembrance helps us in more ways than I can express today. It impacts our brain, body, and spirit in ways we are often unaware of. How we remember and what we remember changes how we feel and what we think.

Our bodies remember what our minds forget. This is another topic for another day. But it’s important to know that sometimes we react because of past experiences that impact our present. God wants to bring healing to these areas.

Our testimony sometimes forgets what God wants us to remember. God is always at work to bring us closer to Him, to know Him intimately, and to live fully alive because of him. I know I can get caught up in the pain I’ve endured and stay focused on that alone. It denies the possibility that God was present when I couldn’t feel it. That he grieves, too. That he’s sad when harm occurs.


Here are a few simple options for approaching this week’s challenge. Choose one that resonates best with you.

Set aside time with God to make space for remembrance. 

  • Ask God to reveal His presence in the coming days.
  • When you notice it, pause. Breathe deep. Smile and thank Him.
  • Write it down, even if it’s in a place you won’t remember later. The process helps you remember

If you’d like to explore this concept further, consider one of the following activities.

Ask God to bring to mind some experience from your past where you need to know His presence was with you. This could be a positive or painful memory.

  • Prepare by making time to feel the feelings that surface.
  • Consider a friend you can reach out to for support afterward. This could be for sharing pain or excitement.
  • Use Unleash Sheets to work through this process more deeply.

As you study scripture this week, ask God what He wants you to remember about it.

  • Maybe it’s about who He is and how He works.
  • You might feel led to memorize passages of scripture that comes to mind later in life.
  • It may be that as you read one portion of scripture another verse comes to mind. Notice it and write it down.
  • There are numerous things that could occur in this process. Or not. The challenge makes room to see what God might do.

When things get hard in the coming days, perhaps through interactions with others or because of stress or something else, take a few deep breaths and remind yourself who God is and how/why you love Him.

  • Be honest with God about what’s hard and what fears you have.
  • Choose to bring verses to mind that remind you of God’s goodness, faithfulness, love, etc.
  • Let Him know what’s in your heart, including your choice to praise Him when it’s hard to do.

**Plan in advance by finding a few verses that reveal God’s presence with His people and write them down today.**

May your heart be encouraged and your mind renewed as you cultivate remembrance.

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