About the Author

Angela Nazworth is a shame-fighting storyteller who writes mostly about the beauty of grace, faith, friendship, vulnerability and community. She is a wife and a mother of two. Angela's also an encourager, a lover of good books, coffee, girl's night out, sunshine, and waterfalls. In the 15 years since she...

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  1. I admire your resolve to be thankful in the midst of pain. That’s so incredibly difficult to do… For me at least. I know it’s easier to says thanks when prayers are answered or life runs smoothly. It’s a reminder that I grow closer to Him and trust is built and deepens when I say ‘thank you’ when it hurts.

  2. Angela,
    I had a stretch of time in which I went through a divorce, lost my dad, my dog died and I had incredible knee pain (which later required surgery). All I needed was to lose my truck, and I’d have the makings of a good country western song :). I can say that with a smile now, but the mental and emotional pain I went through was horrific. Keeping focused on my blessings was the thin strand that kept me connected to God. God knows that we NEED to thank Him, not because He necessarily needs our thanks, but because something changes in us when we focus on, and count our blessings. He is an awesome and loving God that way…and is worthy of our thanks and praise!
    Blessings,
    Bev

  3. In tenpin bowling in the beginning years there was no tape over the thumb or the two fingers so we bled. And bowled on. It hurt like mad and the scores showed the slow down.

    In London in the 2 World Games I had a terrible cough but could not take anything to stop the coughing. To make it worse my thumb bled at both sides so I started to apply a covering over both sides of my thumb. It hurt so bad but I persevered. I finished 13th in the Masters.

    Once in Korea I finished second though my finger split. It was like a cut all the way into the bone. I pulled that 15 pound ball so hard. I put a covering over it but it still hurt and finished second.

    The LORD was with me all the way.

    After all of this the Japanese came out with tape for all the two fingers and thumb and I just used it and pulled and yanked that ball so hard and no more bleeding nor pain. I had an advantage. I did not perspire in my hands. No perspiration so the bandage would not slip off. 🙂

    The LORD has been with me through all my games and HE has been good to me.

    I never complained though through the pain.

  4. On September 23, 2012, my dad was killed by a joy rider who ran a stop sign, hitting my dad who was on his motorcycle, and who then fled the scene. I remember, while on the plane ride to my mom, consciously deciding to find things to be thankful for. And I did. Throughout the entire ordeal, the memorial services, helping my mom through all the insurance and paperwork, the pre-trial hearings and sentencing hearing, etc. there were so many things to be thankful for, mostly sweet, caring people who made that awful time bearable. God is good, all the time.

  5. In early July of 2001…….we’d been preparing to celebrate the 19th birthday of our middle child, in a week……..when instead we were in an ICU room at HCMC , after he’d fallen at his college $$$ job, and was on mechanical support. His diagnosis was not rushed to, but there it was in our faces….along with his friends, their families, our families, my family in Christ…..brain death. Somehow the water running as I washed my hands in the ladies room, triggered my weeping, my knees buckled after the long night vigil…..we were slashed and shattered. God’s tenderness and presence in my anguish, brought me gently to …
    THANKYOU in my heart ( a believer since that son was four, he since he was five ) that the Lord had trusted me to carry and raise Brian. No one else got to live with and enjoy this fine young man….or spent hours on knees praying for him when he was 15 minutes late for curfew. ( learned at his funeral luncheon that he gave rides home to friends who were experimenting with alcohol those nights. Praise GOD for his being there, and being responsible. Another THANKYOU )
    The THANK in me has been, since that night….ever equal in measure to my pain. I have my faithful Lord, Abba…….walkingwithme always to praise and give Glory to, for that <3

  6. There’s so many lessons to be learned in this – life throws us some pretty nasty stuff sometimes, but we can persevere through it with the strength Jesus provides, even if it doesn’t quite look like we first envisioned it. I love that you encouraged your daughter to finish the race, despite all the challenges!

  7. I am just thankful for this post!! It has come at a time when i feel its a constant struggle…..and i am not winning(?) accomplishing ANYTHING….but i too have helped out my daughters GOTR program…WHICH I LOVE and has led me to other 5k runs which both my daughter and myself STILL participate in….the other two girls are doing 1 mile runs which is AWESOME! I have to continually remind myself of thankful things during these struggles and i am failing right now…I am printing off your post and keep it near me to remind me to continually be thankful for ALL THINGS…thank you

  8. I recently had a horrible, horrible, back issue…I tried to remember to notice and give thanks for the mini miracles I was experiencing. I could have easily felt ingratitude for the situation, but I felt His touch and could not forget it.

  9. Congratulations! Our family participated in the Girls on the Run 5K this weekend too. 27 degrees, much walking, and more than a few tears were involved. And afterwards, medals and hot chocolate and my girl’s mile-wide smile, which made it all worthwhile:)

  10. Thank you, Angela, for sharing a wonderful example of how gratitude lifts us out of our circumstances even as we continue to struggle through them.

    A few years ago our financial situation fell apart during the Great Recession. We closed a family business, sold our home, and moved to be closer to one of our children. My husband had known the severity of the situation and actually felt some relief along with his pain; I, on the other hand, was handed the news without much warning. It was shocking!

    My first reaction was to thank God for my husband who had worked diligently all of his life to provide for us. I was so tuned in to what we “had” together instead of what we had together…3 beautiful children in good marriages and 9 healthy grandchildren…lifelong friends…strong faith and a supportive church.

    It seemed that every time I was forced to consider what we were losing, it was overshadowed by how blessed we were in areas that had nothing to do with materialistic things! We both felt richly blessed. That feeling of abundant gratitude seemed to lift us above the situation of all of the losses.

    A grateful heart is one of our Lord’s most powerful gifts! It will not change earth bound circumstances, but it will help us to live our lives above those things that try to bind us. I am more grateful than I have words to express it!

  11. My daughter recently moved out of our home.Even though it was on good terms; it was a heart breaking time for me. BUT God has turned my mourning into dancing. My younger son has chosen to visit more and help around the house. In everything, I give Him thanks. My Father God is good to me- a faithful
    God! I thanked Him through my tears, and He filled me with His joy!

  12. I have had a dream of being an officer in the U.S. Navy since high school. Last night I received a letter saying that I have been denied a medical waiver for a rather suspect and negligible reason. There is not much hope for an appeal. In the time it took me to read a single page, I watched the door slam on my dream. I have spent the last twenty-four hours crying myself dry, grieving and wondering how all the plans I had for my future could vanish so quickly and cruelly. Still, I consciously turned to the Lord last night and promised that, as Ann Voskamp expressed, I would live this reality with open hands, not closed fists. And despite my pain I have felt a small seed of peace and hope settle in my heart. I am grateful to the Lord for that, and I am holding fast to it with both of my hands. Sometimes gratitude is the only thing left to us.

  13. Angela,

    Great post!

    A few years ago my job changed drastically from when I was hired. For a while I was tempted to be unhappy, grumpy both at home and work. I complained often.
    During this time we listened to two TV preachers and the very verse came to mind.
    “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:17 NIV

    My thoughts went to “I’m working for God not Man”. “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.” Those became my mantra. 🙂
    I also started a thankful journal and wrote all the many things I was thankful for–even the smallest mundane items. Each day I put down the things I happy about for the day.

    During that time God blessed me with little gifts here and there and then some big ones. Thanking God does two things: 1) it changes our attitude and makes us look up; 2) Makes God happy and more able to bless us!

    Congratulations on running/walking the 5K!

    God Bless everyone!

  14. Thank you for sharing this, Angela. Such a powerful message. Running teaches us so many life lessons and I’ve been blessed to experience everything from joy to pain, and laughter to suffering during my runs. When I experience loss or difficulty in my life, I often take it to God in a prayer while running. As a GOTR coach for three years I’ve loved watching these young girls learn how to run through the pain and to experience gratitude in every moment. And my daughter’s first 5k sounded a lot like your daughter’s – complete with the tears. Wish I had been able to point her toward gratitude at the time – I think I gave her the old “you can do it!” But your approach is so much more encouraging and simply beautiful. Thank you!