Lee Merrill
About the Author

Lee is the grateful momma of three adult sons and an enthusiastic cheerleader and teacher to students with special needs. Her lifelong goal is to live a "pray without ceasing" life and to help others do the same. She is the author of Prayer Gifts While You Wait.

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things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. Amen!
    It was during a very dark and challenging time in my parenting that I started counting gifts. I know for a fact that the act of putting my pen on a page and capturing gratitude there was the thing that pulled me out of self-pity and hopelessness.
    That was 5 years ago, I’ve been doing it ever since, and by Thanksgiving Day, I expect that I will have counted up to gift number 6,000!
    Thanks for sharing your story for the encouragement of others who need to trust God for a big change in the temperature of their heart.

    • Right now my little girl is going through a health issue that doctors feel is almost 80% mental. Her mindset and her focus on fear is physically debilitating. One of her really vulnerable spots is at night. She doesn’t want to fall asleep because she’s afraid she’ll feel worse in the morning. She’s started an “I am thankful” box leading up to Thanksgiving so I think this concept of gratitude at night, when she’s at her weakest, will be extremely helpful. Thank you for your post.

      • If your daughter is a believer in Jesus, if she is old enough, or perhaps you could pray it for her that she is the righteousness of God. It works with the verse from Isaiah 54 that says fear, terror and torment will be far from you, Fear, not common sense or caution, is a spirit and I will agree to bind it in Jesus name and loose Him into your daughter’s problems. I have seen it paralyze many Christians, blessings.

      • Lord, please help Cindi’s daughter to find Your peace at night. Please give her clarity of mind and spirit in Jesus’ name. Give her momma strength to love her through this hard season. Amen

      • Cindy, I pray for your daughter at this moment. I declare that the Prince of PEACE, Jesus Christ holds her everyday. Please LORD help her to treasure this verse “In peace, I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8) in hr mind and heart. Be her best friend. Amen

        Keep doing the “I am thankful” box. It is an excellent idea.

    • Thank you for this reminder about thanksgiving in hard times. Sometimes in our hardest time to be thankful that is what we need the most! God bless you.

  2. Words of hope and joy ….you just wrote my story ! I found my strength in my Jesus and thanking him for the small things ,even the hard things when my husband left. Just before I read your post I wrote in my gratitude journal things I’m thankful for this am. There is always good even in the hard stuff and when we thank God for the little , it becomes joy and we can go on. Praying strength and courage over you and your family as you continue to live this one life we are given.

  3. Thank you so much, I needed this so much.
    May the LORD bless you so much. You are certainly “living a life worthy” for HIM and others!
    Precious testimony and example.

  4. Lee,
    I have walked in your shoes…..having had a husband who up and left. I have to admit, it was very hard in those dark times to acknowledge my blessings. I believe God honors our periods of our hearts groaning and pouring out despair to Him. Their is a season for everything. I think of David, pouring out his soul’s angst before God. He did, however, end every Psalm with praise and thanks. I believe that pain, praise, and gratitude can coexist. Gratitude may not magically make our pain disappear, but over time, if we keep continuing to praise God and thank Him for our blessings, we find our hearts gravitating toward the gratitude, the joy, and eventually hope again. I continually have to practice with the small stuff….letting gratitude win out over the “grumpies” so that I’m prepared for when the really big stuff comes my way. Thank you for sharing from your heart.
    Bev xx

  5. Thanks Lee! Today’s devotional was just what I needed. My heart is heavy, I’ve been restless & crying last night. All due to marriage uncertainties. We’re at a crossroad. I’m doing everything that I can, but my husband isn’t meeting me halfway. I thank God for every circumstance. Because it’s in the fire that we’re purified.

  6. Lee,
    Thank you so much for the “peace” of scriptures. I am becoming stronger with God and following Jesus and a great place to continue is gratitude for all God has given me and I know in my heart, there is more. His plan is unknowing, but I know coming from Him it is grand, no matter what is going on in my life!
    Thank you for your share.

  7. I too am suffering an unwanted divorce. Many nights in the first several months, I thought that I wasn’t going to survive or worse that I didn’t want to survive. It was the gift of Ann Viscamp’s book “1,000 Gifts” that helped me have hope. A book that teaches the giftedness in gratitude. I soon learned that being grateful for even the smallest of things during the darkest of times sheds soooo much light and build soooo much hope!

    • I love that book, Laurie. I’m so sorry for the pain you’re going through. Lord, please use this difficult season to draw Laurie deeper into Your love. Please work in her husband’s life and bring their marriage to restoration by Your mighty power. In Jesus’s name, amen

  8. Thank you Lee for this beautiful reminder of all that is good in our lives.
    I too suffered a heartbreaking divorce. The betrayal was devastating.
    Those sleepless nights were horrific. I turned to prayer as well. I know it was my faith that pulled me through.
    I try all the time to say thank you because it opens our hearts.
    Loved this devotional ❤️ And thank you for sharing.

  9. Dear Lee
    Thank you for this wonderful reminder of counting all the things we have to be grateful in our lives. I am the only true believer in our family. Both my husband and I came from very abusive backgrounds and mine was portrayed as this is who God is and “only our family is going to Heaven.” Our children all professed their faith in Jesus very while they were young and we put them in a Christian school, where everything that could go wrong did. Right now I am studying Romans and have just restarted journaling. Thank you for your reminder of journaling all that we are grateful for as I do have many things to be grateful for. I know God has a plan and it is good!
    Thank you for sharing.


    • Hi Pauline,

      My sons have turned from God, and the loneliness of being a devoted believer amongst unbelievers is tough. I pray for my sons and for your family to realize how much God loves them and how much they need him!

  10. Five years ago I went through an unwanted divorce. Nights were the worst and for some reason Sunday afternoons. The Psalms saved me and writing down all my blessings. Yes, even like you for toilet paper & paper towels.! Ha As the years have passed by the Lord has given me joy again through my relationship with Him and I am once again in a happy place. My focus has also turned to accepting this reality – my rewards may not be here on this earth but will certainly be in Heaven.

  11. Lee,

    I totally agree with this post! When feeling down or despair I often make a thankful list. Like you I put everything on it from the silly small stuff like paper, pens, etc. to big ones like having a home in Heaven. Seeing it in writing makes me realize how much I have & changes my attitude. It puts the focus back on Jesus & takes it off myself. I wish everyone would do this. You’d be surprised what you can think of!

    Blessings 🙂

  12. This was a beautiful post. Thank you for being vulnerable so you can help other women find comfort in Christ in similar situations. We never really realize He is all we need until He is all we have. Heartbreaking as it is, there’s a purpose in the pain- to draw us closer to the Lord. Sharing this post! 🙂

  13. Thank you for this message.There’s so many of us out there that are victims of an unwanted divorce but we thank God for Jesus who is our hope of Glory.

  14. Thank you for an amazing post! An inspiration to all those struggling with awful situations.
    May I share a scripture that I believe God ‘gave’ to me, as a very new believer (‘random’ opening of Bible! – not recommended I know! ) ?
    I & my 2 young children, had been deserted by my (then) husband, the previous year. A situation in which I was left without hope of any kind, until my friend (not realising I was in such a bad state, a year on! ) was ‘spoken to’ by God, & invited me to church! I found a real living relationship with Jesus & God my Father.
    This was the verse: Isaiah 54 v 5
    ‘For your Maker is your HUSBAND (capitals mine)- the Lord Almighty is His name – the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth.’ That & the preceding & following verses, have been such a comfort, & guide to me in the following 25 years. God has been so faithful to me; provided me with opportunity of a job where I could stay at home & still care for my children. A home – which by His provision & hard work I now own! So many heartaches, but so many blessings, so many life lessons learnt, so many opportunities to give back & give thanks & Glory to God, in ALL He has done in my life!
    I pray for those that struggle with difficult situations today, that God You would comfort them, & pour out Your blessings on them today, of peace & trust in You, that You will bring them safely through this time, holding on to You.

  15. I would like to recommend a book “Created to be his helpmeet” by Debi Pearl to help wives be the Godly wife He wants us to be – even in the midst of a terrible marriage. For those who are struggling in their marriages, get this book (which is SO Biblically based, I’ve never seen anything equal it) and yes, keep on being thankful IN all situations and for everything with which we are so blessed. My night time wakings are due to health/continuing surgery issues, but as I praise God for who He is and what He has done and keep my eyes off myself and learn to be thankful even for frail health, I sleep so much better and find it easier to live a joyful live.

    • Thanks for the recommendation, Sarah! Lord, please be Sarah’s healing help and patience in the waiting as she deals with this health issues. Amen

  16. Praying for all of you. I pray the Lord, your maker who is your husband, deliver you from anxiety and any grief or depression over marital problems or divorce. I pray His wisdom in your circumstances and that He brings you the husband He chooses for you, just wait for him.

  17. Ty so much for this beautiful message of encouragement. It is 3:45 AM and I am awake and also struggle with peace and sleep due to an unwanted divorce after 37 years of marriage. I already was writing down thankfuls but have struggled more during this hard season to keep doing that. The Lord is already proving Himself faithful but it seems I stay on a roller coaster of emotions. I am facing having to find a job at 60 years old after working for my husbands business for 26 years. This is my greatest area of stress , as well as he says he can’t help support me. Ty all for your messages of hope that the Lord will also bring me through this and the reminder to always remember my blessings which are many. I pray the Lord will continue to be with all of you. Thank you!!!

    • I am so sorry, Renae. I understand the roller coaster of emotions and the sheer devastation. Know that you are not alone, EVER. Call out to Him just as you are this very moment. Reach out even though you may feel like isolating. I got involved in a Celebrate Recovery group at my church when I was in the throes of the separation/divorce. It really helped me.

      Lord, please comfort and love on Renae in just the way she needs. Amen

      • Me too Celebrate Recovery is the best for any of life’s hurts or habits. The life’s healing choices is a great Bible study to get an overview of what Celebrate Recovery has to offer as well.
        Just wanted to say hey Lee we bonded over this comment and going there when divorce was coming.

  18. I really needed to read this today, I think your words were meant for me! My husband very recently left my young daughter and I (but left the door somewhat open to a reconciliation I was hoping for). I found out this afternoon that he cheated on me last night at my cousin’s wedding, by “hooking up” with a bridesmaid, in front of my extended family, after I left to put our daughter to bed. I am beyond devastated. The only thing I can do is pray and remember that God is good, for that I can be thankful.

    • Dear Hannah,
      I just read your comment and my heart hurts for you and for all you shared. I’m lifting you up in prayer and asking God to make His presence & comfort known to you. And that He will provide for everything you need right now including a good support system.

    • I’m so sorry, Hannah. What a heartbreaking disappointment. Lord, comfort Hannah’s broken heart and give her wisdom in how to keep moving forward as she waits on You.

  19. Your wonderful message applies to widows as well. I’m a new widow who learned that being grateful for all that I had through almost 48 years of a roller coaster marriage is better than being sorrowful for what I had lost. After reading “1000 Gifts,” I established a pattern of beginning my day with thank you’s for the day before, the night’s protection and rest. At the end of the day, I reviewed all the things to be thankful for (some of which didn’t seem so great at the time, but God had allowed them). I also learned to pre-thank Him for what He was doing that I couldn’t see since He is always working to care for His children. What I learned is that one cannot be anxious and thankful at the same time. As long as I kept a cloud of gratitude about myself, I could be at peace and have joy. It also makes you a lot more fun to be around, I’ve found. God bless and keep you! Dianna Brumfield “Memorable Senior Moments”

  20. Hi Lee, My husband and I were separated for a brief period two years ago. Your devotion perfectly captures my feelings of that time. Trusting wholly on God and looking at the positives instead of my overwhelming fears helped me through that difficult period. You’ve written a very encouraging post for wives in broken marriages. Blessings to you!

  21. Just got to reading my favorite blog and happy to see the incouragement that’s spilling over as always with Gods girls! My auntie told me her gratitude jar ( a cookies jar) gets a tiny slip of paper daily or close to daily as you can get to it…on January 1st it’s spilled on the table and each one read from the previous year! Mine is up to date and hopefully you’re all going to be grateful to see January come once again:) Been divorced, & widowed in my 62 year life.. then I found God and I’m grateful He never left me..He speaks life into motion every day and for that I’m grateful with my eyes on Him until He calls me Home.. staying Jesus strong with y’all… blessings to and thru you

  22. Hi Sadie, thanks so much, for the reminder of the gratitude jar! It brought back memories of an Auntie who used to keep one! Also the memory of how, probably as a result of going to Sunday school, I started a little book, where every day I would draw pictures of 2 things I could thank God for. This was aged 6.
    Years later I found the book – it so blessed me!
    A timely reminder that my present diary SHOULD contain fewer grumbles & more gratitude & thanks!!!

  23. That was honest. I really appreciate that. And I celebrate your journey with the Lord with you.

  24. I had to revisit your post and leave a comment- I started counting my grateful things to God on the way to work in the car and it certainly makes a difference! God is so good!!! Xx

  25. Wonderful devotional. Just what I needed as we drive to the funeral for the 18 year old son of close friends. Thank you for rounding us where to focus our thoughts, even on this dark day.

    But you have a typo in the last sentence of the 2 Corinthians verses. It says what is seen is eternal.

    • I love the amplified version of the Bible because it teaches me. I read through the comments for inspiration from songs to scriptures. So when I came to your comment I just had to recheck and recheck and I realized that the way different versions read can be screwy sometimes. So I went to my amplified version and I think you’ll find it easier to digest.
      This is only the last 2 verses of 2 Corinthians 4
      17 For our momentary, light distress [this passing trouble] is producing for us an eternal weight of glory [a fullness] beyond all measure [surpassing all comparisons, a transcendent splendor and an endless blessedness]! 18 So we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen; for the things which are visible are temporal [just brief and fleeting], but the things which are invisible are everlasting and imperishable.