A Thanksgiving Devotional to Foster a Grateful Heart

Thanksgiving is a time for gratefulness, but too often our eyes get focused on what we want instead of what we already have. Cultivating a thankful heart is a spiritual practice and I hope this thanksgiving day devotional is a reminder of God’s provision, kindness, and love for you. 

Thanksgiving Devotion: What an Instagram Giveaway Taught Me About Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a season of bounty. When I think of it I picture the oak dining room table at my Grandma’s house overflowing with dressing and rolls and laughter and people. We love seasons of bounty and abundance–but more often than not we experience seasons of limits. 

Hands dishing up food from thanksgiving table with quote "we love seasons of bounty and abundance--but more often than not, we experience seasons of limits

My husband and I were in one of those limiting seasons–we were feeling stressed and stretched thin financially, working super hard to pay off our last bit of debt and stick to our pre-planned budget. 

I sighed remorsefully as I clicked “X” on an order for a new skincare product, sent an “I can’t right now message” to a friend asking us out, and closed the browser where I had been scrolling Pottery Barn, dreaming of new furniture. 

“If you could just test me with riches, God, I’m sure I could handle it well.” I joked aloud. 

But on the other side of my laughter was the truth–I worry about money.  Not like “Where are we going to eat worry” but more like “can we eat Chick-Fil-A this week worry?” 

The sting of the limit hurt.

About a week later a message popped up in my Instagram inbox “You’ve won the signature sectional!” I had won a giant, beautiful sectional in a giveaway I randomly entered. 

a woman in a notre dame sweatshirt sits smiling on the corner of a large sectional

Unbelievable, right? I can still hardly believe it actually happened to us. Even now, years later, we are still loving that sofa and it’s one of the good things we can point to as a marker of Christ Jesus’ work in our lives. 

I don’t think God is in the business of rigging Instagram giveaways, He’s definitely not a genie-in-a-bottle. 

But He is exceedingly kind and gives us spiritual blessings as well as physical ones, at times. 

And in a God-flex moment He wanted to remind me– my limits aren’t His limits. 


gold floral armchair like at your grandma's house with text overlay quote

This reminds me of another God-flex story– the time Jesus fed a crowd of thousands with just a couple fish and pieces of bread. Jesus is teaching in a solitary place, and a great crowd has amassed to hear him–but they’re waaaay out there and there’s nothing to eat. 

All the disciples could see were their limits. All they could see was their financial limits, the physical limits of five loaves of bread and two small fish. They had done the math and it didn’t add up.

But they forgot to add Jesus to the equation. 

“Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) 

Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted. After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.” So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves.  -John 6:10-13 NLT

The limits were true then, and our limits are true today too. 

But God is so much bigger than our limits. 

We have all in some way felt the sting of our limits. You may feel limited by your body. You may feel limited by your mental health–you’d love to be a person who didn’t struggle with anxiety or depression. You may feel limited by your relationship status. You may feel limited by your bank account. 

But God. God can do limitless things within your limits. Where you see a packed lunch for one, God sees a feast for a multitude, with leftovers worthy of a Thanksgiving dinner. 

Gold floral arm chair like at your grandma's house with text "God can do limitless things within your limits"

I love that God includes that detail–there wasn’t just enough, there was an abundance! Everyone ate until they were push back from the Thanksgiving table, get the stretchy pants, can’t eat another bite FULL. 

I don’t know how God will choose to meet you in your limits today friend. It may be with an abundance of grace, an abundance of friendship, an abundance of laughter, an abundance of peace or an abundance of dark meat turkey–but He is always meeting the needs of His children. And I’m so thankful. 

May God meet you today–as you give thanks even while experiencing limiting seasons. In the midst of trials may you find Him faithful and still worthy of your joyful noise of thanksgiving. May an attitude of gratitude permeate your spirit, your whole family, your friends, and your circumstances–even when things are difficult and good news is scarce–may you choose to see the little things around you to be thankful for. May God’s goodness permeate your life and may your attitude of thanksgiving extend far beyond a single day.

Discussion question: Has God ever met your needs (or wants) in a weird or unusual way? Do you feel like thanksgiving is easier in when life is good? How can we choose to show a grateful heart even in hard or mundane seasons? 

My husband and I wrote a song together about limiting seasons this past year! It’s called Limitless and you can check it out here. 

If you’re looking for more devotionals and encouragement…

Freely Give His Grace to Others: A Devotional

15 Bible Verses for Anxiety and Worry

The Glory of God: What It is and Why It Matters

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