Gratitude Beyond Thanksgiving

Dec 1, 2022

By Joelle Jensen

“I don’t think I can live the rest of my life like this, God.”

It was about this time last year that I found myself laying in the Emergency Room looking at the heart monitor readings that showed my heart palpitating every few beats. The doctor ran several tests and I found his “good news” to be only partially reassuring, “Pre-mature ventricular contractions aren’t dangerous, but they can be very uncomfortable. We are letting you go home and you can follow up with cardiology to see if they can help mask the symptoms.”

Help to mask the symptoms? I needed this to stop completely!

The heart flutters hadn’t come on suddenly…I had been dealing with them ever since my brother passed away three years before, but this particular week they had intensified so much that I couldn’t even walk. Leading up to this week I had been under a lot of stress with moving to a new state with my husband and four children, leaving behind all of my family and connections. We knew NO ONE in Florida. Children getting sick with croup and unable to breathe led to panic attacks in the night and now this.

I was spiraling.

“I want to have joy, God, but I just feel like I can’t enjoy my life any more with my heart skipping beats like this and feeling out of control.”

I felt hopeless and helpless all at the same time. Everything I was going though with my health and thoughts felt out of my control. How could I enjoy life like this?

I will never forget His gentle whisper that changed everything, “Oh but you can. You are my daughter. I give you the right to rejoice even in this knowing I am working it all for your good. Every time your hearts starts to flutter, use it as a reminder to focus your attention on me and enjoy Me.”

Something inside of me clicked. I realized how much this heart stuff was stealing my attention and building fear in me because I was allowing it to. I knew that, with God’s help, I could rewrite the script. Every time my heart started to flutter, I would focus all my attention on having a heart of thankfulness towards God for who He was and that He was taking care of me, His daughter. I became determined to enjoy life!

Something began to happen! I was experiencing more peace and joy and the flutters were starting to go away! Fast forward to today and I can honestly say that my heart flutters only a few times a day, if that! Way better than hundreds of times a day!

Friend, hard seasons come but because you are a daughter of the one true living God, you have a right to not fear! Instead, you can rejoice knowing that He is taking care of you and with you through whatever you are walking through. He is a good Father!

I love how the Bible explains a beautiful snowball effect that gratitude has on our souls:

  • Thanksgiving brings us into God’s presence

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name! Psalm 100:4

  • When we are in His presence, we experience fullness of joy

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

  • When we experience joy in Him, our hope and gratitude to God grows and the cycle continues!

Joelle Jensen is the founder of First Love Ministries, an organization that gives women tools to live confidently in Christ. Her heart is to challenge and equip women to encounter Jesus in their everyday lives. In a world where consumerism has invaded even our Christianity, she encourages women to take ownership of their walks with God and truly seek Jesus as their First Love. She does this through Encounter Conferences and online teachings. Joelle and her husband, Samuel, currently live with their four kids in Central Florida.



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