Thankful I Don’t Have

IMG_5310Although I have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, I also praise God for the many things I don’t have:

Terminal illness

Delinquent child

Empty food pantry

Rat eating my kitchen pipes…like a year ago

Some readers may be dealing with these issues, or worse. So forgive me if I step on toes. And yet, when I’m trudging through the messy circumstances of life, I believe….God’s grace pads my life in ways I can’t imagine.

Crises diverted. Grief avoided. Unspoken prayers favorably answered without my knowledge.

Doesn’t God deserve gratitude for covert blessings too?    

During imperfect days, sprinkled with more discomfort than joy, it’s natural to grumble, “Why me, Lord?” Then I hear the news, or receive a prayer request, and realize the multitude of evil and sorrow that God spares me from each day.

My perspective changed back in the day, when my five-year-old son fell from the Monkey Bars. While I kissed the bruised bump on his head, he whimpered, “Why did God let me fall?”

I responded, “Let’s thank God you don’t have a broken neck.”

It’s not just viewing a half-empty cup as half-full. It’s naming names.

Praising God that I have good health doesn’t have the same powerful imagery as thanking Him that I don’t have breast cancer when my mammogram comes back normal.

That’s because I remember driving my bald-headed friend to her chemotherapy appointment. I listened to her miserable groans afterwards. I’m thankful I still have my friend.

I’m also thankful I don’t have to walk in her shoes…at least, for the time being. But even then, God willing, I’d be glad I didn’t have to go through cancer alone.

Three weeks ago, I sprained my ankle. No big deal comparatively speaking, but rotten timing. I was scheduled to travel in two days to visit my daughter. As I lay on the floor, wreathing in pain, I wailed, “No! How will I drive to the airport? How will I get from my parked car to the terminal gate?   

I hobbled to my couch, placed an ice pack on my elevated ankle. The more I mused on my clumsiness and misfortune, the more gratitude bubbled and spilled over, soothing my taunt nerves.

Thank you Lord, I don’t have a broken ankle. As I massaged my bruised hip, I sighed, “I’m not a spring chicken. Thank you, Lord, I don’t have a broken hip bone.   


A positive spin weaves threads of have and have not into a tapestry of thanksgiving. And gratitude enables us to look at life like a two-sided coin:

The blessings we have,

The battles we don’t have to wage in this moment.

It’s a win-win~~no matter how the coin lands.

What are you thankful for that you don’t have?

Author: Karen Foster

I'd like to say I've changed, but after decades of living, I still have the same four passions. My relationship with Jesus, spending time with family, attending live theater, and writing devotions & first-person stories about a loving, faithful God who reveals Himself in our every day circumstances.

5 thoughts on “Thankful I Don’t Have”

  1. Thanks for sharing, Karen. Even though this year has been a record “I don’t want to ever go back this way again,” year, and though I am dealing with lots of medical ‘stuff,’ I’m always thankful for those who are not. But the truth is, we all have something, right? We all have our trials, hills and valleys, tough times because we live in a temporary world. I am most thankful that this is not all there is….something much better is just beyond the distance of my vision or day-to-day life and I can’t wait! I am also thankful for what I don’t have. Considering that I think your point was, that we need to be more thankful for the positives than to focus on the negatives, I totally agree with you.


    1. Thank you Mama, for your love and example over the years. Usually the paths that bring out the best in us, are never the smooth ones. Have to work and build spiritual muscles.


  2. LOVE THIS!!! Thank you for the perspective and reminder. I recall a saying, something like the bump in the road that slows me down might be protecting me from an accident further on.

    Love you, friend. Happy Thanksgiving!

    😘 Terrie

    Sent from my iPad



    1. Isn’t that the truth? It’s often in hindsight that we see God’s protection. But I love to think of the many way He protects me without my knowing. Not unlike parents who provide and protect in ways our children never know. Happy Thanksgiving


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