When I think of all the different feelings that we as humans experience, throughout our entire lives, I'm convinced that gratitude is the most wonderful and important of them all!  And I also believe that every other positive feeling that we experience is directly related to being thankful.  For instance, you might say that love is the greatest feeling of all, but in reality it is the gratitude we feel for that person, place, creation, service, and even experience, that cause us to love.  One of my favorite scriptures, John 4:19, teaches us this principle...

"We love him, because he loved us first!"  

That's gratitude!  We love what we are most grateful for, and above all, we are grateful for the infinite atonement of Jesus Christ and what that means to us now, and more importantly, eternally!  Love is made perfect through the process of gratitude.  We tend to love that which blesses us, in ways that benefit us in one way or another.  Think about it...

I also believe that gratitude is learned.  It is oppositional to the natural man. Therefore it is inherent in the Ten Commandments, wherein God has commanded that we first and foremost love Him.  And again, we love Him because of His great love for us, and what He has made possible through the great Plan of Happiness!

One of the great challenges in life is to learn how to be grateful when bad things happen, or seemingly bad things happen.  And yet, this is the very key to coming through the adversities of life -- strengthened.  I can't say that I've always had a thankful heart when I'm in the thick of a trial.  However, I've been fortunate enough to have found my way to that place, eventually.  I hope I'm getting better at getting to the thankful place sooner.  I say this, because inevitably my personal trials will become greater.  That's the plan, right?  Not that I'm saying bring it on, but trials and adversity are part of the plan.  For instance, not one of us escapes the loss of those we love.  No matter how good life is, death, illness and loss are with us.

Thankfully, life in general is good, because God intends for us to have joy in the process.  The process of either learning to be grateful, or spontaneous feelings of gratitude for immediate blessings, is most always associated with family.  And for me, that is what I am most thankful for as I consider my personal blessings.  Every lesson I've learned that has helped me to know God better, and every joy I've experienced, have everything to do with my family!

I thank God for my family, and for His wonderful plan designed to create and build eternal families!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Kathryn Skaggs

Gratitude - The Power in Being Thankful!

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