Giving Thanks Despite a Difficult Year

I had big expectations for 2020. In recent years, I’ve selected a word to help me focus and stay on track. This year, my word was “vision” in keeping with the underlying theme 20-20. When I chose that word, I never dreamed it would take such effort to maintain positive, clear vision amid distraction, devastation, disappointment, and disheartening circumstances. Yet, despite damaging weather events, an ongoing pandemic, a contentious campaign and election cycle, and emergencies, much good and many sources of gratitude can still be attributed to 2020.

It’s easy to view this year in a negative light, but look beyond frustration and zero in on what has been positive in your life during this time.

Following are personal bright spots for which I am grateful in this difficult year:


Do you believe in miracles? The word “miracle” is defined as an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs. I can tell you for sure that miracles still happen, because this week our family experienced multiple miracles.

My husband, Jim, felt chest tightness beginning Saturday afternoon. As most of us tend to do, we attributed his discomfort to indigestion or a pulled muscle. But the discomfort did not ease. The next morning, we called our favorite nurse, our daughter, and after hearing his symptoms, she advised us to immediately go to the ER. She had just taken a cardiac recertification course that addressed specific issues related to Jim’s health. Coincidence? No, part of our miracle.

Once at the ER, triage personnel acted quickly and we moved rapidly to the next level of assessment. And then, as the doctor phrased it, “things are going to happen fast.” And they did. The team literally ran Jim’s bed to the cath lab, where the cardiologist inserted two stents in his 100% blocked LAD artery. He was in the middle of having a “widowmaker” heart attack, the kind most people do not survive.

We received confirmation of another miracle when an echocardiogram after the procedure revealed very little damage to Jim’s heart.

Medical professionals were instrumental in saving Jim’s life, but we give all glory to God for sustaining his life overnight with a 100% blockage of this large artery, one crucial for survival.

What miracles have you experienced this year? They don’t have to be huge to be worthy of gratitude. Take a mental inventory of God’s grace in your life and give him thanks.


This year, even when everything seemed extremely bleak, nature proves a source of delight, encouragement, and comfort. Temperate weather, vibrant explosions of color, continual blooming and reblooming, and glorious sunrises and sunsets have all been sources of peace and joy. God’s gift of creation serves as a reminder that our struggles do not go unnoticed and we are not abandoned to handle discouragement and heartache alone.

Have you taken time to recognize the beauty of nature this year and immerse yourself in it?



Music has been part of my life from my earliest remembrance. I learned to sing harmony at a young age sitting on the swing between two beloved aunts on my grandmother’s front porch. That spurred my love of singing, playing the piano, and listening to classical music. I have sung in choirs from childhood on. For me, music is a source of comfort and creativity. During these tense days of traveling to and from the hospital to see Jim, music soothes and reminds me that God gave the gift of music.


When I signed a book contract at the end of December 2019, the word “coronavirus” was not in my vocabulary. Neither did I anticipate a devastating tornado or other distractions that came with 2020. Despite many events that had the potential to make it impossible, I was able to maintain forward motion, complete the book, and turned it in on time.

I was also able to get my childhood home ready to sell. The house was under contract within two weeks of going on the market and closed in the time frame I hoped for. I give God the glory for these accomplishments. I employed self-discipline, but He was the orchestrator, framer, author, and finisher.

Faith, Family, and Friends

During these uncertain days, I am thankful for the loving support and prayers of family and friends. I do not know how anyone survives life challenges without the saving grace of the Eternal One who loves, forgives, sustains, and heals. God still works in miraculous ways.

For many of us, Thanksgiving Day will be far different from previous ones. Perhaps your family will not gather at all because of COVID or other circumstances. But giving thanks isn’t confined to one specific day of the year. Gratitude is an ongoing attitude of the heart. 2020 has tested us in so many ways, but God remains the one constant amid the chaos. Soli Deo Gloria!

O my soul, come, praise the Eternal with all that is in me—body, emotions, mind, and will—every part of who I am— praise His holy name.
 O my soul, come, praise the Eternal; sing a song from a grateful heart; sing and never forget all the good He has done.
Despite all your many offenses, He forgives and releases you. More than any doctor, He heals your diseases.
He reaches deep into the pit to deliver you from death.  He crowns you with unfailing love and compassion like a king.
When your soul is famished and withering, He fills you with good and beautiful things, satisfying you as long as you live. Psalm 103:1-5 VOICE


Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including:,,,,, Focus on the Family,,, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).

To receive Candy’s blog, Forward Motion, via email, go to and scroll to the bottom of the page to sign up.






You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.