This devotional was originally published on November 25, 2016.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
— James 1:17

All the good stuff comes from God. Duh. Of course I know that. That’s why I thank him all the time.

Made it through another work week? Thank God it’s Friday.

The child that knocked over the giant produce display at the grocery store was somebody else’s kid? Thank God.

My car’s inspection sticker expired two months ago, but the police officer that has been tailing me for the past mile and a half just turned around to go elsewhere? Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I find it pretty easy to remember to be thankful during life’s pleasant surprises. But how often do I truly stop to give real thanks for the things I experience every day that are so easy to take for granted?

I’ve been married to the same amazing woman for over 18 years, and I’m more in love with her each day than I was the day before. Thank you, God.

My two kids are great. Not only do I love them, but I really like them. They’re genuinely a pleasure to be around. Thank you, God.

We’re all healthy. Unlike some people I know and love, none of us are bed-ridden due to debilitating pain or crippling illness. We can work. We can play. We can live. Thank you, God.

While easy to overlook during life’s day-to-day craziness, those things are still easy to be thankful for if I can just pause for, like, half a second to think about it. But what about the things that aren’t so great? How often do I look back hours, days, or even years to recognize the gifts that, at the time, seemed like curses?

God, I didn’t see it at the time, but thank you for when my daughter was 9 years old and started showing signs of attitude. I didn’t realize that you were using that to help build up my patience. And I certainly didn’t understand that she would be a teenager someday, and I would need all the patience I could get. Thank you.

God, thank you for all the horrible mistakes I made growing up. I can’t go back and fix them, but I can use what I learned from those experiences to teach my children how to make better choices than I did. Thank you.

God, thank you for the dark time in my life, when I didn’t know what it meant to follow you, because you brought me out from the darkness and into the light. Remembering what my life was like — what I was like — before I knew you makes me want to be near you all the more. Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18