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Grateful


“The most powerful weapon against your daily battles is finding the courage to be grateful anyway.” -Unknown


I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude this week. I’m sure it’s because Thanksgiving is fast approaching. That’s one of the things I love about this month; it is a yearly reminder to stop and think about all that we have to be thankful for. Which brings me to another confession.


Sometimes I wallow. I can have moments where I look at my life, at all I’ve lost, and I think, “WHAT IN THE WORLD?! Who loses their ENTIRE family – their mom, dad and all their siblings?! Is this even real??” It’s hard to wrap my mind around it somedays. And other days, I get involved in daily life with running our business and raising my little boys that are still at home and I forget. Forgetting is SO much easier than remembering. Remembering hurts. Remembering can be a reminder of all that’s missing, that’s gone forever. That’s when the self-pity starts. The “why did this happen to me; I don’t deserve this; why ME?” The anger boils up and spills over into tears that wrack my soul and I want to scream and cry and stomp and throw a massive fit like a toddler in their terrible twos.


Most people would think “of course you do! That’s so normal! Let it all out!” And they’d be right; and I do, on occasion when no one is around. But the reality is, the world doesn’t revolve around me and my grief. OUCH. When I start spiraling, this thought pops into my head and knocks me back into reality. Ever have those moments? You know, the ones where you are really enjoying that massive temper fit and the Holy Spirit, in that gentle but firm parent-type way says, “ok time’s up.” Yes, it’s true I’ve had things happen to me that don’t normally happen to people my age. Most of my friends still have their parents and siblings. But there are just as many people that have had worse things happen than I have. Some have lost children, a pain I can’t even imagine. Some have cancer, some have children with cancer, some have watched people lose everything to addiction, some have had their spouse leave them for someone else and take their children and everything they own with them, some are in horribly abusive situations with people they thought they could trust….I could go on and on. I may be carrying a heavy load, but let’s be honest; when I look at what others carry, I would rather carry my own than theirs.


You see, this world is a sinful, hard place to live. When I get my eyes off myself and my own pain, I see the pain of others. I see a world that is longing for hope; a world trying to cling to anything that makes sense out of the pain they are feeling. I see PEOPLE. People just like me who need to know that there is a reason for this madness. That there is a reason that they are here. That there is a future for them beyond the pain. I see a world who needs to know that Jesus has already overcome this painful, hard world.


When life knocks you down, and it will - we are promised that - look up. Look around at others who have fallen down with you. Really SEE them. Look around to see all that you have, not all you don’t. Look around and see that, though it may feel like it in the moment, you are not a worst-case scenario and you are not alone. Look through the tears to see others that need you; that need your wisdom for having gone through what you have; that need your prayers, your love, your support. It’s when we focus on others, that we find purpose in the pain and when true healing begins.


Though my stuff looks different from yours, we all go through hard things. The enemy tells us ours is worse than others; that we’ll never get through this; that’s it’s not fair. Jesus tells us in this world we WILL have trouble, but that we will not be consumed by it because He will never leave us to face it alone. Listen to the One who loves you. Be grateful for all of the blessings you have today, for today is all we are really promised. You CAN be grateful in the middle of the hard thing you are going through because the reality is, we are all just walking each other home. Give thanks, be joyful, and most importantly, look around to make sure no one walks alone.


“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” -Lamentations 3:22-23

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