Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Can You Find Something to be Thankful For?

Let’s just be real for a moment.

Sometimes, it is just really hard to be grateful.

Money’s tight.
Someone is sick.
Kids aren’t getting along.
Car breaks down. Again.
Toilet’s clogged.
Spouse is away.
The holidays are upon us and that just means extra pounds and family drama.

There are just always seems to be so many things that make us want to shake our heads, crawl under a rock, or a really comfy blanket, and stay there.

Sometimes, we might even ask, “What do I have to be thankful about?”

Honestly, I think we’ve all been there, so I’d like to offer you some suggestions based on my personal “thankful list.”

Mentioning God first may seem a little obvious, but how often do we truly THANK HIM and are THANKFUL FOR HIM.  Just knowing that God loves me no matter what, on my good days and my bad days, well, that just becomes overwhelming.  And the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins??? If I had nothing else to be thankful for, that would be enough! I’m thankful for God’s Word as well.  Where else can I find love, friendship, advice, and food for the soul?

Yes, maybe another obvious choice, but don’t we often take our spouses for granted?  We rush off to our day to day business and just expect they know we love and appreciate them.  But really, we need to live daily knowing we are not promised tomorrow. We need to be thankful for the little things:

a morning kiss, bad breath and all
a fresh cup of coffee you didn’t have to pour
an unexpected lunch date or take out dinner
sharing your favorite dessert at your local DQ
help doing the laundry or dishes
butterflies when he still flirts with you
flowers for no reason or to make up for a fight
the sacrifice of his little part in making this world a better place

For those of us that are military wives, we can’t afford to take our spouses for granted.  No matter what rough patch we may be going through, we should show our thankfulness for our husbands.

Whether ours or someone else’s, children are a gift from God (Psalm 127:3). Yes, this morning I was annoyed with the fussing and demands of my 3 children just moments after posting on Instagram they were a blessing.  Really and truly, they are a blessing.  God chose me to be their mom, and I am thankful for them, messy rooms, stinky socks, and all.  We can learn so much from children.  Their innocence is refreshing and life changing.

Whether lifelong or brand new, friends are important.  God didn’t create us to be alone. He created us for a relationship with Him, after all.  And part of that relationship is being in fellowship with others.  Some friendships are learning experiences, while some friendships are only for a season. Others are for a lifetime.  Either way, I believe that God places people in our lives for a reason, and I’ve found that all of my friendships have made an impact on my life.

Some complain there is a lot wrong with our country, but there is also a lot right with our country.  I still believe that this is a great place to live.  Our country was built on a strong foundation.  We can choose to let that foundation crumble, or we can fight to keep it strong.  I am thankful to be here, in America, because I know first-hand the sacrifice of what keeps this country free.

Career (or not)
Whether you choose to work or stay at home, either is a blessing. For me, I get frustrated with the “business” and secretarial parts of education, but I love teaching. I love seeing the students “get it” after all their hard work.  Yes, some days, I want to stay home. Some days, I want to change careers, but I’m blessed to be able to help provide for my family while doing something meaningful.

Whether you live on post, in an apartment, or the nicest house in town, you have a roof over your head.  The number of homeless increases each day.  I am thankful that my children are able to come home to the walls that make our house and the hearts that make it a home.

Laundry, Dirty Dishes, and Toys
“Stuff” can be overwhelming. As I’m writing, the washer and dryer or running, the dishwasher is almost full, boxes from our summer move remain unpacked, and there are toys and crumbs on the floor.  But for all those things, I choose to be thankful. 

Dirty dishes mean we had food to eat.
Laundry to wash means we had clothes to wear.
Toys mean that my children are able to play and pretend with things that interest them.

Changing Seasons
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, For everything there is a season, as time for everything under heaven.”  For me, the changing seasons are a reminder of that.  When the leaves start to fall, when the first snowflake floats across the sky, when the flowers start to bloom, and when the heat of the day takes our breath away, well, those moments serve as reminders that life is full of change. There are beginnings and endings and stories and moments in between.  And honestly, I am thankful for that change. I don’t want to stay in November forever and relive that moment my husband boards a plane for Afghanistan. I don’t want to stay in the season of deployment or sickness or family crisis. I need rebirth. I need change. I crave the smell of freshly cut spring grass and the sound of summer thunderstorms.  Changing seasons remind me that there is always hope.

Online Communities
For someone who feels socially awkward, online communities have helped me live my dream of being a writer, giving me the chance to share words.  I’ve met new friends here, friends that although I’ve never met in real life, we still have this bond that is strong.  Communities such as Wives of Faith, Planting Roots, and Five Minute Friday will always have a special place in my heart.

You see, there is so much to be thankful for. We just have to open our eyes, get out from under that blanket and look.  Blessings surround us and are never too small to mention. So, I ask you, what do you have to be thankful for?

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