It’s not what we say about our blessings
But how we use them
That is the true measure of our gratitude…
Because I’ve been flying circles around the country again this past week, I didn’t have time to prepare any kind of special Thanksgiving post for the holidays, so I thought about just not writing anything… until I realized that my heart won’t let me do that.
As I sit in prayer this morning… my mind learning to be silent in hopes of hearing God’s voice over my own… allowing my heart to speak of its own accord, and a yearning for my soul to sing and dance above the chaos of my mind… I realize I have way too much to be grateful for and it just feels wrong not to find ways and opportunities in which to express it.
Gratitude is something we should practice everyday, allowing it to become a way of life. It does our heart and souls good (as it does our pride and humility) when we learn how to take the time and express it. Perhaps it is more for the people who are in our lives though, because I think perhaps the greatest regret we may ever experience as individuals or in this lifetime, is that of the unspoken word for the sake of those we care about and love.
My own gratitude is simple… For the first time in my life, I can honestly say with all my heart and soul, that I am simply grateful for LIFE. I have real gratitude and appreciate just to be alive and for God’s creation of me. While I have had plenty of things and people to be grateful for along this journey (which I’ve freely expressed) I have never been able to voice this specifically, because it’s a point I never thought I would reach in this lifetime. I sit here with tears overflowing, even as I type these words, because I can’t tell you where it’s coming from right now. It has just hit me and feels rather overwhelming… For the first time in all my life, I can say it, because I actually feel it now too.
A Life Without Hope
I haven’t always felt this way though and if I’m being honest… I might share that I used to resent God for my even being born. I hated Him for giving me life and spent years praying for my own death. I have had periods where I begged and wondered why couldn’t I just come home to Him. Yes, I was suicidal… and the holidays were the worse, mostly because of my biological family.
Living Without Hope
You know, I receive quite a few letters from souls who are struggling with gratitude, especially around the holidays ~ Not because they are selfish or heartless mind you, but perhaps because they’ve had so many bad things in happen life, that those things seem to outweigh the good. Maybe they have experienced so much evil, that is has over shadowed any blessings which have also happened along the way. I used to be one of these people…
Are you one of them? Do you struggle with anxiety, loneliness, despair, grief, anger or even hatred during the holidays instead of happiness, gratitude and excitement? Have the holidays become something you dread, instead of being a time of celebration? It was for me, for many years.
It can happen easier than you think and it’s not your fault if it has although, you do hold the responsibility. So, if something is sneaking up on you, threatening to steal your joy during the holidays (or any day) just know and believe that there is something you can do about it.
When we find ourselves struggling with such powerful emotions, especially around the holidays, we may just need a little reminder to help us change our focus (the ‘what’ and ‘how’ we think about something.) This will give us a different perspective, which will in effect, help us change our attitude.
The struggle ends when gratitude begins!
It’s Your Life, It’s Your Choice
Look… we’re all allowed to feel these things from time to time, and we have to in order to process and grow beyond them. The difference being… is your life consumed by the positives or the negatives that have happened? Do you live a life of happiness and gratitude, or are you stuck living one full of grief and despair, or perhaps even of anger and hate instead?
As an adult, I was determined that the holidays would mean something different to my child. We started our own traditions and ways of celebrating, which included things like baking Jesus a birthday cake on Christmas. She has not known them to be the Jerry Springer episodes as I knew them ~ cops being called, a family member being hauled off to jail, everyone getting drunk and high, people beating on each other, unhealthy competition (materialism) and exclusion, etc. In my family, it’s like the holidays were just an excuse, or the best opportunity, to be able to hurt one another as much as possible ~ like it was the easiest time for everyone to get to get together and gang up (most often directed towards the black sheep of the flock ~ being, yours truly of course.) I’d like to think most of the family feuds and chaos were heightened during the holidays simply due to all of the deaths, tragedies, grief, and despair that my family has had to live through but instead, I realized it has always just been their way of life.
While it is true that we are all the product of our environment
That doesn’t mean that we have to become it.
This is what I grew up with and all I knew ~ But, then I chose to break that cycle at a very young age, for it traces back many generations, and have become living proof that it can be done. Ultimately, it is your choice how you spend the holidays, as well as the quality of life in which you will live.
Gratitude Turns What We Have Into Enough!
People can sometimes wonder what I have to be so grateful for ~ I have no family like most people do and am still single… I’ve been abused in every way, raped and kidnapped… currently I have no home, the car needs repairs and we’re both in extreme need of dental care… I have no set income again or focused direction yet (maybe I do and it’s just hard for me to see)… etc. etc. etc! I can find things to complain about just like anyone else. So, what in the world could I be so happy and excited about? What do I have that’s of any good or what things give me hope?
First and foremost, is my relationship with God! It really is that simple folks, as is the expression that, “I could not have made it this far without Him.”
Then personally, my deepest gratitude (besides Christ obviously) is for my daughter, who I have always said is my greatest gift from God and I truly believe she was my saving grace.
My gratitude is also for you specifically, my friends, as a person and for the bonds and experiences we have shared ~ all of our time, stories, laughter and tears. It is because of where I come from, that I couldn’t be more grateful for the people God has put in my path or the circumstances of my life. It has all allowed us (you and I) to share things and relate in ways that we otherwise never could have. It has afforded me the opportunities to speak, teach, reach and influence people in order to invoke change that I never would have dreamed possible, all across these beautiful lands and with people from every walk of life. My goodness… I wouldn’t trade any of that for the world!
My gratitude is simply all encompassing of this life ~ the people whose hearts and souls God created, as well as the circumstances of the life I have lived. I am the most grateful for LIFE.
Gratitude turns what we have into enough!
Finally, there have been so many opportunities coming my way, that I cannot end this post without expressing my appreciation in this area as well. As most of you know, this website is key (income) in how I make a living and support my daughter so your shares, contributions and donations mean the world to me and help confirm that I’m on the right track. Know that my overall goal and only desire is to be able to use the gifts, talents, and experiences God has given me to help others. I believe that is how we can best show our gratitude, and how God makes use of anything and everything that encompasses what we know as our lives.
Whether professionally or personally, do not let the people in your life question or have to wonder how you feel about them or what you may be thinking. Ponder this… if it were the last time you were ever going to get to talk to that person or see them, what might you say then or how might you behave differently? I challenge all of us (myself included) to think about all of our relationships in such a way, as to learn to live each and every day like that. Now that’s learning to live with passion!
As we express our gratitude, we must
never forget that the highest appreciation is
not to utter words, but to LIVE by them.
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Happy Thanksgiving to each of our friends and adopted families all over this country and abroad who have helped shape and mold the people we are today. Many warm thoughts, hugs and prayers to you always! ♥¸¸.•*¨*•♥ All my love, Jessie ♥•*¨*•.¸¸ ♥