Thanksgiving 2011, I was sitting in the driveway with one of my dearest friends, watching the kids ride their bikes up and down the street, awaiting the dreaded call of their dad saying he was on the way to pick them up. It would be my first Thanksgiving without my kids. I pictured Thanksgiving differently.
At that moment, I desperately wanted my old life back. I wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving the way we had always celebrated, with all of our family coming over. It was always so fun to host dinner at our house. I would make place cards and have the kids do a fun craft that usually involved a turkey. But, instead, this year, it would all look different.
I remember looking over at my friend, Tami, saying, “I have nothing to be thankful for this year.” And she just looked at me and said, “What do you mean you have nothing to be thankful for?” And all I knew to do was repeat what I said, just dragging out the words a little bit more…”I have nothing to be thankful for.”
She looked at me and gave me a challenge I would never forget. She said, “I want you to go home. I want you to open up your journal, and I want you to write down everything that you are grateful for.”
I wanted to shout back at her. “Did you not hear me? I have nothing to be thankful for”, but instead, in my most non-confrontational way, I smiled, and under my breath, I said, “Sure, I’ll do that once the kids leave.”
I had no intention of writing in my journal. It sounded silly and cliché. But once the kids left and I walked into the empty, eerily quiet house, I had nothing else to do but go to my journal and write what I was thankful for. And, you know what? It completely surprised me.
I began writing a list. It started with elementary things and then grew in ways I saw where God was being so intentional in our lives. So, I kept writing everything, anything that popped into my head. I realized there was so much that I was thankful for. And, a new tradition was birthed from this simple challenge, keeping a small gratitude journal in my purse so I can keep a running tally of where God has just shown up. It’s been over ten years; I have completed so many gratitude journals throughout the years. I love looking through them and seeing God in such a tangible way.
Have you ever found yourself in a season where you have believed the lie, “I have nothing to be thankful for “?
Maybe you didn’t get the job you wanted, or you feel stuck in a season of singleness, or you’re struggling in a relationship, and it seems hopeless. Maybe you’re not where you want to be financially, or you’re not where you want to be spiritually, or perhaps you had expectations of things happening that have yet to happen. The list could go on and on, but I wonder what it would look like if we paused for a minute and simply write down what we were thankful for. So, I challenge you today; go find a journal! If you are anything like me, you have some lying around the house, and watch God change your heart!