Gratitude turns what we have into enough. Aesop
Mindfulness and gratitude in many ways go hand in hand. It is a quality or state of awareness of the blessings in our lives. It is a sense of contentment and a sense of enough.
As I sit and type this I find a line from a song come to mind, "Give thanks with a grateful heart. Give thanks to the Holy one. Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ His son."
What a beautiful reminder that no matter what is happening in our lives there is always something we can give thanks for!
I can hear some of you saying how can I be grateful? You don't know what I've been through! Your right I don't know, but Jesus does and he is waiting to lift the heavy burdens you are carrying if you will be willing to invite him into your life and surrender those burdens to him!
All I can share is my journey towards living a life of gratitude. This is a very personal post and I'm hoping my transparency will encourage you. I have always tried to be a fairly positive person, growing up we didn't have much but we were a close family and that was something I find far more important than material things.
My teenage years were challenging as my family seemed to fall apart because of alcoholism, that changed a very important person in my life into someone I didn't recognize and I watched what depression did to said person. I for many years found myself questioning everything that person taught me and it became a very toxic relationship that affected many years of my adult life, even my marriage.
I was afraid to open my heart fully to anyone and the only way I was able to break through this wall I had put up was to give it all to God; all the fear, anger, bitterness as well as a sense of loss of one of my deepest relationships in many ways as the person I knew was very changed and pray that he would help me to forgive said person and see that person as he (Jesus) does. I'm now in my thirties and my relationship with this person is improving that feeling of hurt is replaced with gratitude for the help and healing the Lord has produced in my life.
We faced a sudden and traumatic loss of one of my closest friends and family member, and a short time ago my grandfather, I also struggled with my health in the last few years. This all lead into depression because of being bed ridden for several months strait and even on and off a little since and this was a very dark and lonely time, a time that I learned a lot about myself and what it means to find gratitude in difficult circumstances. Gratitude can be a challenge when faced with difficult circumstances but we can train our minds to think differently.
When we take our mind off "I" and look to God our perspective changes drastically, it shifts from victim into victor in Christ!
I share all of this so you understand that I have not always lived a life where gratitude was something I thought about or really understood, I was good at putting on a smile and going through the motions, I thought that this is what being strong looked like but in reality it was weakness because it kept me from looking at the problems and fixing them, it takes a large amount of emotional strength to work on yourself.
Eventually the Lord showed me that I don't have to be stuck in a pattern of toxic thoughts and worry, and that with him I could face these thoughts and find gratitude and peace. Through prayer and meditation on Gods word I began to understand all I have to be grateful for. I began keeping a gratitude journal and writing down a few things I was grateful for each day, at first it was little things like I was able to brush my teeth without throwing up or I was able to sit outside while the kids played without blacking out. These things were huge at that time in my life and slowly I was able to find more and more things to write down.
"Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever."Psalms. 118:29
Though that time in my life was hard I was able to really find what was truly important and gain the knowledge of how important it is to be in the present and in Gods presence. I found my mindset shifting from those toxic thoughts and worries to more present, grateful thoughts as well as how the Holy Spirit had and still is getting me through the times of difficulty as well as filling me with joy and peace despite what my circumstances sometimes hold. Today through prayer and all the bounty that God has given us in this world, herbs, nutrition and blessing me with wonderful doctors that are willing to work with me in the area of natural health, my health is much improved and the Lord continues to fill me with gratitude and healing. Every struggle holds a powerful lesson to be grateful for, (even if the thing we are grateful for is making it through alive) if we are only willing to open our mind and heart to it.
'Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength." - Corrie Ten Boone
In a Harvard Health publishing they found that living a life of gratitude led to improved health, happiness and deeper relationships, I can definitely agree with this. I have found that living a life that is more centered around gratitude has brought so much peace into my life. I'm able to appreciate and be more in the moment, not letting all the little toxic thoughts and feelings take over but to really see all the beauty in my life. I'm more able to appreciate my kids, my husband, friends and family.
Life is, as they say, to short to waste on hurt, negative mind sets, toxic thoughts and unforgiveness (of others and of ourselves). Take the time to find healing in your life, you matter and you will not regret it. God doesn't want us to be stuck in a place of hurt and bitterness but a life of gratitude and joy in and through him.
"All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God." 2 Corinthians 4:15
"I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Psalms. 9:1
I love what it says in the first verse, it is for our benefit; as we experience gratitude we spread gratitude. Gratitude brings peace, joy and that steadfast attitude in times of struggle. This is a testimony of the Holy Spirit working in our life, as our thanksgiving overflows in us because of his enduring love!
I hope that my story will inspire you to find a life of gratitude and peace. If you are struggling In this area I would love to pray with/ for you. Please don't hesitate to contact me.