Give thanks in all circumstances.
I was up early a few mornings ago reading when these words flashed across the page. I thought for a moment about the ‘circumstances’ our family has faced in the past year. And then I gave thanks. Because that’s what you need to do. It’s the only way to make it through adversity. Be grateful. Give thanks in all circumstances.
I’m not saying that because everything’s been rosy. For the majority of this past year the road has not risen up to meet us. It’s been a year of trial and error. We’ve gone through trials and made many errors. It’s been a journey filled with growth. But as I sat on our sofa in our living room, in the wee hours of the morning with just a single lamp lit, I was filled with gratitude. No…I was overcome with gratitude. There’s so many reasons we’re thankful! Here are 6 of them…
- The Adoptive and Foster Care Journey. I’ll begin here. What can I say? This journey, while far from perfect, or rosy, or glamorous, has made me a much better version of myself than any other journey I could have chosen in life!
- Second Chances. If there’s one word that could serve as a banner over 2017, it’s grace. Grace has led the way more than I could count. We’ve been given lots of grace but we’ve also had the opportunity to extend grace. Nothing feels better as far as we’re concerned. This blog itself is part of a second chance. Several years ago, when we decided to take writing and public speaking full-time, this platform gave us the means to do so. It was our “do-over!”
- Bigger Stories. Out of all the stories we thought our life would be about, a bigger one has unfolded, and is unfolding every day. We often tell audiences that, back when we were in college, we thought our life would go. We thought we had it all figured out. But we really had no idea what God was up to, nor how He would script our life. It’s an amazing story of adoption, a story of hope, and a story of grace! While this year has had it’s ups and downs, it’s all part of this bigger story we are living. We’ve learned that sometimes trials are just life cues on the pages of your big story script!
Sometimes trials are just life cues on the pages of your ‘big-story’ script!
- Our Amazing Children. We love our children so deeply. So…incredibly…deep my friends! I never knew my heart could love so deeply. We love them as if we created them biologically. Heck, we love them more than that. We look at them and marvel at the incredible blessing they are to us. Life is far from perfect for us. In fact, we have been in the darkest, deepest trench you could imagine. But we’re still grateful. We’re grateful that we are called mom and dad by the most beautiful, talented, and hilarious children on earth.
- Generous People. If I wrote a book on generosity, I could fill most of the pages with stories from this year alone. We’ve witnessed some unbelievable acts of generosity. We are thankful for our best friends who have never stopped loving us or support us. We are thankful for all of the people we’ve met across the country this year who have big hearts for adoption and foster care. We call you friends and family.
- You! Speaking of family….you! Let’s talk about you for a minute. We love you. We are grateful for our amazing, beautiful blog audience. You are our people, our tribe. We are thankful every day for each of you. We love your stories, your families, your hearts, and your hilarious comments on Facebook and in our blog comments. Without you there wouldn’t be….this! Any of this. You guys make Confessions what it is. We are beyond the moon grateful for you.
The one big lesson I’ve learned? If you and I practice thankfulness on a consistent basis, negative thought patterns will gradually grow weaker and weaker. It’s true. After I was suddenly fired from my job at a church several years ago, I had a choice. I could choose to let negativity win, or I could choose to be thankful in all circumstances. I could have blasted several people over the internet. Could have lost my cool. But I didn’t. Not because I was loaded with a ton of self-control or self-restraint (trust me- I had my moments behind closed doors!). I chose to be grateful because I was not about to let negativity win.
If you and I practice thankfulness on a consistent basis, negative thought patterns will gradually grow weaker and weaker.
An attitude of gratitude, in the midst of trials, is how you make it through the trials to the other side. Giving thanks in all circumstances, even when those circumstances take the life out of you is the only way to live a full life.
It’s not easy. In fact, I’ll just say it- it’s extremely hard to do. We’re human beings and we are forced to live in a world that’s built on entitlement, self-gratification, and quick fixes. But look around you. Open your eyes and look at your life. In-spite of the trials, the difficulties, the pain and agony, you have so much to be thankful for. The fact that you’re reading this post means you’re alive. Isn’t that reason enough to give thanks?
What are you thankful for this year? What have you learned in-spite of the trials you’ve faced? Share with us.