"Gratitude gets us through the hard stuff.
To reflect on your blessings is to rehearse God's accomplishments.
To rehearse God's accomplishments is to discover His heart.
To discover His heart is to discover not just the good gifts, but the Good Giver.
Gratitude always leaves us looking at God and away from dread.
It does to anxiety what the morning sun does to the valley mist.
It burns it up."
~Max Lucado, "You'll Get Through This"
I heard a speaker a few weeks ago at the women's conference I attended with my mother and sisters who spoke about giving thanks during the hard places in your life. She talked about how if we take a step back and stop focusing on our pain, our confusion, or how our life isn't going exactly as planned and instead focus on the things in our lives that are actually going right-even the things that seem so small-how much happier we would be. The Bible says, "the JOY of the Lord is my STRENGTH." Therefore joy = strength. If I am happier, I will have the strength to face whatever comes my way. And the best way to find true joy is by turning our focus away from the things that are hurting us, and towards the things that are getting us through the mundane.
I have literally clung to these truths over the last few weeks, because even before I heard her speak, I had found that on the days I would choose to focus on the positive things in my life-the easier it was to get through the day. And on the days when you're coaching yourself through every single second of every single minute, you definitely need the positive to help you see why it's all worth it.
So, since that conference, I have been working on a list of 1,000 things I am thankful for and I wanted to share some of them with you. I know that today is the day I should write the usual post about how thankful I am for my family, my daughter, my job, and my health. While I am SO thankful for those things, I wanted to share with you the little things. The fuel for my fire.The things that get me through everyday. The things that are causing me to whisper, "Thank you, Lord", on even the roughest days.
And here is my list so far:
1. Alarm clocks.
2. Freshly washed and blow dried hair.
3. Coffee for my cup.
4. God's promise: "If you seek Me, you will find Me when you seek Me with all your heart." (Jer. 29:13-14)
5. New beginnings. A fresh start. A clean slate.
6. Earl Grey tea
7. Seat warmers in my car.
8. The way music heals and speaks to me.
9. Kasie: my tiger sister. My protector.
10. That I am not rich or poor, but that I simply have enough.
11. That the Lord is my bravery every single day.
12. For the days Emma comes home to me.
13. For the nights I get to make dinner for my daughter.
14. Family who is always willing to help.
15. The trials of motherhood: I am thankful that I even get to experience them.
17. That I am beautiful in my daughter's eyes.
18. Hope in the midst of tribulation.
19. Brand new books.
20. Friday nights that are filled with Emma and nights in with other mothers instead of bars.
21. Mya: the sister I always wanted for Emma.
22. A boss who understands.
23. A place to worship: whether at church or in my aunt and uncle's home.
24. Sunday lunches at my Grandma's with my whole family.
25. Jannea: my best friend who is always, always there.
26. A brand new handle for my car door! Finally!
27. Lazy Monday mornings at home.
28. Oatmeal on chilly mornings.
29. New Girl. Because sometimes laughter really is the best medicine.
30. A smile on a lonely night.
31. First dates.
32. Wisdom that has come from hard, painful lessons learned.
33. Sleeping in late.
34. That I am able to finally start getting my paperwork together for my passport! This girl is going places!
35. The strength I find in learning to trust Him more and more everyday.
36. Sick days a.k.a days I just want to play hooky.
37. For the ability to be friends with my ex...most days.
38. That Christ is my hope.
39. Lessons that are taught to me by my daughter.
40. Little moments of happiness on a long journey.
42. Old movies that I love.
43. The way God uses gratitude to fix my attitude (cheesy, I know!)
44. Sisters who care in their funny ways.
45. A heart that is healing-slowly, but surely.
46. My very first turkey.
48. My sweet Eden who changed my life for the better.
49. Sunny days that chase the blues away.
50. The type of happiness that can only be given to you by your friends.
52. Aunts who come to the rescue with family recipes that have been misplaced.
53. A huge family that lives in the same town that I get to spend every holiday with.
54. Forgiveness and mercy that is new every single morning.
55. That I'm actually starting to enjoy the silence.
This is my list, and I'm still working for it. I have tuned my heart and mind into the things that seem trivial, because those are the things are given to me by a God who is showing me every single day that He is always working. Always orchestrating my life for His plan. And that no matter what, at the end of the day...even the worst days...I still have SO much to be thankful for.