Life is Hard: I Will Choose to be Thankful…

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I admit I had a relatively easy first 27 years of my life.  It wasn’t perfect but nothing tragic or earth shattering.

Then, something changed; somewhere along the way life got hard.  We wanted to start a family.  After a few months of trying we became pregnant but experienced a miscarriage.  About a year after, I gave birth to an incredible baby boy.  I thought having a baby would be blissful, happy, and, well, easy.  WRONG.  My son was  not an easy baby.  He didn’t sleep in his crib on his own no matter what we tried for more than a couple hours until he was well over a year.  We had one struggle after another his first two years of life – they weren’t life threatening just all those little things that compiled all together to make it hard.  I don’t share all that to say “woe is me” but rather to say my life, my children, my marriage, and certainty I am not perfect.  Many days I thought  “I can’t do this!”  This isn’t what I signed up for.  No one tells you this stuff and if they do, well, you don’t really get it until you live it.  Being a parent is HARD.

I remember a little over a year ago, for the first time, it just hit me LIFE IS HARD.  We were going through a time  of nightly allergy attacks with my son (he would cough all night and wake 4-5 times a night and so it went for 3 months).  My husband and I struggled to function in daily life with extreme fatigue.  Then my youngest started to get re-occurring ear infections closer and closer together.  I remember longing for life to be easy and if I could just sleep!

This journey lead me to realize how ungrateful I was for all that God has blessed me with.  I was bitter for not having easy babies and having a child who had a list food sensitivities.  Every time one of the boys would wake up in the night it stirred up deep emotions full of resentment.

How do I change my ungratefulness to Thanksgiving in the everyday hardness of life….

Acknowledge those Feelings

I think the first step for me was to realize all those feelings I had stuffed back there simply because I didn’t have the where with all to deal with them while I was going through it all.  Resentment, Bitterness, Discontentment…  Then for me talking about it with my husband was so healing.

Music  

Can transcend and speak to your soul like nothing else.  Here is the song that spoke to me a year ago when I was going through so many sleepless nights.  I feel like it was written just for me!  “Blessings” by Laura Story

Writing/Journaling

A Mentor

Find a wise woman to encourage you!  Someone who can say I have been there too and you will make it through!

Prioritize

Do you need to purge your responsibilities?   I just stepped down from a ministry at church that I love but I realized I have the rest of my life to serve in that role but only a short amount of time to serve my boys.  Say NO!

Sleep

I was staying up too late and it was taking its tole. Go to bed!

My List of Gifts….

God brought the book “1000 Gifts” by Ann Voskamp into my life at the perfect time.  Ann shares her own journey to thanksgiving that was steeped in tragedy.  Ann isn’t afraid to ask those “why” questions.  Have you ever read a book and felt it pierce your heart and soul?  You read the words and your breath is taken away because someone has put into words your exact thoughts and emotions. That is exactly how I felt when I started reading this book.   As I kept reading my heart started to heal.

A friend challenged Ann to make a list of her 1,000 gifts.  So I started.

Somewhere along the way I stopped comparing my inadequacies to others strengths started to fade along with my discontentment.  I stopped comparing all of what I thought were my children’s weakness and started loving them for how God made them.  It has become easier for me to accept the highs and lows of all God has given me.  Sounds silly just a list of things we are thankful for right… But I dare you to start you won’t be the same.

The Challenge…

4 gifts a day and you will have 1,000 by the end of the year.  Start reading the book if you want (amazon, Family Christian, Wellsprings, Barnes & Nobles).  I am starting to read the book over.  My goal is 1 chapter a week.  After you start, please email me how you have been blessed – what has changed in your life because you are thankful.  I want to post a follow up in a few months with your stories! (they can be anonymous) [email protected]

Many of you have been through more tragic life events than I have.  Whatever your life story I think we can agree life is hard but together let’s choose to be Thankful.

I pray the hard times in my life aren’t wasted and I come out of them a better person.  God has used the hard times in my life to grow my faith and dependence on him.  I never would have known that without the trials.

Tell me what helps you get through life in those hard times?

 

4 COMMENTS

  1. I just finished reading 1,000 Gifts last night! Along with me keeping my own running list, we also started keeping a family gratitude journal – every night following dinner everyone says one thankful or gift in that day. If we miss a night we use Ann’s Joy Dare Collection to get us thinking outside the box. I highly recommend this book – she is a very poetic writer and is very open and honest in her struggles. I definitely think if we focus on gratitude there is little to no room for discontent in our lives – only Joy!

    • @suschdcore I love your ideas of the family journal.  I have thought about trying this with my boys.  I was simply amazed at how much yuck in my life stemmed from being ungrateful!  A friend tol me too you can check out Ann’s blog as she has great ideas if you are stumped of what to add to your list.  Like she has list 3 things that are yellow.

      • @JodiZeaPeterson yes – you can print off her Joy Dare Collection for three gift ideas every day of the year. Some of the ideas really make you think outside of the box – our kids have come up with some great gifts using the lists.

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