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Gratitude is a Choice

My cup is full and it overflows in ways I never could have imagined. This morning, I was able to go spend time with a group of women who love the Lord. We meet weekly, doing Bible study. We’ve been working through Isaiah as of late. We share the Word together, share prayer requests and praise reports. We eat together and just love on each other. Earlier this week, I spent time with my husband and kids, just hanging out, eating together and just enjoying each other. The weather has been warming up, so I’ve been able to spend more time outside, getting to see all the green coming back, watching flowers bloom and all the critters coming back around. I’ve also had some small wins in some long-term health struggles. Today, I came home and got some basic chores done so I could sit down to work on what God has laid on my heart to share with the world. Have things gone wrong this week? Lol, yes. I had unexpected flat tire, which took three days to repair. Twice this week I endured dreaded migraines, which render at least half of my day useless. And, while I’m not sure if it could be considered going wrong for me, I had an unexpected conversation with a very dear family member that just broke my heart because of the eternal impact of the conversation. I’m sure my day isn’t as tough as many of you, and there were times in my life where I never thought I would see the light at the end of the tunnel. But I can say, truthfully, that ever since I committed to following Jesus with everything inside me, that I turn to him for everything. And He faithfully provides for every need, almost never in the way I would expect or prefer, but I have never been abandoned. And I am profoundly grateful for the work, the hard work, He has done in my life.

Before I committed my heart and life to the Lord, I was a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual trainwreck. I can admit that. I found myself in so many situations that were unthinkable, unsafe, irresponsible, and just plain stupid. And I had the mindset of “Oh, pity me, it’s not my fault.” Someone else was always to blame. Or the situation “couldn’t be helped.” Or I blamed my upbringing/lot in life. I mean, it was ridiculous. There was no personal responsibility. No thought that I needed to account for my actions. No thought that my actions could/would negatively impact the lives of people I loved. It was very much a survivalist mentality and thought process that the world should let me slide because of circumstances. No need to say this mindset was very destructive and non-productive. But I chose to live in the chaos and mud. No understanding that there was a loving God who wanted the best for me and had a plan for my life beyond what I could conceive. But God had other plans.

Every follower of Jesus has their journey to meeting Him. Mine happened to be fairly traumatic for me. But when I finally met Him, I quickly understood things would be different. Expectations had changed. It would be twelve long years after meeting Him before I would really learn and come to trust that His plans really are the best. I can admit I am a stubborn and slower learner, at times. It makes me sad that it took me so long to start seeing a marked upward trajectory in my relationship with Jesus, but there is a reason for everything. So, I must be content those years were meant to be to bring me to the place of sheer trust and gratitude I have in and for God/Jesus/Holy Spirit today. It is not easy to write, sometimes, because it causes me to travel back in time and it brings a lot of tears and remorse, as I see how selfish and just ignorant, I have been.

But, it also makes me so, so much more grateful for the love, mercy, and patience, God has demonstrated in my life. It is a spiritually cathartic exercise to stop and remember what God has delivered me from. I was undeserving of anything and everything God has done for me. I still am undeserving of it and no matter how close I come to reflecting the face of God on this earth, I’ll still never deserve it. But that is what makes it so profound, so valuable beyond measure for me. It causes me to want to give everything I have in time, thought, heart, energy, love, obedience, finance, and talent back to Him because I KNOW it is really all His gift to me. I am joyfully waiting for the opportunity to cast however many crowns He sees fit to award me right back at His feet. Indeed, Paul was so correct when he said, “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8).

Gratitude is such a special place to live. You will see the world differently when you live in it. Difficult situations will be more bearable. Celebrations will be sweeter. Quiet time will be more impactful. Every day life will become more vivid and alive with the true appreciation of what happened on a wooden cross 1,991 years ago, on a hilltop named Golgotha, outside of a city called Jerusalem, as the Son of God was crucified, to save you and me, to afford us His endless Grace, that only He could


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