Gratitude changes everything, Do you believe this? Well, I know that I do because through my most difficult days, I discovered gratitude on a completely new level. I always thought I was a grateful person, but when you look sickness and evil in the eyes you get a whole new mindset. There were days where I would be so distraught and confused at the cruelty of the world. I would question why the Lord was allowing all these different types of hurt and illness that we were living through. I would wake up again and pull myself up and push forward like everything was fine. Those moments of feeling total defeat led me on this journey. In the beginning, I would have nothing else to do but pray through those times. Those were prayers of desperation for God to stop the nonsense going on around my family. Day in and day out, my faith was shaken at the selfishness and corruption in my everyday world.
First, evil tried to take out my husband and an occupation he is so passionate about, then my oldest was put through a sudden illness, and then my youngest daughter was put through utter betrayal. We would yet again survive that circumstance and crawl back to our feet only to be hit with the loss of my precious father-in-law. Have you ever felt like you were standing in a room screaming for help but no one could hear you? That was me. Little did l know that all the time God could hear us and was answering, I just didn't know it yet. During that time, I felt a level of desperation that I would not wish on anyone. Everyday, I would say, “Today is the day it is all going to stop and no more bad things are going to come against my family.” Those days turned into years and it all kept rolling in like a constant storm. We would have a few months of calm then here the storm would come all over again. I would try to figure out what in the world was happening to us. How could our days go from so good to so bad just because of the evil nature of people in this world. Then, one day the word gratitude started showing up everywhere I looked. I dismissed it at first then it became so repetitive that I could not overlook it anymore. It was everywhere, and it seemed like God was trying to tell me something and He wasn’t going to stop until it clicked with me. When I started paying attention it changed my mindset, and when I started being thankful and keeping a gratitude journal, things finally started changing for me. It took months but finally I realized all this rejection was God”s plan to redirect us as a family to things so much better than we could have imagined.
When I could find gratitude for all the hardships we had endured it all got much better, and in the midst of those hardships we were still so blessed. It was hard in the beginning, how could I find gratitude in my family being hurt or sick? I had to change my perspective from “Why is this happening to us?” to “What is this trying to teach us?” I learned so much from that perspective shift. God could see the evil plots we were unaware of, but I couldn’t. He could see the ugliness around us that was camouflaged with smiling faces, but I couldn’t. My baby girl had to have emergency brain surgery, that was a hard one to deal with. I might not have understood then, but somehow that too was meant to shift our focus. My focus was shifted to things that really mattered, like health and my family. No longer were we tortured by the very things that were meant to destroy us, we were strengthened by them. People who put you in hardships will have to answer for that one day, and it’s not your burden to carry. The people that show up to walk through the storm with you are your people. There are so many things to be thankful for, even though hard times make that a little harder to see. In the last two years I have made my best efforts to find gratitude in everything, and it has made all the difference. I encourage you to practice gratitude and I pray it helps you just the way that it helped me!