The Thankfulness List

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A couple of years ago, I took the November Thanksgiving Challenge…at least that’s what I called it! Basically, you were supposed to post something on Facebook that you were thankful for daily during November. I decided to do this because at the time, I didn’t think I had much to be thankful for. And, I’m going to be honest here! It was hard to do. Everyday I would dread coming up with something to be grateful for. I mean how many times can you be thankful for your kids and your church?

It was a tough time in my life. I was still reeling from my divorce and my two teenagers were still dealing with anger and disappointment. I went from being a housewife to a full-time working mom, going to college. And, I had joint custody, which meant we rotated holidays. Every-other-Thanksgiving, I didn’t have my kids.

               Even years – Dad

               Odd years – Mom

It just wasn’t the same for me, or for my family, without the boys to cook for and play games with.

But, I knew I had to find some thankfulness somewhere! I could feel myself becoming hard. You know that feeling, don’t you?

“Don’t you dare cry, Gwen! Don’t you do it! Don’t let him see that this bothers you. Act like it’s no big deal. Shrug your shoulders.”

But, all that did was take its toll on my heart. My emotions were a part of me. Emotions are God-given and I was burying them, deep down.

I knew something needed to give. So, I decided to be thankful every day for 30 days. But, soon, the general things that makes everyone’s list, came to an end. And I still had a couple of weeks to go. Literally one night, I fell on my needs. “Father, help me! Help me find things to be grateful for. I don’t just want things to post on Facebook. I want to stop myself from becoming hardened by the tough things. I need help!”

And, just like a true daddy, He came through. Each day, I started seeing things in a different light.

That big house I had to clean made room for my kids and their friends to hang out in.

I always had the ingredients to make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for the boys.

We had warm clothes for the winter.

I had a paid off car.

I had a good job, that allowed me to take care of my kids and go to school.

I was even grateful my kids had their dad in their life – because some kids don’t.

Basically, I’ll the things I took for granted were the things I became the most grateful for! All that laundry, meant we had clothes. All that cooking meant we had food. All the tired nights meant we were living life all day.

But, the thing I became most grateful about was how my Daddy God came through. All I had to do was ask!

I’m not sure if you’re supposed to have a favorite book in the Bible, but mine is Ephesians.

“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” (Ephesians 1:5, NLT)

I read that verse and I realize that even if our natural family disintegrates, we have a Father who decided we were good enough to send His Son to die for us, just so we could spend eternity with Him! He loves us so much!

As single moms, the dynamics of our holidays may differ. And, I guarantee for every mom that struggles having to share holidays, there are moms who wish they had a day off to sleep. But, no matter what Thanksgiving Day looks like in our homes, we have a Father who is our family. Who loves us and cares for us. Who takes pleasure in us. Who knows exactly what is going on and is there to just hold us and surround us with his Love!

So, get out a piece of paper momma’s. Start writing down things you’re grateful for. And, when you run out of things, ask your Father for a different perspective; a different set of eyes. You’ll never know what you’ll see, or how it could change your entire outlook on life!

Live life on purpose, with purpose, for a purpose!

Gwendolyn Irene