Today’s response is to write out 5 things I am grateful for. That is easy enough, I am grateful for many things in my life so coming up with 5 will be a piece of cake. But wait, they should be a sacrifice. What?! According to YouVersion, a sacrifice means it hurts a little (or a lot). So…I need to thank God for things that hurt a little (or a lot!)? “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 (NIV) Okay okay. Here it goes–
The most glaring thing to thank Him for is Al dying. I have to be honest with you here. I know that Al’s death was something that I had to go through for me to become the version of myself that God has planned for me. I believe that maybe God had his reasons for “taking” Al, perhaps to fulfill Al’s destiny as well. But THANKING him for me losing my husband seems like a stretch! I am, however, giving myself completely to God and to this process. So I will do it.
The second thing is also connected to Al dying, and that is to thank God for the ability to care for him as he died. I have actually thanked him for this one before. Although watching the person you love most in this world fade away before your eyes is not even remotely “thanks inducing”, I do believe that I learned some valuable skills from the 14 month process. I learned to not accept the status quo from the health care providers. I learned that no one will tell you anything without being asked first and I learned that Dr.s and Nurses don’t know it all. Most importantly, I learned that I have a loud and powerful presence and was no longer afraid to use my voice to make sure things went the way Albert wanted them to go, especially when he was too weak to speak for himself. Recognizing that this was a gift from God that I was given to help me in my situation made it very “thanks inducing” after all. And I have thanked Him. But I will again because it was not an easy gift to receive from my Father.
The third thing I will thank my Lord for would be the death of my brother, Kevin. This is another one that I am able to see the gift from God in because the senseless death (he committed suicide) opened my eyes to the fact that I had a senseless existence in a lot of ways. You never really know why a person takes their own life, you can only speculate. I surmised that Kevin was unhappy with how his life was going and chose to just end it instead of working to make it better. I know the decision was NOT that easy for him and their were undoubtedly other variables, but this simplistic theory made me take an account of my own existence. I changed a lot about myself and my plan for the future. I went back to school online to get a Bachelors degree in Library Science and moved to a new job in the daycare field that I was in. After graduating, I got a short gig working Saturdays at a library and to quote “In Living Color”…Hated It In Living Color GIF from Hatedit GIFs
! Still, I thank God for giving me the skills, time and energy to complete my degree. And I never would have even gone there if my brother hadn’t died and forced me to question my own life.
The fourth sacrificial thank you I am offering to my Dad is the birth of my children. Having children is one of the biggest gifts I have ever received, but also one of the biggest challenges of my life. My first child was breach and born via C-section, pretty scary for a 21 year old girl who is basically a child herself. Worrying about how they will all be every minute of the day is quite a challenge. Throw in a few grand kids and I am surprised I even have time to think about anything else! However, the birth of my three children coincided with three life altering events. My brother Greg died in a car crash a few days before I found out I was pregnant with my oldest, my Grandfather died a few days before I found myself pregnant with my second, and truthfully I found myself pregnant with my third right around the time I was really having doubts about whether I would stay in my marriage. We did ultimately divorce, but not for three years after. That pregnancy was what convinced me to stay and even though I don’t know what it is, I am sure there was a reason God needed me to be where I was for a little bit longer. So thank you, God!
For a fifth thanks, I am struggling. Who would have thought I could struggle to decide on painful things to thank God for?! I could thank him for my childhood, it was pretty rocky at times but also pretty great. But maybe too broad a topic? Thank God for the trials and tribulations of starting my pet sitting business? I definitely cried out that I couldn’t do it anymore and put it in God’s hands before I saw any kind of spark that the business just might fire up and become the bonfire it was. I am kind of in that position again while I get my cat behavior/cat sitting business off the ground but I am not afraid this time because I know that God has got me in his hands. My earthly step-father dying was pretty awful. I still haven’t been able to find the “reason” for that death, so I think that is what I will pick. I feel like thanking God for something that I have been able to see the path it has pushed me on is cheating in a way. Faith is something that I feel in my heart and soul, even when I can’t or haven’t seen the end result. But thanking him for making things sometimes hard and uncomfortable to shape me into the person I am today and the person I will become doesn’t seem hard at all!