Neighbor and I recently started going through the book One Thousand Gifts. We are not that far into it, yet, but my mind has been racing with how to be grateful when life doesn't go as we planned. When pain, unspeakable and unexplainable pain, enters our lives. How can we find gratitude in those situations?
It's easy to be grateful when the birds are singing, the sun is shining and life is "perfect". But it's another thing altogether when financial stress is upon us, we are battling our kids, there is tension in our marriage, terrible health news is upon us, or even death. How can we be thankful even in those situations?
The answer...thankfulness and gratitude is learned. We can't find ourselves in those situations and all of the sudden decide that we're going to be grateful. It's just not going to happen. We have to start in our everyday life, in the mundane tasks, and express gratitude.
We need to be thankful for that cup of coffee we enjoyed this morning. For the sun shining through the windows or the gray clouds promising rain. For the warm blankets we can cuddle up in at night or the cool sprinkler our kids can run through in the hot sun.
Only after we learn to be thankful in the little moments of our day will we be able to express gratitude in everything, even during the most difficult moments of our lives. It's a discipline we have to teach ourselves and our children.
My desire and challenge to myself is to slow down enough each and every day to see the blessings before me, in all things, even when they're difficult to see and thank God for every gift He has given me.