I absolutely love this time of year. Here in the USA, this time filled with family, friends, food for days, and football (for all my sports fanatics). For me, this is also a time to be reflective about all the things I’m thankful for.
I debated back and forth about sharing some of the things I’m grateful for. I didn’t want this to be another cheesy, seasonal, Christian cliché during this time of year. But I think of my sharing as a testimony of all what God has brought me through this year alone.
I’ve seen His hand in the small things. I’m talking so small, some would even call it insignificant. And I’ve also seen Him do the miraculous. Not only in my life but in the lives of others.
Before I share my list of things that I’m grateful for, I have to point this out. (Bear with me… This is me sharing my thoughts out loud. I hope you don’t mind.)
In the beginning of this year, I really desired to take my trust in God to another level. In fact, this year’s theme for me was TRUST. This would require more of God, less of me. More of God’s will and plans, less of my flimsy agenda.
I realized that as I started to trust God more, the greater capacity I had for thankfulness and gratitude. I’ll be honest. This year was FAR from perfect. In fact, one of the hardest I’ve had to endure. I’m sure for some of you reading, you can attest to that as well.
But I know without a doubt has God kept me as I kept on trusting.
My thankfulness is built on the structure of my trust in God.
And since my gratitude capacity is increased the more, I’ll now share my top five small and significant things that I’m thankful for this year.
My Village – Faithful Friends
God really did some relational cleaning and fine tuning when it came to friendships. He knew that more than ever I would need people who would truly stand by me and Donovan. He also showed us how to stand by them.
Donovan and I faced some serious hardships this year. We’re thankful to know that when we’re in need of virtually anything, our circle is there. These aren’t the friends that will text you “thoughts and prayers” or “Praying…” or toss up the prayer emoji when they have no intention on praying. They will call you even come to your house to stand in the gap and intercede in the spirit for you.
I realize more and more in the Christian community friendships and relationships like that are starting to be hard to come by. There are people who don’t feel free to be themselves or don’t feel comfortable fellowshipping with those they worship with. They feel lonely, outcasted, and misunderstood. I used to be that outcast for many years so I know what that’s like.
I’m thankful for the people that God has placed in my life to encourage me, sharpen me, stretch me whether it be for a season…or a lifetime.
Two weeks ago, Donovan and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary. YAY! *pops confetti* It was so nice to go on a mini staycation to unplug and spend quality time together. Looking back on this year, I can say that our marriages was TESTED in various ways. But God, fortified us where we can celebrate another year, reflect on what was, and look forward to the future.
I’m so thankful that God was our pillar in the good times and hard times. I’m also thankful that our connection and love for each other has deeply increased. Honestly, I don’t think that I could have done marriage without God being our rock.
Prayer Journals and Jamaican Ginger Tea
I know, I know. Technically, this would make four things I’m grateful for. But this kind as a package deal for me. Prayer journals and Jamaican ginger tea are simple and sweet pleasures for me. On really hard days or moments I need to reflect or decompress, I’m super thankful that I these lovely gifts are available to me.
I don’t take prayer for granted. In fact, within the last few years, I’ve learned to embrace it EVEN MORE. I remember finding myself struggling badly with depression a few years back and coping with it in unhealthy ways. My prayer journal has become an essential lifeline in deepening my relationship with God. It’s also helped tremendously with healing and my mental health.
As far as the Jamaican ginger tea…Well, it’s just really good. However, I enjoy it as alternative to relax instead of running to the wine bottle.
In the course of this year, God has been very gracious towards me. I’ve made some pretty colossal mistakes this year. Some I thought would take a lot to fix.
I’m so thankful that He’s giving me the space and the grace to become the woman that He’s designed me to be. I don’t take this grace for granted as I recognize this is something I don’t deserve. But it also teaches me to be kind to myself and recognize how flawed really am without Him.
Triumphs Over Trials
As crazy as this sounds, I’m learning to be thankful for the trials that I’ve had to endure. This is something I’ve struggled for YEARS because I focused more on the pain of the hardship than the promise of God being on my side and getting me through.
Let’s be honest, if at all possible, NO ONE likes to be afflicted or having to difficult circumstances. I know I don’t. However, I get to see what’s on the other side or the changes that are evident as God brings me through. My circumstances may not exactly change. But I know there’s a change in me.
I’m thankful for the resilience and strength that God has given me to press on during times where dire situations seemed like a dead end but was able to come out on top. We can definitely do ALL things through Christ who gives us strength! (Philippians 4:13)
There’s so many other things that I’m thankful for. But for the sake of not trying to put you to sleep, I’ll save it for another time.
No matter what country you live in or time of year, thanksgiving shouldn’t be reduced to one day to express what you’re thankful for. Thanksgiving should be a lifestyle. Because, there’s always something to be thankful for in everyday.
To my American friends reading this, have a SAFE, BLESSED, AND BEAUTIFUL Thanksgiving. For those all over the world, let me know what BIG or small thing you’re thankful for so we can celebrate and give thanks together.