Gratitude

 

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Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Gratitude can be hard. Amiright? Like, when life is aallllll good and easy breezy, finding things to be grateful for is easy. “I’m grateful my kids were all perfect little angels today. I’m grateful for my awesome job promotion. I’m grateful for the outstanding health of my family. I’m grateful my whole entire house is perfectly, spotlessly clean. etc. etc. etc.” But what about in the storms? What about when the sun isn’t all bright and shiny. What about when those strong winds blow, and I mean hard, against your house? What then? How can we be grateful when our wombs that we so desperately want filled are still empty? How can we be grateful when that baby we so longed for left us too soon? How can we be grateful when we are so sick we can barely stand? What then? How can we be grateful?

Friends. I’m about to tell you a really hard, maybe painful, truth, but please know that I am speaking it in love. This is in no way a smack on the hand, or an invitation to “be more holy,” but rather a loving nudge to find a way to breathe when you feel like you’re suffocating. Gratitude is a choice. Always a choice. Ever a choice. Gratitude. The definition of gratitude is: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. The quality of being thankful. Readiness to show appreciation. This is hard stuff, right? Dear one, I feel you. I know. There have been days when I have strived to be grateful. Days when it felt like being grateful was simply not possible. In fact, I once got a mug for a friend who had recently lost a baby that said something along the lines of, “Thank you, Lord.” I told her it was so she could try to remember the things that she was thankful for, but that she also had permission to throw that mug against the wall and smash it into a million pieces, if that felt better. It can be that hard. Most of us have been there at one point or another. And that’s ok.¬†

It’s totally ok to be at a point in your life where you are struggling to feel grateful. Because it’s in those moments when you find the things to be the most grateful for.¬†Sometimes when we’re put between a rock and a hard place, amazing things happen. God opens our eyes to see what’s truly in front of us.

Are you at a place where you’re struggling to be grateful? Can I help you take that very first step in the choice to be grateful? Find one thing. Just one. One tiny little thing to be grateful for. And then speak it. Did you load one dirty dish into your dishwasher today? Praise Jesus! Grateful. Were you able to pour yourself a glass of clean water to quench your thirst. Incredible! Grateful. Were both of your socks hole free when you pulled them onto your feet this morning. Nothing like it! Grateful. It doesn’t matter how small or inconspicuous it may seem, you will be able to find something to be grateful for. Did you have a tissue to blow your nose while you were crying today. Thank you Lord! Grateful. Your phone was fully charged and ready to go when you woke up. Can I get an Amen? Grateful. Somebody posted a funny gif when you looked at that fully charged phone. Yes, please! Grateful. Start small. Work your way up. You’ll get there. I promise. Just give it time. If you need help thinking of something to be grateful for, phone a friend and ask them! I’m sure they would be more than happy to help you out.

And friend, just because you’re grateful, doesn’t mean that you have to be ok. It doesn’t mean that all the darkness has gone away. It just means that you’ve taken a tiny little pin and started to poke holes in it to let the light shine through. That’s all. It means you’re taking a first, tiny little step into letting your heart heal, whatever that may look like.

In this season where gratitude takes center stage, even if every thing in your life seems to be going wrong, or simply not according to plan, know that you can also take part in this whole gratitude thing. The choice is up to you. And it’s a choice you won’t ever regret. Honestly. Grateful for all of you. Grateful you’re tagging along for my journey. Each and every single day. Thank you.

October

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October. I love October. It’s my favorite month of the whole year. Leaves changing, pulling out the sweaters, a sudden crisp in the air, pumpkin spice lattes. You know, all the things that make fall, fall. Even in the midst of all those amazing things, October still holds a certain sadness for me. October was the month I was supposed to have Judah. If I’m being honest, I don’t even 100% remember my due date, but it was within the first week. I always longed for an October baby. It is, after all, my favorite month. As soon as I knew my due date, I started planning a pumpkin patch first birthday party. I had pinned pins for it and everything. I was so excited. I had literally prayed for an October baby. I was crushed when everything came crashing down.

Did you know October is Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Awareness Month? Did you know there are so many women out there who have lost babies? Were you aware that you probably know some, but you simply may not know their story. When we lost Judah, it was like women were coming out of the woodwork. I had no idea that I knew so many people who had lost a child. When I posted our Judah Story, even more women came forward to share parts of their journey with me. What an honor!¬† I felt so humbled-and so saddened-by the amount of loss surrounding me. But it’s been in moments like those, that I know I am called to something more. That I’m called to share my story, and to help other women share theirs.

This journey of loss can be so overwhelming and all consuming. Some days-especially at first-it can be so hard to know how to get on with life. There are days, and nights, filled with unbearable grief. There are aches so deep, it feels like nothing could ever touch them. There’s a part of yourself that gets lost with each precious life you lose. Parts of yourself that may never come back. A part of you that will never be “fully whole” again. But with Jesus, there’s a peace which surpasses understanding. There is hope for a new tomorrow. There are hands that can reach those deep down aches and turn them into something so beautiful, you hardly recognize them. And while the “old you” may never show her face again the way she used to, there will be a new you. A woman who can see more deeply the hurts of those around her. A woman who can hold somebody’s hand and know how much it really means to simply be there. A woman who may have some hairs that are grayed and some wrinkles on her face, but is a whole different kind of beautiful because life has happened to her, and she has endured it. A woman who has learned to thrive, not just in spite of, but because of the things she has faced. A woman broken, beautiful, and made new.

I specifically remember walking around the dollar store days after we lost Judah. I think we were shopping for stuff for his funeral. Every part of me felt heavy. I just looked at the people around me and thought, “Not a single person in this store (apart from my family) knows what I’ve faced these past few days. They don’t have a clue what I’ve been through.” I almost felt like I was walking in a dream. Every time I deal with a difficult person, or somebody who seems disconnected or angry or upset or sad or “off”, I think of this moment. I think, “I have no idea what they’ve been through. I have no clue what the past couple of days, or weeks, or months, or years have held for them. I need to give them some grace.” I am so grateful I’m able to have that perspective. It gives me a more sincere, genuine Christ-like love. Even when I’m not my best self towards those people, I later remember to pray for them. And I’m grateful.

There are pieces of me that are better because of what I’ve been through. And there are pieces of me that are worse. I’ll share more of all of those things along the way. If you want a little sneak peak: I have more anxiety, but I also know more how to act towards those who are hurting. My marriage was not good, and then my marriage was amazing. I often think I’m dying (no really), but I value life so much more. I am a totally different person, but I’m truly grateful for that. While I don’t love the circumstances that brought me here, I can say with all sincerity, that I am thankful for where those circumstances have brought me.

While I’ve shared our Judah Story, I have yet to share our Twin Story. I know I need to, but for some reason I always feel like something is holding me back. I don’t know if it’s fear, or if the timing doesn’t feel right, maybe it doesn’t feel organic, or it may be that I still have unresolved hurts that I’m not sure I want to bring up yet. Either way, it’s on my list to post that this month. I was planning on sharing it tonight, but when I started typing, that’s simply not what came out. I kept trying to tie it in somewhere, and it just didn’t feel right. Not tonight. I’m also wanting to post some helpful tips for those of you who maybe haven’t lost a baby-to help those who have. And for you who, precious one, who has experienced loss-on any level-I see you. I hear you. I am with you. Reach out to me and we can chat. This journey is so much better together.

P.S.- I’m enjoying my little man all the more this October! I mean, look at that sweet little hand!!!!!