A Grateful Heart

I was standing in the thank you note section of Target today, when I was hit with a wave of emotions. Humility, heartbreak, love, but most of all… gratitude. Ya see, I was in this section of the store to find cards to express my thanks to a small group of truly amazing women. These neighborhood ladies took a fellow momma-to-be and me out to dinner last night and showered us with love, friendship, and baby necessities. As I stood there, trying to decide which floral design or baby-themed card I liked best, it struck me that not only are people good, but God… God is GOOD. I am buying thank you notes because in 2 1/2 short months, we’re going to be welcoming a new life into this world. A life that I get to help shape, mold, and care for. A life that, Lord willing, will not be cut short. Thinking about that as I type still makes me tear up. It’s something that, for years, I’ve wondered if I’d ever have the chance to do again. And I’m grateful. So. So. Grateful.

John and I have talked several times about why God “allows” the things he does. Or why things happen the way they do. Even today, after sharing that moment of intense gratitude with him we still wondered, “but why?” I think that’s one of the many things that we are, perhaps, never supposed to understand. It leads us into a deeper level of faith and trust when we admit that we aren’t meant to understand it, but that we are so appreciative of the blessings when they arise. And that’s what I believe. We live in a broken world, where really bad things happen to really good people. Where everyone has free-will and can make choices accordingly, but sometimes things happen that don’t appear to be the result of a choice or decision we made. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it until the day I die, there are many times, even as a person of faith, that I wonder- WHY is God doing this? WHY is God allowing this to happen? And honestly… I still don’t know the answer. But what I do believe is that in every moment of pain, in every moment of suffering, and in every moment of joy… our spirit grows. We have the opportunity to use every obstacle and blessing that we encounter as a chance to further develop our relationship with Him.

Which leads me in to my next thought…. I don’t take every one of these opportunities as they are presented to me, and use them as I could. Often times I complain in the misery, cry in the sorrow, and take for granted all of the blessings. I don’t think God judges me for that, because I’m human and FAR from perfect. But in moments like today, when I stopped and realized what a gift I’ve been given, and how thankful I am, to the deepest part of my soul, for the opportunity to be a mother not only to this little girl, but to my other 3 as well and to have friends who will take the time out of their lives to celebrate that… it makes me pause and really praise The One who did it all. And I believe He loves that, not because he’s proud, but because He wants us to be closer to him, and gratitude provides us that opening.

It’s been a rough couple of days, in which I have allowed myself to wallow in frustration, stress, and pregnancy hormones. But one tiny moment in a store helped shift my perspective in a big way. It opened my eyes to the missed opportunities when I could have leaned more on God and less on myself, been more grateful for the stressful moments because they prove that I have things and people worry about and care for, and to count my blessings, trying to recognize them as they come, and not take them for granted.

Ultimately, I guess I just wanted to share that I am grateful. I’m grateful for sacrifices people make for good causes, for time spent celebrating new life, for friendships that can always be relied on, for family who is always there to support one another, and for the little reminders that come at the most unexpected and divine times. I’m grateful that we can trust in the fact God is working all things for the good of those who love Him. That even in the darkest of moments, His promises remain true.

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