More times than I would like to admit, I catch myself only praying when I want something. I pray when I’m struggling. I pray when I need hope or insight or direction. I pray when I am feeling sad and defeated. And God is always there… even when I am not giving Him the recognition He deserves during the good times too.
So, for all those times I forget to be grateful, here are my reminders:
Thank you for this body.
I forget what this body has accomplished when I look in the mirror and cringe at my reflection. I forget about its physical strengths and unending ability to overcome obstacles and push past fatigue. I forget the countless minutes taken to train for races, the breathless hours of shuffling an elliptical, the strain taken to lift heavy barbells. The many sicknesses defeated. The dings and bangs that happened as a child and helped shape my adulthood.
Not everyone has the luxury of beginning and ending workouts on whims. Not everyone has the luxury of their bodies self-healing against diseases or the ability to find alternatives to better their health. Not everyone has the ability to take a step or lift a finger or see the wonderful colors of a sunset.
For the many intricate nerves and veins and muscles within me, thank you. Thank you for every scratch and stubbed toe and quickened heartbeat. Thank you for this beautiful body that allows me to move through life whole and explore the world which You’ve created.
Thank you for the broken and lonely hearts.
Many were the nights where my pillow was drenched with tears. Those nights I didn’t think I could get over him, or when I felt misunderstood, or where the future was a bleak glimmer on the horizon. I have felt heartbreak through loss of love, loss of friends, loss of endeavor, and loss from death. Each loss caused a new crack in my heart, some so deep that I feared how it could ever be mended. And with the heartache came loneliness. Loneliness that caused questions about who I was and what I wanted and what I deserved.
At the time, those broken and lonely hearts felt unfair. I turned my back to you countless times, crying out as to why I had to feel the pain and the loss and the unending questions. Yet through the heartbreak and my unwillingness to listen, You somehow taught me some tough lessons. Specifically I learned how to be whole. Whole through You.
Thank you for showing me how to heal. How to be on my own. How to find strength in my emptiness and build myself into a stronger, more complete woman. Thank you for your patience with me and for never turning your back on me, even when I did so to You. Thank you for leading me through the losses that felt like betrayals, and continuing to lead me through the losses that still house grief. Thank you for showing me the difference between temporary and everlasting.
Thank you for unanswered prayers.
Similarly, when I look over my past, it amazes me how many prayers prayed were left unanswered. Things I yearned for, people I desired to keep in my life, plans that came and went… all left in my past. It has taken me several “No’s” and plain ignorance to realize that those prayers would not have played out to the greater scheme You have designed for me.
So thank you for having a plan greater than anything I could ever imagine. Thank you for the blessings in disguise and not being my genie to grant my every wish. Thank you for the quiet shaking of your head as I cried myself to sleep begging to have my way.
Thank you for forgiveness.
Sometimes I really suck at being a Christian. I swear and I gossip. I question You and the plan for my life. Sometimes I’m selfish and ignore situations I know I should confront, choosing laziness over what is right and just. Sometimes I go weeks without opening a Bible, or sleep in on a Sunday morning, or wonder if you’re even listening when I finally remember to pray. Yes, sometimes I truly am a terrible Christian.
There are times when I let the negatives of life crush my spirit. I try to stay positive, but sometimes I fail. And in those failings I might lash out or live with spite or rage into a fit. I’m not always good at being good.
Yet You are always there, ready to forgive me. When I catch myself living a life that let’s You down and know that I’ve screwed up, You still love me. You provide me healing and bring new beginnings. Thank you for pulling me back to my feet when I am down. Thank you for accepting me as your sinful creation and still calling me Daughter. Thank you for the rainbows during storms and the peaceful stillness I receive while in your presence. Thank you for showing me unwavering love and always providing a way for me to start again.
Thank you for growth.
It is never easy to admit when I am wrong. But there are so many opportunities for me to do so. Throughout the years, it seems as if the cloak to my imperfections has slowly lost its opaqueness and my eyes are more open to the faults in my character. And with that awareness, I can actively navigate how to become a better version of myself each day.
Through the pain of my past and the promise of my future, attempting to find the energy to grow has become simpler. I may falter sometimes, but I am willing to admit those failings and account for my actions more readily.
Thank you for your assistance in rebuilding my heart, body, and soul back to their full strength over the years. Thank you for showing me how beautiful life can be when I let go of attempting to be perfect and embrace my imperfections. Thank you for your healing. Thank you for new hopes. And thank you for the many opportunities to begin anew.
Thank you for the unending blessings.
I keep a running gratitude corner in my planner. Each new week, I write three things that I am grateful for and try to focus my intention on thanking God throughout the week. Sometimes that gratitude is for nice weather, a loving partner, an accomplishment at work. Other times my gratitude comes from sore muscles, the lack of busyness, or learning of something wonderful happening to a friend.
Blessings come in a variety of forms, and it has taken me far too much time to discover this information. As previously said, some blessings are from loss, grief, pain, and God saying, “No.” Other blessings are more obvious such as a gift or kind gesture.
Whatever the form of my blessings, I am thankful, Lord. Thank you for your ending care and gifts of what I truly need. Thank you for knowing my innermost desires and fulfilling them as You know is best. Thank you for allowing me physical blessings as well as spiritual. And most importantly, thank you for your Son and the promise of eternal happiness following this already beautiful life.
Thank you for continuing to take me back, take me in, and take me for who I am.
I get lost in my thoughts often. Am I a good person? Am I doing what I should? What is my purpose in this life? Sometimes I lie to myself. Sometimes I fight an internal battle against what I think versus what I know to be true. I beat myself up mentally. I berate myself. I get discouraged and depressed. Then my mind does a somersault and I begin to think clearly again. I am not perfect, and that is something I will continue to wrestle with on a daily basis. Yet I know, deep down, that perfection is not necessary.
Like I’ve admitted, sometimes I am not a great Christian. I try to be a good person. There are times when I’ve tried to turn my cheek, hold my tongue, live with kindness rather than spite. I try to think of others before myself and remain positive. But often times I fail. I’ve lied and told people things they want to hear rather than the truth. I’ve been selfish. I’ve gone into rages. I’ve allowed my emotions to take over my better judgement.
Nonetheless, there You are, taking me for all my imperfections. You pick up my swearing, vengeful spirit and whisper calming words to my soul. You provide love and light in the darkness and remind me of who I am in You. Thank you for always picking me up when I fall. Thank you for your presence. Thank you for sending your Son to die for me and erase all my sins. Thank you for not giving up on my brokenness.
Thank you for your unending, unconditional love. Thank you for leading me to find wholeness through and in You.