To me, the word “thankful” is one of such meaning, such depth. It’s hard for me to even work out exactly what I want to say, there are so many different places I could go with this. But, after pondering for a while, I thought the best way to capture what I mean would be to share some stories and illustrations from my own life, using the word “thankful” as an acrostic to describe what inspires gratitude in my heart. This post is going to be a lot more personal, more emotional than is typical for me, (and probably quite long!) but I think taking time to pause and reflect on life and live a life of gratitude is so worthwhile. I hope what I share, the reflections below, inspire you to do the same!
T is for “time”
I’m sure many of you are familiar with Gary Chapman’s “5 Love Languages”, a concept he uses to help people discover how they best show and receive love and affirmation. For me, quality time is at the top of the list. I am so thankful for all the wonderful people in my life, and the time they spend with me. Whatever it looks like – a playdate with a good friend and her children, tea with a nursing school chum, a good long chat on the phone with my mom, a date night out with my husband, or innumerable other examples – I feel so loved and valued when the people I care about make the time to spend it with me. I am touched when strangers take time to say hello, or demonstrate unexpected kindness. The other day, a lovely woman in the grocery store took the time to follow me down two aisles to catch me and return a sock that one of my children had sneakily removed! My life would be incomplete without all the wonderful people I share it with, and I am so thankful for all of them!
I’m also thankful for the times or seasons of life I have travelled through, and those yet to come. I’ve lost count of how many times older and wiser men and women have come up to me at the grocery store as I’m pushing my enthusiastic little people around in the shopping cart and told me “enjoy this time with your little ones, it will be gone before you know it”. I think that principle applies to every season of life! I have such fond memories of those heady newlywed days when my husband and I were first learning how to live life together. I smile every time I think back on those sleep-deprived days after we welcomed our first child, fondly remembering how I could spend all afternoon sitting on the couch and holding her, just marvelling at every facial expression and newborn snuffle. There have been hard things, of course, struggles and challenges I never would have chosen for myself, but I am thankful for those too, and for the way they have changed me and caused me to grow. I am thankful for each of the seasons of life I have been blessed to experience, and am striving to remember to be thankful in each moment and enjoy it as it comes!
H is for “home”
I love my home. As soon as we walked through the doors for the very first time with our realtor, I knew it was the place I had been looking for. It’s cozy and comfortable, with just enough quirkiness to make it perfect for me. I’ve dusted and washed and painted every wall, chosen where each picture hangs, cleaned up Cheerios and Snackies off every square inch of carpet – I am intimately acquainted with my home! Since choosing to stay home with our children (a choice I am so thankful I had the luxury of being able to consider), my home has become my workplace, my own little kingdom. It’s been humbling and eye-opening, and is an ongoing journey, but one I wouldn’t trade for anything. I am thankful for days in the backyard with my kids, splashing in the wading pool and working in my garden. I am thankful that I can walk to the library and the outdoor farmers’ market and the swimming pool and don’t have to drive everywhere. I am thankful for our wonderful neighbours. I am thankful that my old kitty can live with us and we are not limited by rental agreements. I am thankful for solid walls and a working furnace to keep me cozy during the cold of winter. I am thankful for my reading chair, my sewing area, my knitting corner. I am thankful for my beautiful kitchen, renovated to be everything I ever dreamed of and more. I am thankful for all the memories these walls hold, and all the life that fills them.
A is for “abilities”
I am thankful today for many things I never would have considered in the past. As a nursing student, I worked several summers at an amazing camp for individuals of all ages with disabilities, and my life was forever changed. I am thankful that I can get out of bed in the morning without help. I am thankful that I am able to eat food, to chew it myself and swallow it unaided. After twice experiencing quite intense morning sickness, I am thankful for food that stays in my stomach after I’ve put it there! I am thankful for ginger and saltine crackers to bridge that distance until the second trimester relief arrives. I am thankful my children are healthy; can see, hear, walk, and talk. I am thankful my husband is well and strong and able to work and support our family. I am thankful for all the opportunities I have had that so many people do not – that I was taught to read, to play the piano, to put apostrophes in the correct location. I am thankful that my own body is so strong – that I can run long distances, hike mountains, and carry babies. I deserve none of these blessings, and yet I have them in overflowing abundance. I am grateful.
N is for “Nathen”
I am profoundly thankful for my husband Nathen. He is not perfect, but he is perfect for me. I could say so much about how I have grown as a person since he came into my life, how I have a deeper understanding of what love is, of what grace looks like lived out day after day, but I’ll keep this brief. Nathen, you are the love of my life, and I am deeply, deeply thankful that I am blessed to be your wife.
K is for “kids”
I could not contemplate what I am thankful for without my thoughts being filled with my children. They make my days so full – full of joy, laughter, sticky fingers, strange spots in the carpet, laundry, adventures, and so much more! I love seeing their unfolding personalities, their wonder at the simplest things, the way they boldly and fearlessly put anything and everything into their mouths! I am so thankful that I am blessed to see them grow, to snuggle them and kiss them and tuck them into their beds each night. I am so thankful that my hands are full, when I know so many other dear friends who long for a child and yet month after month have only empty arms. I am thankful for my precious little one whom I have yet to meet, lost to me after only 8 weeks of pregnancy. I am thankful for the baby I currently carry, digging his or her feet into my rib cage with zest. I am thankful for all the sweet children I know and babysit and have playdates with. Children are truly a blessing from the Lord, and I am thankful.
F is for “friends”
I am so thankful for the friends in my life! I am thankful for those who are older and wiser, who can provide timely advice and encouragement that comes from experience. I am thankful that I have friends in the thick of motherhood alongside me – friends to commiserate about nap schedules and potty training, friends to keep me accountable to put away my phone and love my kids with undivided attention, friends who share with me in the hard as well as the epic and hilarious things about being a wife and a mom. I am thankful for friends with no children, for single friends who bring a welcome perspective beyond diapers and dishes and date nights. I am thankful for those friends that I can go for months without seeing or speaking to, but then pick back up right where we left off as besties. I am thankful for new friends, for those people I meet and instantly recognize as kindred spirits. Friends are such a source of joy and blessing in my life, and I am thankful for them!
U is for “uncharted waters”
Even though it is sometimes overwhelming to contemplate, I am thankful for all the new adventures, new experiences, and learning and growth in my life. I gravitate towards the comfortable and familiar, but somewhere buried inside is a little adventurous streak that appears every so often. I am thankful and very excited for the coming adventure of having 3 children under the age of 3 (even though many people think I’ve gone completely insane!). I am thankful for all the learning and personal growth since leaving my profession, loving being home with my babies, and launching my own home business. I’m thankful for all the opportunities I have to learn, grow, make mistakes, learn from them, and keep on having adventures. I’m excited to see where the future will take me, and thankful that I’m not in control of it all!
L is for “Lord”
Woven throughout all of my reflections, and more important than all, is what I have saved for last. I believe thankfulness and gratitude are of little value if they are merely attitude adjustments or pop psychology that go no deeper. I believe the power of thankfulness is in its object – the One to whom we are thankful. I take no credit for any of the wonderful things in my life, they are all blessings from the great and holy God I serve. I can be thankful even for the challenges, for times of suffering, because I am firmly convinced that they are orchestrated by a wise and sovereign God who is over all. I would encourage you, pick up a Bible and read it, come to know this Lord for yourself. If you have never heard the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, please reach out to me or to a Christian friend or a local church – the Good News is the truest and deepest cause any of us can have to be truly thankful.