As I work to get some normalcy back into my life after the events of the past few weeks (see my last blog, “Faith under Fire,”) a particular cliché has popped into my head countless times. “Things could have been a lot worse.” Although I don’t like cliché’s, I accept the truth of this statement. I do believe things could have been worse…much worse. But truly, by nothing but the grace of God, they weren’t. Even though I lost pretty much my entire wardrobe and several rooms of furniture in my house fire, I didn’t lose my entire home. Even though I have to move out of my house for at least 6 months, I’m grateful that I have a temporary place to stay and will soon be moving into an apartment. Even though I feel as though I’m floating in the middle of the ocean in a raft, with no stability, God has proven every single day that He is my anchor and He will not let me sink.
We’re all living in a time where “normalcy” has become foreign to pretty much all of us. Even if you’ve been fortunate to not contract COVID, and even if you’ve been blessed to still have your job, chances are, this pandemic is still affecting you in some way. Something as simple as having to wear a mask every place you go to not being able to see those you care most about on a regular basis. Throw anything else unexpected and stressful onto these unprecedented times, and doesn’t it just feel like way too much to deal with?
When life throws us storms, fires, and just flat out craziness, sometimes we need to dig a little deeper when it comes to gratitude. How often do we say things like, “I’m grateful I’m healthy.” “I’m grateful for a roof over my head.” “I’m grateful for loved ones.” All true statements and things we should absolutely be grateful for, yet in their own way, they come across like clichés. But one thing God has really been teaching me lately is to dig deep. What does digging deep look like? Like this.
Digging deep says, “God, even though I’m uncomfortable, angry, or even tired in my situation (be honest, He can handle it), I trust You and believe You’re going to work it out…even if it’s not worked out in a way I thought I wanted.” Digging deep in gratitude means looking at things from a different perspective and making a cognizant decision to see the blessings that may not be so obvious. (Have you ever been held up in traffic or delayed somewhere? Maybe God was actually keeping you out of harm’s way! THAT’s having a different perspective.) Digging deep also means even when things aren’t going well, and it’s extremely hard to find something to wake up and smile about, you still thank God for the “little things.”
A few nights ago, my daughter Jadyn told me she just wanted to get out of the house. Over the past few weeks, we both sproadically have had our “sad” moments from being displaced and she was just tired of being in the house, which I completely understood. As many of us know, there’s really not too many places to go hang out right now. So, we decided to just go for a drive. We got into my truck, lowered the windows (even in 95-degree weather at 8 o clock at night), turned up our music, (sunglasses on of course!) and we just drove. As we drove out of the city limits on the one-way highway, the temperature started cooling, and we took in the cooling breeze and scenery. All of a sudden, life didn’t feel so overwhelming. This is what I mean about the “little things.” That time spent with my daughter, in silence, music up, and windows down is something that I literally can’t put a price tag on. I truly look at this as a moment that may not have occurred had life not thrown a storm (and fire) our way.
We all have a choice as to what we make out of this precious thing called life, but sometimes, things will happen that are truly out of our control. In those moments, we have to dig. Dig deep in gratitude and thank God for the family and friends in your life. Dig deep in gratitude and remember that every day you wake up is blessing—especially in the middle of a pandemic rearing it’s ugly head. Dig deep in gratitude and thank God for providing everything from the clothes you’re wearing to the last meal you ate—because so many others aren’t quite as fortunate.
Dig deep in gratitude and know that every day is TRULY a blessing!!