Have you ever felt that God had turned his back on you? Has your lack of faith ever lead you down the wrong path?
While feeling trapped in both a bad marriage and a dead-end job, I found it difficult if not impossible to feel gratitude for any aspect of either situation. The fact that I didn’t merely feel sorry for myself, but sacrificed time and money to attend school at night to build and maintain a solid set of skills yet still was not able to dig myself out of my negative work atmosphere made me feel worse. I have always subscribed to the philosophy of “it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness” but my future remained cloudy. The boss’s son not only blocked my professional advancement but also gave me poor references when I attempted to change jobs. Oddly, there never was any question of my being let go.
As you might imagine, my work woes followed me home and further weakened my already frayed and failing marriage.
I’ve been a Christian (not a good Christian who always trusts and obeys, but a Believer nonetheless) most of my life, but after fighting to improve my life and never gaining any ground, I began using profanity. Is there anything worse? I’ve never used certain vulgar terms because I was raised to believe speaking about bodily functions reflect poorly on not only the person using them but also his or her family. However, as my life continued to worsen, I broke The Third Commandment daily. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (Exodus 20:7).
I craved tender attention from my husband, but our marriage had deteriorated into the tattered shreds of an emotional woman coupled with a cool, uncaring man. The more I needed him, the more he withdrew his affection. I still don’t know how we lost our way. However, even in our darkest times, I was grateful for his efforts as a father and he equally respected me as the mother of his children. He worked two jobs when the kids were little so that I could stay home and I devoted myself to my children.
No matter what else has been going on in my life, I’ve always taken great pride (but was raised to believe that pride is a mortal sin that destroys grace and charity of the soul) in spending time volunteering by, among other things, reading to the blind, rescuing animals, and building websites for small, grass roots organizations.
An incarcerated woman told me that although she was grateful for my daily letters, she wanted me to stop complaining as she was already depressed. If I couldn’t change my situation, then adjust my attitude. I will always be grateful for her honesty and I did my best, searching for the silver lining in any cloud. As I like to think that I am an authentic person, I felt like a spin doctor manipulating the facts of my life. It took me awhile to get the hang of things and realize that seeing the bright side and downplaying the darker is not lying. This concept is still difficult for me to understand and I continue to work on it.
My world stopped turning on a heartbeat when my husband suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. As I performed CPR, unsuccessfully, while awaiting EMS, I realized how much I loved him.
His death devastated me, financially as well as emotionally, leaving me with a drastically reduced income. I was still working at the dead-end job, and as a new widow I now had the additional burden of being bullied by a co-worker. I guess she felt that there is nothing like kicking someone when she’s down.
What did I do? What could I do? As a Christian, I turned to the Lord, often falling asleep praying and waking up the next morning with my hands still clasped in supplication. I begged for my own forgiveness and also asked for mercy on my husband’s soul. Moments before he died, my husband uncharacteristically spoke of a song he’d heard about September 11, The God Song – Silent Night, when God asked someone trapped in one of the towers if they wanted to go with Him. This gave me hope that his faith was rewarded with Eternal Life.
God is My Psychiatrist, and I although I don’t like bragging or braggarts, I am comfortable boasting that My Psychiatrist is the World’s Best Doctor. He listens to me, and He comforts me. I could not have survived my husband’s death or all the resulting problems I faced without Him.
As I grew closer to the Lord, I finally – finally! – realized that instead of always asking for things, I needed to praise God and practice the art of gratitude. This simple step has changed my life.
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for this day. Because of Your mercy, I can see. I can walk, talk, hear, read and write. You continue to bless me with food in the refrigerator and enough money to stay afloat financially.
I could not find anyone to help me with home maintenance until I appreciated what I did have. Thank you, Lord, for the shelter You have given me. Thank you for my floors, my ceilings, my bed, my heat, my water, my electricity. Since I have turned my back on my profanity laced speech and become grateful, my life has improved. I found a reliable and affordable man to help me with my housing needs, and instead of being ashamed of my home, I enjoy its comforts.
Thank you, Lord, for my car, its tires, gasoline, my car insurance and my license to allow me to drive to work. Thank you for my job, my health insurance. After practicing gratitude, I have been blessed by an employment opportunity and am no longer stuck in a dead-end job or at the mercy of a bully. I can’t thank God for the bully having been in my life, but I do pray for her.
The first night after my mother died, I gave thanks. Mommy lived a long life and although she had her share of hardships the last fifteen years were relatively easy. My brother provided her with a comfortable home and she remained in good health well into old age. She got up one Sunday morning, took care of her personal hygiene, walked up and down the hall as her daily exercise, drank her tea, ate her toast, sat down, and said, “Oh, Jesus!” She never spent a day in a hospital except for her three maternity stays, thanks to my brother she never even had a worry of going to a nursing or assisted living facility, and she died suddenly in her own home.
I try to add new things to my praise and gratitude whenever I can, sometimes being light hearted. Thank You for pictures of cute kittens. Thank You for the smell of freshly mowed hay. Thank You for pumpkins and puppy kisses.
Thank You, Lord, for life.