I hesitated to share my self-reflection for 2018. But as I look back, I see that gratitude builds faith. Writing down what I am grateful for and recounting all the wonderful things Jesus has done for me has been a source of comfort and hope when I get stuck in life’s difficult challenges. Remembering what God has accomplished for my life renews my commitment to hold on to my faith as a Christian.
I want to share what I am thankful for as I enter into 2019. Frist, sharing fills my soul with gratitude and shuts out the negative voices that say that my efforts are not working. My mindset has always focused on the future—on what I should be doing and what I am not doing. As a result, I missed a few opportunities along the way. Some might say I missed the mark and got stuck in “what I should have done.”
Being grateful for what has already occurred validates that I am on the right track. It redirects me to look at the present to see what is already there rather than looking back at what should have been. It reminds me not to be discouraged and to continue with what I am doing. Sharing my successes not only strengthens my faith, but it might also help others to self-reflect and fill themselves with gratitude for what God is doing in their lives.
As I look back, a lot of great things have happened that I should be thankful for. I will list a few and will also share some of my hopes and dreams for 2019. First, I thank God for giving up his only son so that I could be a part of his family. It is in his family that I can receive his love and grace. I am very privileged to be in a church family that loves me for who I am and encourages me to keep making Jesus the Lord of my life. I am thankful for their love, their physical care, their spiritual and emotional support over the years.
I am thankful for my children. Their love for others and willingness to help others fill my heart with joy. They are navigating their path to discover who they are and who they are meant to be. It takes maturity to have the insight in knowing your strengths and limits and confronting the barriers to self-discovery. And that’s what they have been doing from an early age. I am very proud of who they are and who they will become. At times I feel guilty for pulling them into my world. I know I don’t have the power to protect them from the negativity I might encounter as a domestic violence advocate, but I am thankful for their support as I continue to walk this path.
The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” applies to my experience as a divorced and single mother taking care of three children. I am often asked, “How do you do it?” The answer is simple: I’m not doing it alone. Church family, in-laws, and biological relatives have all played a role. Today I want to thank the Bernards for standing in as my maternal family. (I am withholding first names to protect their privacy). To the Bernards, the Dennises, the Johnsons, and the Sirleafs, I thank God for giving you wisdom and compassion to provide, physical, emotional, and financial support for my family. As I reflect, you all have been a part of most of my adult life. I will always cherish the memories I make with you all as long as I live.
I am thankful for my book, A Path to Hope. To be honest, I have experienced a lot of discouragement due to difficulties in marketing the book. I didn’t write the book to make money, although an increase in sales would repay some of the hard work that was done to make the book a reality. At times I can get stuck in what should have happened with the book when I should be celebrating the little successes. For example, a few days ago I received an email from a reader who told me that my “blog and book was invaluable.” I was excited at first, but instead of rejoicing, my mind shifted to the “what should have been.” This 2019, I am going to embrace small successes like that because they help me break down the walls of negative thoughts that distract me from my goals.
I will strive to put into practice Zechariah 4:10 that states, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin” (New Living Translation). Yes, I will celebrate every little step because God rejoices when he sees that I am doing his work.
I am filled with gratitude for the Path to Hope first event in 2018, A Cry for Help. It was a very successful workshop! As I have stated in previous posts, my mission is to increase awareness of domestic violence and its effects on families and to share information about resources that can be used to help victims. That was the goal of the workshop, and I am pleased to say that it was achieved!
I will be organizing another workshop this year. This will be a small step towards my desire to create a non-profit to empower the lives of Christian women who have experienced domestic violence, through education, peer and spiritual support.
I am also excited to announce the first A Path to Hope support group will be launched in February! More information to come soon.
All these experiences reinforced that God is taking care of me and will continue to meet my needs. He will send the people and resources I need to keep doing his will. As I speak, he is actively sending emotional support as evidenced by new relationships on social media and though other contacts with people with the same passion and mission as mine. I am thankful for my new friendships.
This 2019, as I stated earlier, I am going to enjoy living in the moment, the now, and will celebrate every little success along the way as I walk the path that God has set for me. With a thankful heart, I can move mountains.
What about you? What are you grateful for? You probably have your own list of what God has done and is doing to help build your faith.
As Psalm 106:1 reminds us, “Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”