My Moments of Thankfulness

Angie has been on the Collide team for years and her main role is team care. She is a woman who thinks about others and what they are going through. And then she is a woman that wants to enter into whatever that is and bring comfort, care and hope. I love her words here as she describes her journey over the past few years in choosing thankfulness and what has come out of that. She is a woman that inspires us to care and comfort others in pain and inspires us to find joy and gratitude in our own places of need. May her thankfulness fuel yours. – Willow

angie my story

Two years ago I began a quest of sorts: to live a life of thankfulness. As I reflect on the past two years, I realize I have lived a lot of life.  Many things are new and different; where I was emotionally two years ago versus today, friends, ages of my girls, and jobs.  New memories and new moments are everywhere.   By no means have the past two years been easy, but they have been manageable and often times filled with joy.  

As I have purposefully changed my perspective to be thankful in all things- to notice the seconds and moments of joy and blessing that are passing in front of me- I have found the discouraging and life-sucking moments have become less scary or overwhelming.  It amazes me how much of life truly is about perspective.  I want to live a life full of moments of thankfulness.  

Love….bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:7)

I am thankful for LOVE.  The mushy, cuddle on the couch, can’t-get-close-enough-to-my-husband kind of love.  The feeling that I always hoped for as a young girl; that happy feeling you get when your husband notices you and truly sees you.  I love the moments when in the midst of the chaos of our lives, I find love with my husband.  Love in a touch, a smile, a quick hug, or just saying thank you for loving me today.  I am thankful for these moments because they are not always there.  I don’t always like him, he doesn’t always like me.  But when we began to purposefully find those moments, search them out, those simple acts of love and recognition, we grew more in love.  The work has to be done and effort must be given.  Loving and being thankful for your spouse is not a lottery, I don’t just win these feelings.  I fight for these feelings and for this time.  I am thankful for love.  I am thankful that we have chosen to fight together for those moments.

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

I am thankful for second chances.  Too many times over the past two years I have made the wrong choice, said the wrong thing, given the wrong advice.  I need second chances, desperately.  I am thankful that my two incredible daughters give me second chances.  When I have snapped at them or not let them express their feelings, they have been gracious, forgiving and given me a second chance.  My family, friends, husband, employees have all handed me second chances.  I want a life filled with offering and receiving second chances.  

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)

I am thankful for moments of grief.  These past two years I have grieved too many hurts.  I have grieved the loss of friendship, the loss of marriages, endured my kids’ heartaches, and the death of a best friend.  Grief rips open my heart and stomps on it. Grief is not simple, easy or explainable.  Grief is pain at the most intimate level.  Grief is ugly, fierce, painful and never ending.  There is grief that will sit next to me for the rest of my life.  Grief so deep and fierce that it has left a hole in my heart and soul that will never be filled, dreams that should have been future memories.  

I despise this heartache but in the same breathe I am thankful for what it has taught me.  The grief of losing friendship has taught me how to be a better friend.  The grief of watching a friend’s marriage end has taught me to be thankful for mine, and to fight for it.  Grief has forced me to be introspective on how I feel, what I see as truth, and honestly, how to heal.  It has altered my life perspective and softened my heart to be more gracious to all around me.  The untold story of grief, that each of us carry, should not be carried alone.  I am thankful that grief has taught me to treasure each moment, walk in forgiveness, and live graciously.  

Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. (Psalm 139:10)

I am thankful for change.  I am weird; I like change. I know, it’s weird.  I like to move houses, apartments, furniture, rearrange things, reshuffle, reorganize, change.  I am thankful for change.  I love it when someone is bold and changes something and it works much better.  These past two years I have seen physical change in my family.  My husband started a new job, I have a high schooler, and I am in my last year with an elementary age kid.  

The emotional and spiritual changes in my life over the past two years have been intense.  I have found my joy again.  It astonishes me that choosing to alter my perspective, forgiving people, and letting go of bitterness has returned my joy.  So often our reaction to life issues causes us to draw into ourselves and become bitter.  We lose our joy, our zest for life, and those moments of thankfulness are lost.  This can change us into bitter, wounded, broken people.  Choosing to say, “It is well with my soul,” doesn’t change any wound or circumstance, but it changes us.  My perspective changes; thankfulness brings joy.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)

I am thankful for friends.  I have the greatest friends, I truly do.  I have friends that I cry, laugh, snort, eat, shop, work out, vacation, play and raise kids with.  I want everyone to have my friends.  A friend makes me a better mom, wife, employee, daughter and friend.  The hard part of friendship is being willing to put myself out there and trust.  We all are wounded, hurt and scared.  Trusting someone with parts of who I am is scary.  What if they think I’m weird or broken?  Well, I am weird and broken.  Everyone is weird and broken.  We need friends.  We need friends who will speak truth and life into our hearts.  Pursue friends who challenge you and make you a better person.  I know that I let my friends down; I have hurt them and wounded them, but we still fight for each other.  Friendship is necessary.  My heart is so full of thankfulness for the beautiful friends God has given me.

Before I decided to change my perspective, to be thankful in all things, I believe that I was stuck.  I had a friend tell me I had changed; that I was different, that I wasn’t as happy as I had been.  She was right.  I let my circumstances dictate how I was living.  I did not invite God to hold my hurts or carry my burdens.  He wasn’t invited to be a part of my sorrow or heartache.  I was going it alone and it was lonely.  I wanted more, so I pursued thankfulness.  What did it mean to be thankful?  How could I find joy when I wanted to scream?  I bought a notebook and started writing: what I loved, who I loved, and what I was thankful for.  It takes time and I fall short every day, but I passionately want to live a life full of joy and thankfulness.  I want to recognize the moments when they are in front of me, and be thankful.

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