November 22, 2011

Grateful For Trials

I wanted to do a post about gratitude, since it's Thanksgiving and all, but I didn't want it to be normal post that anyone/everyone could write... I wanted something more personal/meaningful to me as an individual. So here goes...

At church a few weeks ago we had a lesson about gratitude that got most of us thinking. There are so many things to be grateful for, such as:
I am grateful for an outrageous hospital bill, because it means I have health care.
I am grateful for being so tired I can't see straight, because it means I have a BABY.
I am grateful for dirty dishes, because that means I have food to eat.

Anyway, you get the idea. It was very inspiring. I don't much talk about the happy things in my life. It's not that I'm a negative person, although it might seem that way... it's really because of a couple things combined. First, I'm superstitious (sp?). You know how some people "knock on wood?" Well, I just don't chance it at all. If I speak out loud that something is going well, it's sure to fall apart immediately. And seriously, who needs that? LOL. Might sound silly, but I honestly feel that way. And conversely, if I complain about something being bad, it's not only cathartic but it also means that it should get better... right? *Okay, I seriously need therapy.* Haha.

While those are two small reasons, I also have two big reasons. First of all, most people hold their griefs and sorrows inside and show a mask of false happiness. That usually means they are too ashamed/afraid/whatever of sharing their pain. I am just the opposite. I refuse to feel ashamed of my hardships and trials. They are something which I experience, not something that I AM. They are not part of my identity. I can stand in the rainstorm and get soaked to the bone, but I am NOT the rain itself. Eventually I will dry off and it will be just another experience that I went through. I don't let my pains define me. Also, sharing your struggles almost always opens the door for someone else to share theirs with you, someone who might have otherwise suffered in silence... and because I share my pain, they share theirs, and both of us gain support.  I consciously make an effort to be open about my trials in order to open that door to others.  BUT my joys and happiness are extremely personal to me. I hold onto them down deep in my soul, and I do not like to share them with others very much. They are too personal and sacred to me for that. Still I often wonder if all this makes me seem ungrateful. I am not. But I digress.

Back to being grateful for my trials...
I am grateful that I have trials and hardships, because they make me turn to and rely on my Savior.
I am grateful for a heavy load, because trying to lift it makes me stronger.
I am grateful for tears, because they cleanse the soul.
I am grateful for mastitis, because it means that I was able to breastfeed for a while.
I am grateful for difficulties in my marriage, because working through them makes our marriage stronger.
I am grateful for the pain of death, because it means that I have love in my life.
I am grateful for difficult experiences, because they give me empathy.
I am grateful for when my trials become too much to bear, because I know that God will make all things possible and either make me stronger, lighten the load, or carry it for me.

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13.  Even more profound for me on this subject is Romans, chapter 8. Go and read it, it's too long for me to type here. :)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Be grateful for all that you have... joys and pains, because they go hand in hand.