The months leading up to our move to Jamaica were difficult ones for me. Not only were they emotionally taxing, but navigating the waters of an international move, ESPECIALLY with a country that operates under the “No problem, man” mentality proved extremely challenging for this detail oriented planner. When we finally loaded our belongings onto a 20-foot crate and watched the movers pull out of the driveway, I honestly wondered if the crate would end up in Jamaica or Timbuktu.
During those days, I wrote journal entry after journal entry, expressing my fear, frustration and lack of faith. I begged God to calm my anxious heart, and wrote things like, “Are you here, God? Please help.” Words like overwhelmed, stressed and exhausted appear over and over again in the entries. I felt frustrated at our circumstances and frustrated at God. We were taking a step of faith with this move, so why wasn’t He making this a perfect, seamless transition?
In early October, a month or so before we moved, I wrote this sentence in my journal: “The person with an abiding Spirit of gratitude is the one who trusts God.” I’m not sure where I read it. I’m certain I didn’t write it myself, as gratitude was the LAST thing on my mind. But it triggered something in my spirit. I realized how UNgrateful I had been the past few months. I was so focused on the things that weren’t going my way and so preoccupied with the fear of losing control (as if I had it in the first place) that I didn’t even notice the abundance of blessings around me.
I decided to write a Gratitude List. A list of things I was thankful for — big and small, silly and serious. Writing the list did something deep down in my soul. Self-pity and worry were replaced with awe and reverence at how good the Lord had been to me. Bit by bit my faith increased, and I felt God teaching me that part of the adventure is learning to trust Him. Here’s a portion of the list:
My Gratitude List
For Grizzly (our seven pound Maltipoo)
For my family
For Papa’s salvation — that I know he’s singing with Jesus right now
For my health and the health of those I love
For a full belly — that I don’t really know hunger
For the beautiful weather
For my education
For safety — that I don’t go to bed afraid
For clean water
For people who love me just as I am
For country music
For meringue cookies — that they taste so good and are easy to make
I've reread my gratitude list on many occasions, and continue adding to it on a regular basis. I recommend a Gratitude List to anyone feeling discouragement or despair. Your circumstances may not change. But your perspective certainly will.
With gratitude for you,
Kevin & Cass