The Weight of Gratitude

6.29.2017


When I was pregnant with R, I spent most of the first trimester anxious about having a miscarriage. To be honest, it was almost all I could think about some days. During my pregnancy with J, I tried to be better about redirecting my anxiety to God, praying and reciting Scripture and asking for peace. I did really well in the beginning, but I think all I did was hold the anxiety until the end, because I was much more worried and anxious about something being wrong with J in the last few weeks of this pregnancy than I was with R.

As a person of faith, I believe that God is good all the time, even in hard times. I believe that though I might not ever see what part I played, he has a plan and is working it for the ultimate good and his glory. I do believe these things, but I will be honest and tell you that it's hard for me to reconcile this belief with the reality that terribly tragic, sad things happen every day to people who are no better or worse than I. Sometimes it's difficult to believe in a God who is good and just when life seems so incredibly unfair.

I look at my brand-new healthy baby boy and my sweet, hilarious toddler, and I don't understand why I carried two babies to full term while others long for children and are unable to have any. Or why my friend had an early miscarriage during her second pregnancy while my baby continued to grow. I look at my mom, who came and stayed with us for the first week and was so helpful and who loves me so much, and I don't understand why some lose their mothers early to tragedy or abandonment. 

I look at my husband, who is sweet and caring and kind, and I don't understand why some children are born to fathers who refuse to show them love or why some husbands abuse and belittle their wives. I look at my house and my job and everything I have, unable to understand why I was born in this country, with privilege and opportunity, when so many around the world have nothing.

When I think about my life, I feel the weight of gratitude.

I am a sinner who deserves nothing, and I'm just so thankful for the blessings I've been given. It's so easy to see when I look at my sweet newborn baby, but it can be so hard to see sometimes too when we get blinded by the stuff of the world and lose focus on all there is to be thankful for. Because there is always something to be thankful for.

I heard the following as part of a sermon once and haven't been able to forget it. This is paraphrased, obviously, but the message is the same:

A Christian and a non Christian can both look at a sunrise and marvel at how beautiful it is. You don't have to believe in God to be amazed by the view on top of a mountain or the colors of a rainbow. The difference comes when you understand and believe in a creator who not only made the wonderful thing you're in awe of, but who allowed you to see and smell and touch and taste it. It puts joy and gratitude behind everything that happens, and even in the hard things we can rest in knowing that there's a purpose, a plan, an end goal that is so amazing and wonderful that our human minds fail to comprehend even a portion of that which awaits.

I think my point here, in all of this post-partum-hormone-induced rambling, is that I'm so incredibly thankful right now. And not only thankful as a concept, but I'm thankful to God, the creator, for his blessings that I don't deserve. I can't tell you why certain things happen or don't happen. I don't know why my fears and anxieties about something going wrong with this pregnancy didn't come to pass when somewhere, someone just like me is having her heart broken by a tragic loss. I wish there weren't any sadness or pain in the world. 

All I can do is my best to always be thankful and point that gratitude back to the God who gave me everything I have.

May the weight of gratitude spur me toward joy and thankfulness in every circumstance. And may I not take his gifts for granted. 

“When God is our Holy Father, sovereignty, holiness, omniscience, and immutability do not terrify us; they leave us full of awe and gratitude. Sovereignty is only tyrannical if it is unbounded by goodness; holiness is only terrifying if it is untempered by grace; omniscience is only taunting if it is unaccompanied by mercy; and immutability is only torturous if there is no guarantee of goodwill.” ― Ravi Zacharias

19 comments:

  1. Love this so much. I think about these sorts of things a lot. I'm really working on (I should say God is working on me) gratitude and not thinking about what I don't have. It's humbling and sobering every time. I've been reading Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow, and it has been so helpful in helping me change my thinking.

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  2. This is such a great post! I think about how abundantly blessed my family is every day.

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  3. Beautifully said.
    I so often feel guilty for my blessings. I think God wants me to feel gratitude instead. Thanks for writing about this.

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  4. Love this. Such a good reminder to be thankful too. <3

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  5. Well put! And I like that quote at the end!

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  6. This is beautiful, Amanda. I'm so happy for you and your little family.

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  7. This! Every single word of this! I felt like it came straight from my heart! Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I know that motherhood has most definitely made me more grateful and appreciative of all the little miracles God works in our lives.

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  8. I love this post! I, too, have a hard time reconciling the vast extremes privilege. Sometimes I feel like I'm just waiting for the ball to drop as I watch friends and strangers suffer needlessly due to circumstances outside of their control. God is good. And with tears in my eyes I also feel the weight of gratitude. Thank you for sharing. And congratulations on your sweet baby boy!

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  9. Yes yes yes yes yes! I love this post so much. Maybe my favorite of yours yet. I'm often overwhelmed with thankfulness for my many blessings and need to remember to point that back to God more often. He is so good. Enjoy your sweet blessings friend.

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  10. Thank you for expressing your faith so beautifully.

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  11. I love this! You have a way with words and I so appreciate it.

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  12. Beautiful post. When they say God works in mysterious ways, I think they mean exactly this. I don't think so much that God causes terrible things to happen as that it's part of life and He allows it, only because He can turn even the most broken and awful circumstance into a way for us to come closer to Him. Which is the true miracle of life.

    However, I think God would disagree that you (or anyone) is a sinner who deserves nothing. Though you aren't perfect and need His grace, you are His child and because of that you are totally deserving of His love. Just like you love your own babies, not because of anything they did to deserve it but because they're yours.

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  13. So beautifully written. I have felt this same weight of gratitude time and time again. I have faced heartache and difficulties in my life, but nothing like what so many have gone through. I have never wondered where my next meal is coming from or if I would have a safe place to sleep at night. Since the beginning of this pregnancy, I have known everything that is stacked against me and this baby. And yet miracles are happening and this little girl is still growing and safe. But here's the hard thing about being a Christian sometimes. At least for me. I'm not promised a happy ending. I'm not promised that I will get to meet this little girl on this side of heaven. And I'm not promised that there won't be a different tragedy later down the road. What I am promised is that I won't walk alone through whatever comes. Looking back on my life and seeing the way that God has walked with me through every single heartache is so encouraging to me. Yes, I still pray that God will continue to intervene on mine and Baby Girl's behalf. And I'm not saying that if tragedy were to happen that I would be all "la di da" about it. I would grieve and mourn. Just like I have in every other tragedy I have faced. But I wouldn't be alone. And that's part of what makes this whole faith thing truly amazing.

    Okay, sorry, I got a little derailed from your original point here. But this has (obviously, ha!) been on my mind a lot lately as we get so close to meeting her. Thanks for sharing your heart today!

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  14. I love this post, friend. I don't 100% know why good things happen nor do I know why bad things happen but I'm so thankful we have a good God who blesses us through thick and thin. You are a blessed person! I'm thankful God gave you a beautiful family.

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  15. This post was such an encouragement to me!! Thank you so much for writing it! Also, those baby feet are adorable!!

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  16. this is so wonderful, and I relate to it so much. so so much. there is a quote by franz kafka that has really resonated with me with I feel that weight of gratitude too heavy: "don't despair, not even over the fact that you don't despair." I don't know why but it really helps me calm myself.

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  17. I love this. I find it's easier to remember this when there's a sweet little newborn in my arms or a little person living in my stomach, but it's so good to be reminded of this morning. Thank you.

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  18. Love this so much! In the times I feel so robbed of my joy I have to remind myself of all of my blessings, thanks be to God!

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