Whenever we’re going through a difficult season, it can be really hard to focus on the positive. Emotions are strong and can easily overwhelm us. If we have a penchant for depression or anxiety, even a small setback can send us plunging into a dark hole for days, weeks or even months. But after a hard time I wanted to start focusing on creating an attitude of gratitude.
A few weeks ago, I was having a really rough day. I felt myself spiraling down into bad thought patterns and could not seem to pull myself out of it, no matter how hard I prayed.
As I was driving to the store to pick up a birthday present, I decided to call a friend who lived nearby, just to chat really quick. She picked up and asked how I was. I couldn’t hide the truth any longer. Tears spilled down my cheeks and my voice wavered, and she could hear it. “Can you come over right now?” she asked. I quickly changed directions and when I pulled up to her house, I was a mess. I’m not a good cryer. In junior high, someone saw me crying—I don’t remember why—and said, “You look like a monkey when you cry!” Ever since then I have never wanted people to see me cry. But here I was, sitting at her table, snotty face and puffy eyes, pouring my heart out.
She did what a good friend does: She listened, she hugged me, and she prayed for me.
As I rambled on about having to move and not wanting to go, and how emotional it was making me, I told her that earlier that morning I had prayed in a rather frustrating manner, “God, I really don’t want to have to go find moving boxes. It’s such a hassle!” and a short time later, I opened my front door and a friend had dropped off a bunch of moving boxes on my porch.
Her face lit up. “You need to write these things down!” she exclaimed. “You need to remember these little moments for whenever you’re feeling discouraged!”
And that was how the “When God Showed Up” jar and my attitude of gratitude began.
God showed up for me that day, not only through the boxes at my front door, but through my dear friend Samantha, who was there the moment I needed her. God used her in my life to encourage me and remind me that everything was going to be OK.
Since that day, I’ve added more and more little slips of paper to that jar, things personal to me that reminded me of God’s presence in my life, even in the midst of a storm.
I encourage you to start an attitude of gratitude jar for yourself if you’re going through a hard time, and even involve your children in recognizing ways that God has shown up for them in their days at school and at home.
I’m going to need a bigger jar soon!