Coming off of last week with Thanksgiving and having everyone gathered around the table for fun and fellowship can sometimes leave you dragging into the next week when it’s time to return to normal. It can feel mundane, boring, unnoticed and even sad. I may not work a full time job where I leave the home, but even being in the comfort of my own home with 4 children and the responsibility of being mom and teacher can overwhelm me after some time “off.”
Having my husband home takes so much stress off of me. The hands double to meet the needs of our four and let’s just be honest… dads have a way of making everything important, seem less important and a whole new realm of entertainment captivates the hearts and minds of the kids, including me. He can make the most annoying mess, something to be laughed at (on most days) and having this added personality makes for really good days. Together we have always energized each other in a way that when its time for us to return to our normal schedules, it can seem daunting and leave me feeling sad when the holidays are over.
However, I have come to recognize these feelings more promptly and almost anticipate them before they come. I knew Monday (after Thanksgiving break) would come with a wave of emotions and I knew I wasn’t the only one who would struggle. So I awoke early and asked God who needed some encouragement. He put a few names on my mind and I began to send out texts, simply encouraging them. It wasn’t anything fancy. Just a simple text, but as I encourage others, I always notice that He in return, encourages me. The very thing I am facing and fighting through is most often something that someone else is feeling. The key is reminding myself that I am not alone. There is always someone.
::: Encouragement can do amazing things in our lives :::
A few years ago, I faced some really dark things. Depression, anxiety and panic were a part of my daily. One day I will have the courage to invite you in to some of those memories but for now, just know that it was one of the hardest fights I’ve ever faced to date.
During this time, a friend (hours away) knew I was facing something difficult but had no idea the extent to which I was battling. However, she knew the power of encouragement. She mailed me a card and a book, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp and because of her willingness to encourage, she reminded me that I was seen and loved and that I wasn’t alone.
Like Ann Voscamp, I began a Thankful Journal. One that would define the beginning stages of my healing against fear and panic. Thankfulness would soon turn my eyes away from what could happen and turn my eyes to what was happening right in front of me. I had a healthy family. A home over my head. Food on the table. But also, he began showing me things in nature that would delight my soul that I once overlooked. My breathing became more steady in my days as I embraced this path of thankfulness. I would soon find myself able to sit in silence again and appreciate the sound of nothing without the fear rattling between my own ears. I would soon be able to laugh from a deep place and find satisfaction in the small things once again.
My healing from this hardship has been an on-going process and it didn’t happen over night or from reading a book. But I do believe that God kindly turning me toward a life of thankfulness was the jump start toward a life of freedom.
Whenever I find myself grasping for joy or losing sight of the many blessings I have around me, I know that thankfulness is the antidote against the lies that so often tell us we are alone. It will never get better. It’s just another day.
Thankfulness has the ability to cure our pain and release us into freedom. Being thankful inspires us, gives us energy and allows us to approach the day knowing that all is well and on purpose.
A thankful heart reminds us that we were all made for such a time as this and I am learning that encouragement and thankfulness go hand in hand. Like sisters. They need one another. They compliment each other.
So if you need encouragement today, try encouraging someone you are thankful for. If you are struggling to find your thankfulness, make a list, ask for prayer and be encouraged by all the blessings you do have. Make a craft for someone in need. Bless someone financially. Find something to be thankful for. I promise, it works.
So Happy Thanksgiving, friends. I hope together, we can be thankful and always encouraging.