Choosing a Thankful Heart Changed My Life

Do I do it? Jump on the “it’s November, let’s write about thanks and gratitude” bandwagon. Yes. Because choosing a thankful heart changed my life.

Thirteen years ago, I walked with confidence, head held high. Life seemed to flow exactly the way I thought it should. Both daughters married and living independently. Three beautiful grandchildren, I adored and loved spending time with. A team at work that helped one another and I enjoyed learning from and contributing to. Van and I spent time on our sailboat, resting and relaxing on the weekends.

But things started to unravel when my oldest daughter, Kimberly, did the unthinkable and walked away from her husband leaving a wake of pain and confusion everywhere she went. Van and I pleaded, prayed, argued, cried, prayed and watched her self-destruct.

Shortly after she rededicated her life to Christ, she passed away suddenly, and I plunged into a grief I didn’t understand or expect. Just two weeks before Kimberly passed away, our youngest daughter, Erin and two oldest grandchildren, Zach and Katie, moved in with us. Erin, who needed support and help, got shortchanged as I struggled with grief.

Without warning, I felt like I lived underwater, barely able to do anything worthwhile. I clung to the hope I have in Christ. Knew He was there and cared. But grief weighed heavy.

And then I read Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts and started keeping a gratitude journal. Naming gifts. Writing them down. Taking pictures. Paying attention to God’s goodness. All. The. Time.

How Choosing a Thankful Heart Helped

When trouble came or I felt overwhelmed, I took my phone camera and went for gift walks. Choosing gratitude over pain. Each flower petal, the wisp of cloud, the melody of birdsong reminded me of God’s goodness, creativity, and love. I poured out my heart to God as I walked. And with each gift, I said, “Thank You.”

Saying “Thank You” to God helped me move forward. To enjoy the blessings of my life. And there are many.

The greatest blessing though is God Himself. I join the Psalmist in saying,

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever. (Psalm 118:1)

God’s love that

  • sent Jesus to pay for my sin
  • forgives past, present, and future
  • welcomes me as a beloved child into His Kingdom
  • endures forever, no matter what I do, He loves me and He loves you
  • gives me the strength and hope to endure anything because He loves


Join Me and #chooseathankfulheart

So, yes, I jump on the Thanksgiving and gratitude bandwagon in November. And every month for the rest of my life. Will you join me? What are you thankful for today? In the comments, share how you are thankful for God’s love. Let’s praise God with our thanks together.


I may link here:

Inspire Me Monday, Blessed (but Stressed), Moments of Hope, Glimpses of Beauty, LLML Link-up, Trekking Thru, #tellhisstory, Tea and Word Tuesday, Ra-Ra Link-up, Writer Wednesday, Woman to Woman, Porch Stories, Coffee for Your Heart, Dream Together, Chasing Community, Heart Encouragement, Tune-in Thursday, Salt and Light, Quietly Through Thursday, Thankful and Grateful Thursday, Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire, Fresh Market Friday, Counting My Blessings, Sunday Thoughts, Spiritual Sundays, Sunday Scripture Blessing.

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