“In everything give thanks,” the Lord reminds us in Doctrine and Covenants 98:1. Since it’s November, I thought I would jump on the bandwagon and talk about gratitude.
Those who have gone through or are going through the challenge of having a spouse have a faith crisis or leave the church often feel stuck, overwhelmed, and sad. Too often, we neglect to recognize the good, the kindness, and the happiness that can be found – not despite the circumstance, but because of it.
Today I want to share with you wonderful things others have done for me over the years for which I am grateful. I hope this will engage your mind to notice who has blessed your life through this challenging time and allow you to feel gratitude in your heart during this Thanksgiving season.
Wonderful things people did for me:
Be a fabulous Visiting Teacher. I had a Visiting Teacher (this was twenty years ago) in Georgia who offered to watch my two young children once a month so that I could attend the temple. She had teenagers of her own and a full schedule, but she made time each month to both visit me, which I needed, and another day to watch my children. Obviously (since I still remember and talk about it), this made a life-long impact on my life.
Hold my baby when I had to take out a fussy toddler. I remember the exact day – Mother’s Day. I was at church by myself with a newborn and a three-year-old. I’m one of those moms who didn’t usually let other people hold my baby. I savored the time in Sacrament meeting when I could sit and hold my baby uninterrupted without guilt. My three-year-old was fussy, and I needed to take her out before the full-blown tantrum hit. This sister must have felt the prompting at the exact right moment because, at any other time, I would have refused her request to hold my baby. She reached across the aisle, and I handed her my baby and took the other one out. Crisis averted.
Be excellent Home Teachers (that’s what they were called then – like I said this was many years ago). Without an active priesthood holder in my home, I needed someone I knew and trusted that I could turn to for a priesthood blessing when my children or I needed one. Often I was difficult to home teach because of the tension regarding church at home, but I had a few outstanding home teachers who developed a trusting relationship with my daughters and me, and I knew I could turn to them. (In wards where this didn’t happen, I sought out someone on my own that I could trust – often the bishop.)
Be amazing youth leaders. Primary teachers were great, too, but when my children were teens, I was so grateful for good youth leaders. In a small branch, my daughter was the only Beehive. The sister in charge of Beehives took her calling to heart and planned a special activity that my daughter would enjoy each week. It was never too much work to prepare something for “the one.”
Be a great bishop. I’ve heard people tell stories of feeling dismissed, misunderstood, and belittled by their bishop, but this was never my case. I made it my policy each time we moved (which was several times) to set an appointment with the bishop, introduce myself, tell him my situation and request excellent home teachers (who most likely wouldn’t be allowed in our home, LOL *cry*). My bishop always listened and took my requests (i.e., Please don’t make my husband a project. Please don’t send missionaries. Please don’t drop by unannounced.) into consideration.
Those are five examples of many I have had over the years where people took the time to bless my life. You probably have different experiences, but I know Heavenly Father is looking out for you.
Who has blessed your life? Who have you been able to turn to in times of need? Who took it upon themselves to notice you and offer the right help at the right time?
Notice these gestures. Recognize and receive the kindness that shows up in your life. God has promised, “And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious.” (Doctrine & Covenants 78:19)
If you want to feel more joy in your life this Thanksgiving season, fill your heart with gratitude.