How To Be Thankful After Losing It All

How would you describe this past year for yourself? Perhaps some of you got a promotion at work. Maybe some of you welcomed a new baby into your family. Some of you reading this would probably say that this past year was pretty great. Others, maybe not so much. If I were to use one word to describe this past year for me it would be “trainwreck”. I thought 2017 was a tough one, but nope! 2018 takes the cake!

As I write this it’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, which I normally get excited about. Any other year I would have bought all of my ingredients over a week ago, found the biggest bird that I could bodyslam and forcibly fit into my roasting pan and cooked a thanksgiving feast for my entire family. I don’t get many visitors so I don’t really have many opportunities to cook for people so Thanksgiving is really my one chance to let my culinary skills shine! I would have turned on some music and baked up a storm. But this year, to be honest, I wasn’t in the mood.

Next month will be a year since the boys left. It’s the first Thanksgiving without them in my home. And to twist the knife in a little deeper, neither of them wanted to see me this weekend when I first asked them. Like, at all. I asked and they said no. But honestly, after a year of this, it doesn’t surprise me anymore. I used to beg. I don’t beg anymore. I shouldn’t have to. And I also know that I deserve better treatment than that. Sometimes you have to love yourself enough to leave it alone until they come to their senses. It’s in God’s hands now.

For the first time since I can remember, I wasn’t feeling very “thanksgivng-ish”. Sprinkled with a touch of self pity and loathing for good measure. Thanksgiving is supposed to be about family and the 2 most important people to me wanted nothing to do with me. My boys were literally the centre of my universe and then that was taken away. I was left with a giant gap, both in my heart and in my life in general. It’s a lot to adjust and get over all at the same time.  I splurged on a few cartons of egg nog just for me. That was my contribution to my Thanksgiving feast. I wasn’t going to lift a finger to cook anything for anybody.

On Saturday my parents and I got invited over to my aunts house (on my dad’s side) for a thanksgiving feast. To be honest I wasn’t feeling very festive at first and wasn’t in the mood in the beginning to be very social. But as time went on I started to warm up to the idea and I ended up having a good time and I was glad I went.

Two days later, on Monday (today as I write) I went over to my sisters new place for another thanksgiving feast. And by some miracle, my oldest son decided to join me! My youngest son wasn’t interested in joining us, which of course hurt my feelings. I preferred to have both of them with me but at this point, one was better than none so I took what I could get! It was myself, my parents, my nieces and nephews, aunt and uncle (on my mom’s side) and of course my sister and brother in law. Being around family two days earlier kinda made me look forward to yet another family gathering the second time around. Especially now that I at least had one kid in tow with me. Plus I was excited to see my sisters new place since they moved in. (Her closet is bigger than mine…this is a problem.)

Being around family, watching everyone talking and laughing as we ate our meals made me thankful again. Thankful that I still had people in my life who cared about me. Thankful that I still had people in my life who wanted to be in my company without me having to beg them for it. At the end of the evening I was glad that I went and surrounded myself with family on both occasions.

This past year has made me realize the importance of family. That even when things in your life go down the toilet, your family is there. (Or at least they should be) Not only that but I’ve also been especially thankful for my friends as well. The people closest to me. At the end of the day, you really get to know who your tribe is when your life is a wreck. The people that reach out and say “I’m here for you. I got your back no matter what”, those are the ones to hold onto for dear life. When you have nothing to offer anyone except yourself, and they still wanna be seen with you, those are your people.

It’s hard to remain thankful during difficult times. It’s easier to see everything that’s going wrong and to focus on the things that we have no control over. I’ve tried my very best to be intentional about trying to see the “silver linings” in my situation this past year. To have a good attitude. I’ve also failed quite miserably along the way. But coming up to almost a year now still being in this situation, has forced me to re think a lot of things and to be intentional about letting it go (I have no control over it anyway right?), giving it over to God for Him to handle (He IS in control!) and counting the blessings that I still have.

A few times over the years I have taken the time to write out a “Thankfulness List” when I needed reminding of what I DO have, rather than simply focusing on what I DON’T have. (Or what I THINK I don’t have.) It tends to put things into perspective. I want to encourage you to write one out for yourself. It only takes a few minutes and you would be surprised about how long the list tends to be when you’re finished with it. It could even be the seemingly little things that become the big things in a season of loss or hardship. I’ll go first!

Here are a few examples of things I am thankful for this year:

-Jesus (Duh, that’s a given!)
-having access to peace of mind AND joy in the midst of a storm
-having a roof over my head
-a warm bed to sleep in (not only that but my entire bedroom set is my DREAM bedroom set from Bombay that I worked really hard for years ago!)
-food to eat when I’m hungry
-my friendships that I have. So thankful to have people that have stuck by me.
-special treats like going to Starbucks for my Venti Vanilla Java Chip Frapachino

-Being able to go to the gym and workout (I always feel so much better when i do!)
-having the full use of my limbs and organs and entire body in general!

-the gift that God has given me to be able to sing and write (it’s also cheaper than therapy! 😉 )
-being able to decorate my apartment to make it feel like home
-my electric fireplace. It makes my home feel so cozy, especially in the winter.
-being able to buy books to read and cd’s/vinyl to listen to (both are my methods of entertainment since I don’t have tv)
-my overall health and the health of my family
-my children, who are healthy, intelligent, funny and look just like me! (I’m convinced they have greatness written all over them!)
-peace in my home
-being able to treat myself to go to the movies when I want to see one that I love
-all the concerts that I’ve been to over the years that have inspired me and all the concerts I will go to in the future that will continue to inspire me
-having a website and being able to write and share my life with you all, my dear readers
-the fact that somehow my bills get paid every month
-for my van. I went many years without a vehicle which makes me even more thankful for the one I have.
-my shoes…and clothes. For my closet in general. I know it sounds “materialistic” but it’s true. I love fashion.
-every good thing, open door and opportunity that God gives me.

So, now it’s YOUR turn! I’ve given you some examples. See if you can take a few minutes and try to write some things down that YOU are thankful for this year. There’s more good around you than you think!

“Every good and perfect gift comes to us from God…”~James 1:17

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