I remember when I was in school having to write compositions around this time of year entitled: “Things I Am Thankful For.” I always wrote down obvious things. My family and friends, my home, having clothes. A few not so obvious things made the list. My mother’s chocolate ice box cake, my cats, my new pair of Silver jeans. I might throw in whoever I was dating at the time, or if I wasn’t seeing anyone I would give a shout out for freedom and girl power.
Fast forward a few years into my active alcoholism and I didn’t have anything to write in my “giving thanks” paper. In fact, I didn’t even have a composition class to write for, as I had drunk myself into college drop out status. I had no money, my family was fed up with me, and all my friends had quit talking to me. I couldn’t stay sober long enough to have a boyfriend, and my health was horrible. I missed mom’s chocolate icebox cake every year because I was too drunk to show up for holiday gatherings.
It was a horrible time in my life, but it was also the time that I had just enough of nothing to go searching. Searching for what I didn’t know, but I knew that I had to find something better than this. So I began to search. To wonder. To pray. I heard God telling me my life could be better, that He had a plan for me that wasn’t this. I sat in a church for the first time at the foot of a wooden cross and I wept. I asked God what I should do. I didn’t know it then, but Jesus was standing right behind me with His arms around me. It was the first time I realized that I was not alone.
To look back on that time in my life is very bittersweet. I would never want to live through it again, but if I had not gone through it I never would have found my way to the foot of the cross. I never would have been able to say “yes” to God, not fully knowing what I was saying yes too, and watch my life transform into something beautiful.
Today I am thankful for so many things most people don’t even think about. Waking up and not feeling sick. Going to work sober everyday. Having friends who know the real me, and love me anyway. Laughing. A sunny day. (I use to sleep or pass out for days at a time) Feeling things: happiness, sadness, disappointment, and not having to drink over them. Not having to lie. Ever. Throwing all the masks I use to wear away.
Having a relationship with my family. Hugs from my husband. Looking in the mirror and being OK with the woman looking back. I am even proud of her. And of course mom’s chocolate icebox cake.
My cats even like me again.
But most of all, I am thankful for a Savior. I am thankful that God loved me so much, that He sent His Son to die for all the stupid things He already knew I was going to do. Just so I could have a relationship with Him. Just so he could save my life.
Thank you Jesus for dying for me. For loving me. For living inside of my heart and changing me. Thank you for being my Savior.
Thank you for my beautiful life.
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (1 Chronicles 16:34)