My journey to building a grateful life rooted in Jesus began with a simple question,
“Are you grateful now?”
I wasn’t. I hadn’t been for years.
What I had been was lonely and exhausted and frustrated and driven and passionless and unseen and moments away from drowning. At the time, I claimed Over My Head (Cable Car) by The Fray as my personal anthem.
“Everyone knows I’m in over my head, over my head
With 8 seconds left in overtime, she’s on your mind
She’s on your mind”
All I could think about was how through the roof my stress level was and how much I wanted a baby girl. “She” was always on my mind.
(Which is in no way what the song is about)
(Also, I do that jumping thing the audience is doing at the end every time I play this song)
But God knew better. He knew I could hope and wish and pray for my daughter every second of every day but until I was ready to surrender to Him, to trust Him with His calling on my life, to release my drive to control all the things I literally could never bend to my will, then I wasn’t ready for my daughter.
And He was so right.
That’s easy to see from my current season. Hindsight and all. But in the struggle, stuck in the So That, I couldn’t have this thing, this person, I desperately wanted and I did not know how to navigate that season.
God gave me gratitude.
This week, during National Infertility Awareness Week, I went back through my gratitude lists from the first year when God was teaching me to simply be grateful for Something. And then the next season when I began to realize I was grateful for just about Everything. Right up to the point when I knew I was grateful for One Thing, my Savior.
There’s a reason God tells the Israelites to write the stories of deliverance and freedom and miraculous on the walls of their homes and on their own foreheads. Instructed them to pick up stones from the rivers they crossed as a reminder of God’s mercy. And why Jesus tells us that anytime we drink from the cup and eat of the bread we should do so to remind ourselves of Him and His sacrifice.
Because we are prone to extreme forgetfulness.
Oh sure, God did that, but that was like so five minutes ago. And we move on to begging for the next miracle before we’ve even taken the time to offer our thanks for the last time God moved.
So this week, I decided to take time to be grateful for what God has already done.
For sunshine and rain, for Lucky Charms and apples, medicines and microscopes, cool breezes and seat warmers, music to dance to and lyrics that bring you to your knees, for syringes and shipments, for infertile sisters in battle and fertile family carrying me to Jesus when I couldn’t fight another moment, for 3-day transfers of 7-celled babies and 5-day transfers of rock-star hatching-blastocysts babies, for betas and two-lines on pregnancy tests, for failures and fractured hearts, for broken dreams and redeemed futures, for callings that can never be rescinded and anchors of hope.
I am grateful for every single moment of our So That journey of infertility.
Because I got Jesus. And He is better.
The discipline of gratitude is not a solution to whatever our So That mess brings.
Keeping a gratitude journal did not miraculously cure me of infertility. It has never earned me a single dime of money. Not once did it stop my baby from crying at 3 am nor offer me a reason why my threenager refused to nap when he so obviously needed one.
God didn’t give me gratitude as the cure to infertility.
He gave me gratitude as the tool to persevere through it.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” ~Romans 5:3-4 (NIV)
Friend, if you are walking through your own So That, gratitude might be the tool you need to endure.
What can you be grateful for today, right where you are? What are you grateful for in the work God has already done in your life? What stories of deliverance and freedom do you need to write on your walls to make sure you never forget?
Are you grateful now?