Surprisingly, a sense of thankfulness can accompany a time of loss. My friend Jenny shares how a family tragedy actually gave her a new perspective on gratitude and God’s grace.
GUEST BLOG: Jenny Schmitt
I recently heard a sermon which reminded me that we sometimes extend forgiveness to others based on just how much we recognize we have been forgiven. In the same way, at least for me, I am more thankful because of just how much I have lost.
When I was a young kid of 21, I lost my mom to breast cancer after a 2 ½ year battle. It was a terrible thing to walk through for my whole family. The upside is that it drew my dad and my siblings closer together, and made us realize how short time really is. Up until that time, we all got along fine, but we weren’t calling each other every day and intimately a part of one another’s lives. That changed when mom died. We realized that petty things don’t matter, but the time we have together and how to spend it did.
We are not a perfect family by any means, but we have gotten pretty good at not sweating the small stuff. And for me, I am so thankful for the time we continue to have together.
My dad celebrated his 85th birthday this summer, surrounded by his family and friends. It’s been 27 years since Mom died, and he embraced thankfulness by continuing to live, not stopping just because he lost his wife. As I watched him look around the room, I could see the happiness and gratitude on his face. We’ve had many medical scares along the way as he has gotten older, and he continues to overcome them. To make it to 85 is such a blessing!
My favorite verse is Lamentations 3:22-23: “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” I am thankful that God’s grace and mercy are fresh and new each day.
No matter what yesterday looked like, today is a do-over! Don’t sweat the small stuff. Love people well while they are in your life. Be thankful. And if you fail at it today, God willing and with God’s grace leading the way, you’ll have another chance tomorrow!