Well, it’s Thanksgiving again, and like many of you probably have, I’ve taken some time to pause and reflect on what I’m thankful for this year. However, at the risk of sounding cliche and sappy, this post is going to take a different perspective than the usual rote lists of blessings. Often times, situations that seem unpleasant at first glance end up being the gateway to other blessings that we never would have encountered without the former unpleasantries. I think it was Garth Brooks who once sang that “some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” I’ve certainly found that to be true in my own life, so this year I’d like to reflect on the 5 most UNPLEASANT things I’m thankful for this year…
1. WEIGHT GAIN – This one probably doesn’t top most folks’ list of gratitude, as for many, weight gain is an unwelcome visitor. In fact, this is only the second time in my life I’ve ever put it on my “Thankful For” list! That’s because this year, an extra pound on the scale doesn’t correlate to an extra helping of chips and dip at that last party, or ice cream for too many days in a row. Weight gain this year for me means that God’s blessed me with the opportunity to grow a little miracle inside me yet again!
2. THE AGING PROCESS – Another weird one. But over these past few years, I’ve begun to notice an interesting trend that is worth noting. The older I get, the more satisfied and content I am with the life I have right now as opposed to the life I had always pictured in my adolescent dreamings. While it’s true that the years may have added in a few wrinkles here and there, they’ve also added a marriage to a man that is my soulmate, along with a little boy (and soon to be little girl!) that I absolutely adore.
3. UNEXPECTED BILLS – Was I psyched when our air conditioner went kaput 4 days before some invasive tree roots completely blocked our sewage line this past fall? Heck no. But I am certainly thankful that we had enough money to cover those unwelcome bills without having to miss any meals. When circumstances beyond our control inevitably happen, they are a good reminder to not take what we have for granted.
4. AREAS WITHOUT CELL RECEPTION – Though the inability to check my email or even just change my facebook status can be temporarily annoying, I’m grateful that there are areas my family can still frequent to disconnect from technology for a few days at a time. Sadly, it seems like now more than ever “disconnecting” is a skill that actually needs to be taught to our kiddos!
5. AN OPINIONATED TODDLER – My little guy has always been a man that knows exactly what he wants when it comes to pretty much everything. Today he wants these pants, and NOT THOSE. Yesterday he hated bananas, but today it’s the only thing he wants. Books, routines, activities, and even how much water is in the cup while he brushes his teeth – he’s got something to say about it all. But despite the extra patience his stubbornness sometimes requires, I’m thankful that he feels free and confident enough to voice his opinion, and to ask for clarification when he wonders why we do things a certain way. My prayer is that he will take that freedom to ask questions with him into the awkwardness of adolescence, and that he will feel secure enough in his own skin to handle the temptations that come with being a teenager. While his opinions and endless chatter may indeed be tiring at times, I’m thankful that God gave him a strong mind with strong convictions – at least I know he’ll be the one staunchly standing his ground in a group of peers rather than swayed by the crowd.
So that’s my gratitude list for Thanksgiving this year, unorthodox as it may be. When I first got the idea for this post, I thought I’d have trouble coming up with five…but the more I thought about it, the more the ideas kept flowing. So when it comes to gratitude, don’t be afraid to think outside the box this year. Because after all, sometimes the worst things can lead to the best things!
What blessings disguised as unpleasantries are you thankful for this year?