johann-walter-bantz-216960We were standing in line at the food pantry, waiting for a few bags of groceries. My daughter was embarrassed to be there. I would have been too, but I was going through a divorce and wondering how I was going to recover from the heartbreak, support a kid, and get back on my feet with no job.

I didn’t feel like I belonged there, but when life pulls the rug out from under you, you find yourself in places you never thought you’d be. I’ve been on the other side too. It’s easy to look at people who are not doing as well as we are in any given moment and make judgments. We tell ourselves that people are homeless, or working the system or lazy when they’re really not looking for a hand out so much as a hand up.

Circumstances can change on a dime. A divorce can leave one homeless with kids, or living in a car with nothing but the clothes on your back. We were renting a small place in the country and I desperately wanted to hang onto it.

Even though I didn’t want to be standing in that line, it wasn’t the first time for me. I’m not too proud to ask for help when it looks like the bottom is falling out of life. More importantly, my kid needed to eat and needed to know that I had her best interests at heart. She was the one thing in my life I just could not lose. I had to keep it together somehow: A roof, heat, food. If I could do that, then the rest would probably work itself out.

fireplace.jpegGod and I had just got acquainted a few years before and so far, it had been a bumpy ride. I read my bible hoping every word was true. That he was the same God that fed widows and orphans now as he did then. He didn’t fail me. A pass to the pantry was his provision.

I looked at my daughter and thought about how I’d feel being in a place like this with my mother. I had to tell her something. I was worried she’d want to live with her dad and I’d lose her.

“It won’t always be like this,” I said. “One day we’ll be able to go to the store and buy anything we want. We won’t even look at the price.”
I don’t know if she believed me that day, but over time things did change. They did get better. That first year was really hard on both of us. But I learned something that has stayed with me from then till now.

Every good thing is from God, and with that in mind, I’m grateful for every kindness. Some people paid my utilities. I was grateful. Another time, someone bought me a tank of heating oil. That winter, we were warm and grateful. A friend with unconventional ideas brought me a tree cut in two-foot chunks. I chopped it and got the work out of my life and we had firewood for two winters. (No one messes with a woman swinging an ax.) I leaped off the cliff of worry and fear and trusted God would catch me. Every time something good came, I was so grateful.

When a person gets so close to the edge that you can see how easy it would be to slip through the cracks, you learn to be happy for the smallest thing.
Your favorite song on the radio.
Clean clothes.
A warm bed.better food.jpeg
Hot food.
Even now, I’m grateful for friends, a small apartment, a decent car. The love of my husband is very precious.

Thanksgiving has come and gone for a lot of people. But for me, it isn’t only one day. Gratitude is a lifestyle. It’s remembering to appreciate what we have right now. Thin times come and go, but so do riches. So might health, or family. We don’t know what’s around the very next corner. But I know that God provided, and all that he gave us was enough, it got us through. We’re stronger for it.
And I’m grateful for the lesson.

What are you grateful for? I’d love to hear from you.

14 Comments Add yours

  1. I just wanted to know if a ever put together my personal blog u will give me an opinion. I was thinking maybe to put together my blogs and write a short book. If not its OK and please forgive me.thank you.

    1. JEOcean says:

      Patrizia, I’m no expert but I would gladly take a look. I can point you in the direction of some really great people who specialize in blogs and you might get ideas from them too. Interested?

    2. I am just now learning how to use the Conversation page. Thank you for responding and looking forward to the directions about where to look into. Forgive my bothering you.Thank you.

  2. Sorry about my terrible mistakes in my last comment. I must check my grammar before making a comment.
    I would like to ask you something when possible, I do not know any blogger!

    1. JEOcean says:

      Hello Partrizia, sorry for the delay in getting back to you. How can I help?

  3. I am truly grateful for all my Lord has done for me including not losing my mind and not allowed me to die 22 years ago when I took 12mg of Xanax. I never went to sleep. God IS good!

    1. JEOcean says:

      Patricia, now that’s a testimony! WOW! I am glad to hear from you and thankful to know you are still with us. Blessings and joy on your New Year and please stay in touch!

    2. Thank you you are very kind. I am here anytime if u choose to ask anything. I would like to pit my a;l testimony someday. Thank you for your posts as well.

  4. Sue says:

    I’m grateful for the people in my life who allow me to be in theirs. Like you; thank you for being here. <3

  5. JEOcean says:

    Thanks, Brenda! I am too!

    1. JEOcean says:

      You are so welcome. Really glad we’re connected!

  6. Brenda says:

    One of the things I ‘m grateful for is friends like you !

  7. Teresa Lund says:

    Beautiful post Juli, Attitude of gratitude is wisdom shared ! Thank you

    1. JEOcean says:

      Thanks so much Teresa. I really appreciate you stopping by and sharing such kind words.

Thanks for stopping by. Let me hear from you!