I once read that, “You simply will not be the same person after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life.” I truly believe that thankfulness turns what we have into enough. The very decision to smile “regardless of” unlocks the fullness of life. It is at this crossroad that you will have set in motion the biblical truth: The more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.
Yes, choosing to be thankful is life changing. At least it has been for me.
I’ve always been an encourager, a cheerleader for all, if you will, but rarely for myself. I have spent years sowing and planting seeds in the lives of others, helping cultivate the gifts and purpose I saw in others without even understanding my true value. I spent a lot of years trusting and working hard toward unknown goals and honestly not knowing what to expect in return. Just keep my head down, work diligently, and help others, I thought.
And life, with its many ups and downs, can make it hard to be thankful for anything other than a break. You know what I’m talking about — those string of disappointments and “did I do that” mistakes that just seem to leave you breathless, lifeless even. Words spoken against you that seemed to hang over you and attach it to your thoughts. I wanted more from my existence and sometimes, when you are so use to playing the little guy, you need someone to point out your possibilities.
My mom (surely like most moms) has always been my No. 1 fan. She is my living example of selfless, courage under-fire and unwavering faith. A few years back, she started to explain to me what she saw knitted in the fabric of who I am. I mean, the way she described the potential she saw was like this women I didn’t know. Something crazy happened one day … I started to believe her. I began to be thankful for each of the things my mother named, whether I totally believed it or not. Now it’s a daily practice to see myself that way. I am so thankful God has allowed me to see … me. I found that women of valor that is inside each of us and I set her free. And it didn’t matter how awkward or corky I was. If I stumble over my words, who cares! I still have something to say. If I’m a little rough around the edge sometimes, it’s OK. It only means I have room to grow.
Since that time, I’ve been fortunate to have some pretty amazing opportunities: Small business owner, award-winning creative director for a thriving agency, speaker, board member, tourism commissioner, college instructor, ministry leader, godmother, one extremely rocking wife, and even the opportunity to be apart of this magazine and sharing with you this very moment. These are things I never thought I’d be able to do.
The more thankful I became, the more I was given, and the wonderful thing is there’s still more to my story. I will never take one single opportunity for granted.
So, this big smile that I so fondly boast is my promise to forever and myself that who I am has will be enough. As I look over my life and at those moments that shaped me there were always the faces of my personal cheerleaders (we all need them): My wonderful hubby, Gabriel who takes care of me better than I could myself; a loving family, friends and colleagues who supports me in all I do; a church family at Grace Temple Baptist Church, who has always encouraged me to express myself through my faith; and a great employer in The Focus Group, who has allowed me to explore who I am creatively and in leadership. To all of you, “Thanks!”
Like the old saying goes, don’t grumble because roses have thorns; be thankful that thorns have roses. You never know what’s in the works for you, but thankfulness makes sense of our past, brings peace for our today and creates a vision for tomorrow. Yes, flowing from this heart of mine each and everyday is an attitude of gratitude.