It’s that time of year where we see the word thankful everywhere.  Cute signs that say ‘Thankful~Grateful~Blessed’ seem to be all around.  I admit that I have rolled my eyes at those signs in the past.  It’s not that I don’t think we should be thankful  I absolutely do!  But when you are grieving, or are in the midst of a tough season, it can be a challenge.  Obviously, since you are on a widow site, you have also lost your beloved.  So, you likely understand what I am saying.  

However, we widows and widowers aren’t the only ones who face this struggle.  Anyone who has lost someone dear to them, gone through a divorce, or dealt with a scary health situation probably understands the struggle.  People who have dealt with tough financial situations, job loss, or faced devastating natural disasters may also know the struggle.  Let’s be real here…2020 has been difficult for many.  Don’t you agree?  So, it makes sense that many may find it difficult to give thanks right now.       

Yet the bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to ‘Give thanks always for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.’  Always?  That is so difficult, and I admit that I have struggled, and still struggle, at times.  Over the past 6 months, I have been practicing being more thankful.  Yes, I truly believe it takes practice. 

When practicing this, I had to first understand that I am not to give thanks for everything.  I am not going to thank God that my husband has left this Earth.  That would be absurd!  I can, however, thank God for the time that I had with Jeff and for the three children we created together.  I can also thank God for being a loving & forgiving God who had a special place in Heaven for my husband, which means that I, Lord willing, will get to see him again someday.  

It doesn’t erase my pain when I give thanks, but it does take some of the sting away.  Turning my focus away from the negative and towards those things for which I am thankful helps lift my spirits.  When I practice thankfulness, I am a happier person.  One who is grateful and wants to spread joy to others.  

Have you practiced thankfulness lately?  If you have, I am sure you fully understand the benefits, and I encourage you to keep at it.  If you haven’t, I urge you to give it a try.  It’s simple.  I started by thinking of 3 things that I was thankful for everyday, and at first they were very obvious things.  For example, I was thankful for Jeff, my kids, and God.  Over time, you increase the number to come up with daily, and after a while, it just comes naturally and you don’t even have to make a list.  

I still try to write a list from time to time though.  Here are a few of mine.  I’m sharing in hopes that it will get you thinking about all that you have to be thankful for.

  • Lord, thank you for my home that Jeff and I bought when we were newly married.  I am thankful that it keeps me out of the elements, but most of all, I am thankful that it is a place where loving memories have been made for over 18 years.
  • I am beyond thankful for my job and the wonderful people with whom I work.  Thank you, Lord, for leading me to this particular job where I have been encouraged to go back to school and supported through some difficult situations.
  • Thank you, Jesus, for dying on the cross for all of our sins.  I know without a doubt that I am a sinner, and I often don’t feel worthy of your most generous gift.  So grateful that you think each and every one of us is worthy.  We are blessed!
  • Lord, thank you for stirring up the desire in me to be more purposeful with where I spend my time and energy.  I am already appreciating the changes that you have helped me make over the last couple of weeks.

I could keep on writing!  It used to be a struggle to come up with three things sometimes, but thankfully, with practice, it has become quite easy.  Heck, earlier I thanked God for the sale at Hobby Lobby so that I could afford to get Christmas cards I love at a reasonable price.  I am truly learning to be thankful and give thanks always, and it has been life changing.

Ladies, give it a try.  Practice thankfulness for a bit.  Then after a couple of weeks, I would love to hear from you about how you are feeling.  I pray it changes you like it has me.  

PS~I should also share that I am thankful for the Hope for Widows organization and each and every one of you ladies!  I’m glad we don’t have to walk this journey alone.  God, thank you for the wonderful ladies who created this group, and thank you for each and every lady who has joined along the way.  Please bless them all! 

About 

Dawn’s life was forever altered on December 6, 2018 when she got the call that her husband, Jeffrey, had passed away at his work. She quickly learned that Jeff died from a gunshot wound, and detectives determined that it was self-inflicted. Dawn still struggles to wrap her brain around that fact. She will tell you that most days she doesn’t think about that part of it at all. Her husband is gone. The manner in which he died ultimately doesn’t matter. Gone is gone. He will forever be 46.

Jeff and Dawn started out as friends in the Fall of 1997. They started to date in January of 1999. On September 3rd, 2000, in front of a beautiful lake, Jeff asked Dawn to be his wife, lover and friend for the rest of his life. She excitedly accepted, and on June 30th, 2001, they became husband and wife. Together, Jeff and Dawn had 3 children...Ali, Josh & Meghan. During the majority of their 17 years of marriage, Dawn was a housewife and Jeff ran a fencing company. The kind of fencing that keeps children and animals contained. Not the kind of fencing that uses a sword.

Dawn currently works as a secretary in the special education department of a school district. She has a degree in Elementary Education, and she loves being able to provide support to teachers and staff. In her free time, she can usually be found spending time with family and friends. Reading has been her passion since she was just a little girl, but since Jeff passed, she has found it hard to focus on reading. While that is a negative change that has happened on her journey, one positive change is that she has been writing more. She tries to openly share on her personal blog, Dawning Light, with the hopes that it will help even just one other person.

For years, Dawn has been passionate about spreading joy to those around her. She continues to be that way, and now she is very purposeful about trying to focus on the positive things even during a horrible situation. She moves forward on this journey with her mind focused on continuing to honor Jeffrey, as well as trying to raise their three wonderful children in a way that will make him proud. Her hope is to live a life that will allow her to see Jeff in Heaven. She wants to see his smile again and feel his arms around her. Of course, that will be after she hopefully hears her Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”