Not too long ago I posted a picture on Facebook of the “Grateful Box” that Henry got for me on our 5th wedding anniversary. I didn’t realize it would generate so much interest but I’m so glad it did! Some friends were asking me more about it so I decided to share.
How It All Began
Right before our 5th anniversary, Henry and I went through some really, really, REALLY challenging things in our relationship/marriage. It was pretty intense and really affected us personally and especially our relationship. I had gotten to a place where I always saw the glass as half empty… no scratch that… The glass was DRY… not one drop left. To be completely honest, I didn’t think we were going to make it. I started looking for tickets to go back home so that I could “get a break” from all of the drama. My unhappiness was like a rain cloud that wouldn’t go away. Not only was I extremely unhappy, but my unhappiness began to seep into all parts of my life and affect everything. I had begun to be ungrateful in every situation and about everything. Instead of seeing the good in our situation (which is pretty hard to do in any really tough situation), I was so hurt and believe that I even experienced some depression. I was hurt by the things that transpired and spent many days in tears. I was ANGRY… angry at Henry, the situation, the other people who were part of the situation, the things that were being said about me that were not true, that I felt alone and unsupported, etc. One of the things that I was the most upset about was that I left everything I knew back home to come to THIS????? My husband was caught between two parties with two VERY different expectations. It caused so much tension between us because even though he was trying to navigate the situation, there were things that were very difficult for him to change. To sum everything up and to be completely honest…. We were in a really tough situation and I felt like it wasn’t changing at all. I feared that this was going to “be my portion” and that I would just have to deal with it. I feared that I would be miserable and have to deal with this “drama” for the rest of my life. I was not going to divorce Henry, because coming into this marriage that was not an option, but I was going to find a way to cope and just “get through” this life.
Right smack in the middle of these challenges we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. Henry wanted to get me a special gift that year so he researched anniversary gifts by year. Looking back on it now, I can’t remember if I even got him a gift (yikes!). He discovered that for five year anniversaries, the traditional gift was wood and paper. So with that new found information in hand, off he went to find my gift. While looking, he came across a wooden box. It was originally designed to be a jewelry box, but Henry (with his creative self) saw something more. He then found a notebook that had my initial on it and fit perfectly in the box. So fast forward to our anniversary date… I remember that day like it was yesterday… With a huge smile on his face, Henry presented me with the gift bag. As I opened the bag and pulled out the box, my curiosity began to grow. I was trying to connect the dots and understand how the two items went together… but it wasn’t working. LOL… I think he could see it all over my face. He then proceeded to explain that he had gotten this box for me to put inside all the things that I was grateful for. That I was to use the notepad to write down things and stick them in the box.
From time to time, I was to go back and read the things in the box to remind myself of the blessings and things I was grateful for. . This box was to serve as a reminder of God’s goodness and faithfulness to me… to us… even when things seemed so dark and dreary. I was so excited about this gift and was looking forward to putting grateful notes in it. I was looking forward to something that would help take my mind off of our situation and something else to focus on. I’ll admit, as time went by, I wasn’t completely consistent with putting things in it, but periodically I would put something in and go back to read what was already there. I wish I had put more things in it, but I’m grateful for the many blessings that are in the grateful box.. Here are a few things that I wrote for my grateful box.
So back to our story… through prayer, several sessions of counseling and MANY tearful discussions things improved. Thank God!!! Things are better now than they’ve ever been. The Lord is healing and restoring what the enemy tried so hard to steal and destroy. I’m so grateful to the Lord for helping us get through that really tough time and for helping our relationship to be stronger. God is so faithful and works everything out for our good. Thankfully things are much better now, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t one of the hardest things I ever had to go through. I found that as I developed a grateful attitude my focus changed. As my focus changed, my outlook about everything began to change as well. My thankful attitude caused me to begin to view things through a lens of gratefulness. This lens eventually became my default way of thinking and helped me see the good in my situation- areas that I could grow- and in the end changed my situation. The saying “Change in attitude will change your altitude” is so true. I saw it in action through my situation. When I changed my attitude, became grateful and looked at the positive in my situation my “altitude” began to change. It wasn’t an overnight process, but with purposeful consistency, it worked. By changing my attitude, I was also able to focus on the things that really mattered; like being a blessing to others.
Recently, I revisited my “grateful box” and was again reminded of the things that God has done for me–and for us–over these past years. It’s hard to believe that I’ve had this box for almost four years now! I have so many reminders of God’s faithfulness in the box, but I know there are so many more that have gone unrecorded.
This year, Henry gave me another challenge: to write a grateful note every day this year. I really want to make sure that I maintain this challenge and keep before me the things that the Lord has done for me and now for my little family. I also want to make sure that I help to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness in Rissy and in our other children to come. I want her to appreciate the many blessings she has received. She is so loved and has received so many blessings even before she was born!! One thing I would like to do is set up a “grateful box” for our family. My hope is that Rissy and our future children will carry this tradition into their own homes and with their own families. I don’t want them to ever forget what the Lord has done for them.
All of that brings me to this website… As women, we go through many seasons and transitions in our lives, at times it can be hard to enjoy the journey and the process. This is especially hard when we are going through tough times, storms and trials. My hope is that my website will help encourage you and help you to enjoy the process/journey of life… every part of it. That you will be encouraged to develop an attitude of gratefulness that will impact everything you do. That this attitude will help change your mind, outlook and even your situation. When we look at life through a lens of gratefulness, we can see the faithfulness of God and the positive in any situation.
I’m so excited to be able to launch into this new venture. I’ll admit that I’m nervous. This is something that I’ve had in my heart and on my mind for a very long time and am so happy to finally see it coming to fruition. My hope is that as I share my story and experiences, you will be encouraged and that you will feel like you have a friend even if it’s only through this website. Together, let’s enjoy our journeys, wherever that may be, through the lens of gratitude. Thank you for joining me!