What Do I Have to Be Thankful For?

November is when we take time to share what we’re thankful for. Many of my friends post on Facebook or send an email every day this month, listing all the wonderful things they’re grateful for: long marriages, perfectly-behaved kids, flowers their husbands gave them.

And it really ticks me off!

My life has not been like that, so my list of thanks is quite different.

In the projects with Mom and little brother. I learned to fake smile.
  • I’m thankful that I grew up in the projects of Cleveland. It taught me the value of a dollar so I can be content with what I have and not always spend money for the latest and greatest.
  • I’m thankful that I had to share a top bunk with my sister until I was eight. I learned that I don’t need a lot of space and today I don’t waste money on a huge mortgage for a big house.
  • I’m thankful that I survived my father’s abuse when I was a child. Now I’m stronger than I ever thought possible and I can handle whatever life dumps on me.
  • I’m thankful that I had no scholarships or parental support to get me through college. I truly earned my degrees and appreciate them much more than if they had been handed to me.
  • I’m thankful that my first marriage lasted 19 years. Although I wish it had been “till death do us part,” it gave me two wonderful sons and two beautiful granddaughters.
  • I’m thankful for four years as a single mom. I understand what it’s like to handle the struggle of being both mother and father and I can empathize with others in dual roles.
  • I’m thankful that I had a wonderful second marriage for 13 years, though I wish it had been longer. God had the option of keeping us apart or letting me meet my second husband, knowing I’d have him only a short time. I can’t help but be thankful for God’s choice.
  • I’m thankful that my sons had problems growing up. They had to work hard to become the strong, upstanding men they are today.
  • I’m thankful that I pinched pennies to I could afford to retire to write and speak fulltime. Now I can share my experiences and my heart with others – with you – and hopefully help you tackle whatever you’re facing today.
  • I’m thankful that I avoided, survived, or abandoned toxic relationships. I miss some friends and family members who are no longer in my life, but I’m happier without them. I pray they will reduce their negativity, but I can’t change them. I wish good for them.
  • I’m thankful that my knees don’t work well. I’ve had problems for decades, but lately, the pain makes me slow down. As a result, I’m choosier about what I do and I enjoy life more.
  • I’m thankful that my body is falling apart because I’m getting old. The alternative – not living long enough to get old – would keep me from spending time with those I love.

Life is precious.

Other speakers call themselves resilience experts, but I am their queen. That’s how I earned the title “Queen of Resilience.” I could wish for an easier life instead of that designation, but I’d just be bored. And boring.

So, thank you, God, for trusting me enough to give me the tough lessons to make me what and who I am today. And for continuing to teach me when I was too stubborn to learn the first time.

Thank you for being the Father I need, and for changing the path of my life to lead me here today.

Help me remember to thank you all year, not just in November.

One comment

  1. Thank you for sharing, Debbie.

    So often we tend to focus on the good things in our lives to be thankful for, but the rough parts can bring blessings, too. I appreciate your openness and honesty and the reminder to keep our eyes focused on the lessons God is teaching us. We have much to be thankful for.

    Blessing to you,

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