Today in Boston, tragedy occurred. You may be wondering how I can even include the word “gratitude” in this title. How can anyone be grateful right now? While I do not understand why these situations occur, I do know that I don’t see all that God sees. I only have my perspective.
I’ve always been a runner. Even as a little girl, almost every day after school I would race other kids across the field to see who was fastest. I was usually 1st or 2nd place (not bragging… it was a very small private school, so there weren’t many kids to be faster than). As I grew older, it became not just a hobby but a passion. I LOVED to run. I still do. I love the fresh air hitting my face (warm or cold) and the scenery around me (leaves or snow). I love the freedom I feel as I move and the quietness I feel in my spirit.
So it should be of no surprise to you that last year as I began to train for my first 1/2 marathon, I started to think about more challenging goals for the future. The Boston Marathon sounded like a great challenge for the following year and how amazing it would be to be a part of such a large event (if I could even qualify)?
However, it was not long after that I began to have some hormonal imbalances that caused me to quit running altogether. One of the things I greatly loved, and I really could not do it anymore. But you see, it was more than just hormone problems, I mean… most of us deal with that from time to time, right? It started to become a little tragedy in my safe life. This is not something I have shared openly with people, but I decided to be open about it today. The fact is, my hormones got so out of whack that I was having trouble trying to get pregnant again.
Many months went by… No more running, lots of healthy eating, and God knows I cried more than I would like to admit. This is when my other blog Wholesome Healing was birthed. I was searching for answers right and left, wondering how someone so (seemingly) healthy could continue to have early miscarriages. I just wanted the heartache to stop. I can’t even imagine the pain of those who’ve been trying even longer for their first child. Lord, bless them.
Well, clearly, I’m still not pregnant. But I’ve stopped asking questions. I’ve stopped searching like crazy for answers to this little tragedy that I do not understand. I’ve made peace with it and decided that if this is all God has for me, it is enough. I am more than beyond blessed with this 1 amazing, beautiful, and life-giving little girl He has given us. There is nothing else I need, even though people continue to remind me that I must have 1 more (can’t a beagle count??). Oh, the number of times I responded by just laughing or, worse, making up some ridiculous sarcastic remark to cover up how I was really feeling inside… ugh. Nothing hurts us more than the truth we keep inside, hidden from others.
The last few weeks, I’ve been in a new place with all of this though. Mostly because I decided to be okay with it and just trust God. I know that He knows my heart and He knows what’s best. That’s what matters. But just as I relinquished control, answers started to come and I now find myself in a process of healing (more on this coming up on my other blog soon). But it’s beyond a physical healing… it’s spiritual, mental, and emotional, too. It’s gratitude and thankfulness. It’s finding hope, joy, and peace in the little tragedies because He’s given me the ability to see things differently.
Some of you may have already heard this story, but while we were on our recent vacation in Puerto Rico, we had a little tragedy occur. As Josh and I were walking towards the beach, we saw Jayden sitting on a towel, playing in the sand. My in-laws were there next to her, laying underneath a large, old, solid wood cabana. I watched as my mother in law scooped up my daughter and laid her on a chair to change her diaper. She fussed, of course. Within seconds, half of top of the cabana split in half without warning and fell on top of my mother and sister in law (who both happened to be standing over my daughter in that exact moment). It happened so quickly, that I think we were all in shock for the first several minutes. We began to dissect exactly what happened and who was injured where. Both my mother and sister in law suffered concussions and back injuries. But as we kept going over what had happened, the one thing that stood out in all of our minds that kept us ever so grateful was this: what if it had happened 5 seconds sooner? Or what if my mother in law decided not to change my daughter’s diaper after all? That cabana fell exactly right on top of the very towel Jayden was sitting on just moments before the tragedy. What a different story I might be telling if the timing of things had been any different. What a different life I would have right now.
Today was yet another reminder of what I have to be thankful for. Where would I be right now if I had decided to keep running? Would I have continued to train for today’s marathon in Boston? Would I be here at all? I’m not saying that if it weren’t for my hormonal imbalance, that I might be dead or even injured. I mean, let’s be honest… I probably wouldn’t have even qualified to run the race! But thinking about the possibility does put my little tragedy into perspective. And when I say “little tragedy”, I don’t mean to make the issue of infertility a minor one, but in the grand scheme of all the great tragedies going on around us… at least I still have a family to come home to. At least I can still look at my husband and daughter tomorrow and tell them how much I love them. At least I still have my life.
I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in what’s not going right in our own lives that we forget to be grateful for what is going right, and that can put a real damper on our perspective. Not only that, but it cultivates doubt which eventually short circuits our faith. We need to be careful about what we choose to dwell on. Dwelling on our little tragedies does not build faith, only fear. Whatever it is that you have to be thankful for right now, think on those things (Philippians 4:8). In fact, I challenge you to go wake up every morning dwelling on 5 things you are grateful for… I imagine it might change your perspective and quite possibly your life.