Guest post from Laura of LauraSueShaw.com
Last year I learned that the simple act of recording blessings from the day is truly life-changing.
My journey of learning to choose gratitude started the Christmas of 2014. I received Crystal’s Blessings Journal as a gift from my parents. I was so excited to get started! I loved the idea of this quick and practical way to practice gratitude every day.
Little did I know that what I found inside would change my life and help me through the most difficult season I’ve ever been through.
I was pretty good about writing a line or two each day, and was particularly excited to write a HUGE blessing in my journal mid-June of 2015… I was pregnant! We were thrilled to be expecting our first child.
Even as nausea and exhaustion took over most of the summer, we were so thankful for the little life growing inside me. I recorded many blessings throughout the summer months.
“We got to see baby and the heartbeat! Everything looks good!”
“So thankful for our sweet little baby.”
As summer turned to fall, we scheduled an extra appointment when they saw something a little off at 13 weeks. We were told not to worry and sent to a specialist in mid-September.
At that appointment, we were given devastating news that would test this new-found gratitude habit: Our precious baby had a fatal birth defect.
The pages of my journal stayed empty for a week or two as I processed this news, grieved the fact that our child’s life would be short, and tried to figure out how to fill our baby’s life with as much love as possible for as long as we had.
A week or two after we got the news I finally opened my journal again and wrote a blessing:
“The doctor that had to break the news to us was really nice.”
I couldn’t imagine having to tell anyone what she told us. I was truly thankful she was so kind and compassionate.
It wasn’t every day, but thanks to the habit I had already established that year I was able to still fill my journal with blessings over the next few months:
“I’m thankful for all the love, support, and prayers we have received.”
“I’m grateful work is allowing me to be flexible with my hours.”
“I’m grateful that we were able to record baby’s heartbeat.”
Just as the weather started turning cold enough for me to dig out my winter coat, I went into pre-term labor at 30 weeks on December 15th. Our beautiful little girl Taylor was born the next day and lived for just under 3 hours.
“I’m thankful I got to hold her in my arms.”
“I’m thankful we were blessed with incredible doctors and nurses.”
“I’m thankful that we got some wonderful photos and keepsakes.”
“I’m thankful the funeral home staff took such good care of us.”
“And most of all, I’m thankful for the child that made me a mama.”
I learned to recognize all the ways God continued to bless us throughout a difficult journey. I don’t know that I would have been able to really recognize all those blessings if I hadn’t started documenting them at the beginning of the year.
So I’m especially grateful for the Blessings Journal.
Learning to look for the little blessings has pulled me through the most difficult of times. It’s something I’ll carry with me through my entire life as I face good times and bad.
Now don’t get me wrong — I’d still trade it all in an instant to have my baby alive and in my arms. But I know that no matter what we are facing, God’s blessings still surround us.
There is always hope.
I’ve learned to always look for the blessings, no matter the circumstance and it is my prayer that you can do the same.
Laura Shaw loves to share practical resources for organized and purposeful living on her website, LauraSueShaw.com. She lives in central IL with her husband and dog. Some of her favorite things include spending time with family, cute planners, and coffee!