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Choosing to Be Thankful When Life is Hard

Today is a day when we celebrate our blessings and reflect on all the wonderful things we have to be thankful for. It’s a good thing to stop and express our gratitude — we all have much to be thankful for.

However, some of you are probably really struggling this Thanksgiving. Maybe your husband recently left you, or your child has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, or you are battling an addiction, or your finances feel like they are in shambles and you are just digging yourself into a deeper hole because of unemployment and ever-mounting bills.

Life is hard and messy sometimes — and just because it’s Thanksgiving doesn’t mean that the pain and burdens are lifted. If this Thanksgiving finds you in a difficult place in life, may I encourage you to read my post on Hope for Women Magazine on Choosing to Be Thankful Even When Life is Hard?

Here’s a snippet:

My husband was rummaging through old financial statements not too long ago, and we were aghast to read some of the numbers. During the first year he was in law school, there were six months when we made less than $900 — and some months it was as low as $650.

I recall that season of our lives fairly vividly, but seeing those numbers on paper again after a number of years was a shock to our systems. I’m still not sure how we made it on so little!

During those years, we lived in a little basement apartment that only had four windows on one side. I could plug the vacuum cleaner into one outlet and vacuum the entire apartment without ever switching outlets…Click on over to read the full post.

Our struggles during the lean law school years pale in comparison to many of the struggles you are facing. But I hope that the words I shared might encourage some of you.

Don’t lose heart. Don’t lose hope.

Choose gratitude today — even when it feels impossible. It might not change any of your circumstances, but I promise that it will transform your attitude and lift your spirits.

Homemade apple pies ready to go in the oven this morning… yum!

A Heartfelt Word of Thanks to Each of You

By the way, can I just say thank you to each of you for everything you mean to me and how you bless me on a daily basis?

Thank you for your kind words and constructive criticism. Thank you for reading here, commenting, and emailing. And thank you for sticking with me and putting up with the fact that I’m often behind schedule in my blogging commitments because life has taken precedence or I’ve just bitten off more than I can chew (I’m working on that one; it may be a lifelong lesson, though! :))

As those who know me well can attest to, my years of blogging have been a journey of growth, learning, and stretching for me. It’s not always been easy and I’ve made oh-so-many mistakes along the way, but God has taught me much through it and changed me from the inside out as a result of blogging.

When I began blogging back in 2005, I thought I pretty much had life figured out. Now, 7 years later, I feel like there are very few things in life that I have figured out, but I know one thing: blogging has been the catalyst for life-transformation for me.

It’s brought me from a place of insecurity, legalism, and being a people-pleaser to a place where I feel whole, free, and truly happy in who God has made me to be and what He has called me to.

And you’ve been a part of that journey with me.

Someday, I may be ready to blog more about all that life transformation, but for now, I just want to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. Words cannot express how much you mean to me and how much I’ve learned and grown as a direct result of each of you.

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  • Christi says:

    Thank you so much for this article. Since October my husband has lost his job, then I found out he has been struggling with an addiction for the last 2 1/2 years l. When or daughter was born he was in a rehab facility…he still isn’t home. I never imagined I would go from a frugal homemaker to someone on food stamps living like a single mom, and wondering how we will manage to pay our bills.
    You are totally right, contentment is a choice. No matter how bad things get, there is always a huge list of things I have to be thankful for. 🙂 what a well-timed reminder!

  • Theresa says:

    Wow – I can’t even thank you enough for this post – and I can’t believe that you just posted it. The timing is uncanny, and how I stumbled accross this as I was doing a search for Kellogg’s family reward codes, of all things, is truly incredible. I feel like it must have been a divine intervention that drew me to this specific post of yours during this difficult time I’ve been having – I mean I was literrally crying about 1/2 an hour ago – praying to God to help me manage my life better, and to give me the strength to handle difficult situations and emotions that I’ve been avoiding, and to guide me in repairing relationships with important friends and family that I’ve shut-out in this past year or so of self-pity and avoidance that I’ve indulged in. Next thing I know – I”m reading this post, and you reminded me of the big picture, and that there is hope, and to not be afraid to ask for help. There is a lot to be grateful for!! I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Thank you for everything you do for us too! I am so appreciative of your encouragement in so many ways! Happy Thanksgiving to your family!!

  • Terri says:

    Me too! I appreciate you, Crystal. I find inspiration in your blog everyday.

  • Emily says:

    Thank you for posting this today.

  • M says:

    Thanks for this reminder Crystal. My husband just had this conversation with me as I sat in tears. Thankfulness is a choice and looking at our blessings gets us a lot farther than focusing on our sorrows. My husband’s family had thanksgiving without him, didn’t even invite him or me and it hurts so deeply. But he reminded me that we have to be thankful for the family we do have that choose to love and be thankful for the blessings of family. He is such a loving, gracious, giving man filled with a compassionate heart and I am truly blessed that he reminds me of what is good in my life.

  • Carol says:

    Me too Crystal. I am very thankful for you and all that you do!!! Thank you very much for your helpful series.

  • jill says:

    you are the one who blesses all of us without even realzing it.some days (you know the days i am talking about!) you say just what i need to hear when i need to hear it.but every day you help me save and provide for my family….so i am thankful for you and your blog.happy thanksgiving!

  • Kristy says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you! I have been blessed by your site, too. Some of the most helpful posts have been about your real life challenges. You encourage me to jump in and live a fully engaged life without waiting for things to be perfect!

  • debbielynne says:

    Thank you for all you have shared with me. You are a blessing to many!

  • Tanya says:

    Wow, this was a neat post to read! I just started blogging this summer, and I already feel the same as you, Crystal, that it has definitely been a catalyst for change in my life. I’ve learned a lot already from watching you and a few of my other favorite bloggers. I’ve learned things like the importance of goals, keeping to-do lists doable, reading and improving yourself, challenging yourself, and making the right things in your life priorities.

    I think after 7 years, I’ll be a different person too! I hope that I can be used of the Lord to inspire other women the way you inspire me. Thank you for allowing the Lord to use you as an example of a Proverbs 31 woman to me. 🙂

  • I’ve followed you now and then throughout that entire journey, from Biblical Womanhood to Money Saving Mom. We’ve both changed so much. God bless, Crystal.

  • Michelle says:

    I remember when I first read your series about your basement apartment and comforted myself with the fact that at least my apartment was bigger since I had to unplug my vacuum to reach everywhere.

    Then I tried a different outlet.

    For us tiny basement apartment dwellers, let me say you are an inspiration and a source of hope that there is life after these days of scraping. Thank you, Crystal.

  • Thank you so much for all your words of encouragement every day! I’m so inspired by you to make my home a better place for my family to be 🙂

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Rebecca says:

    I’ve been a reader for years; it’s one that I go to on a daily basis (sometimes several times a day). I love how real you are, just like the rest of us, and how you teach us every day. I can feel/read your compassion in every piece you publish. Thank you for all you do.

  • Leanne Heern says:

    I have been reading your blog since 2005! I think it used to be called “Biblical Womanhood”! I remember 2 posts that I loved…one was when you went black friday shopping with your family…and talked about how much you loved Goodwill instead! and the other was the awesome posts on the easiest (and cheapest) Christmas Candy in the world! (ritz crackers, brown sugar, chocolate chips….I made it right away and LOVED it)…my husband and I are working through some financial issues right now (your blog encouraged me to stop using credit all together! and next year I’m homeschooling my children!)…reading your blog has been such an inspiration to me! thank you!!
    Leanne in Lafayette, IN

  • rkessler says:

    Thanks so much for the inspirational words.
    With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday it is nice to take the time and realize what is behind the celebration, to take a pause and see that there is alot to be grateful for.

  • Laure says:

    Thank you for posting this. I burst into tears when I read it. Like Christi, I never thought I’d be struggling in all the ways I am now. Thanks for your words of wisdom.

  • Nancy says:

    Crystal, I love the variety of content on your site. Great information and encouraging posts! Thanks for sharing!

  • Cassandra says:

    This really inspired me to keep going. Our finances are very tight and I was a little discouraged because this is the first time I have not been able to shop on Black Friday. This post encouraged me to not lose hope! Thank God!

  • Ashley says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! You have such a heart for others and are so giving in so many ways! Thank you for your heart and encouragement! Praying blessing over you and your family today!

  • Susanne says:

    no, Thank You Crystal.
    If I hadn’t found your blog years ago, my family would not have been able to make ends meet. Even though I couponed at the time, you helped this SAHM help her husband
    make the most of our family budget. We still struggle, but I am able to to give so much to others who are in need. And that is a huge blessing you have given us.
    A very Happy Thanksgiving to you.

  • Lindsey says:

    Maybe I’m just nosier than others, but I would love to read, in detail, how blogging has changed you. I’ve been a reader of yours for years, and have noticed your unwritten transformation. Without going into too much detail, I’m afraid that visiting so many “conservative” blogs has pushed me to be much more legalistic than I ever thought possible and so, for me, it would be freeing to read that you aren’t the same person I first started reading all those years ago.

  • Rachel says:

    Thank you for this and thank you for all your hard work. It is much appreciated. Happy holidays!

  • MamaLearning says:

    Crystal, I’ve been a faithful reader of yours since your early days at Biblical Womanhood. Yours was one of the first blogs I ever read. At the time, I was working nights as an RN and dreaming/longing/praying to stay home with my new baby.

    3 more babies later (4 total) and a husband with a truly miraculous change of heart from the Lord, and I am a SAH, homeschooling mom. It’s truly a dream come true for me.

    I bought your Supermarket Savings ebook many years ago on a blow-out sale (thank you!) and it changed how I looked at managing my family’s finances and how I could contribute to making ends meet in a one-income household. You started me on the road to this change in thinking, and I’m forever grateful.

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