I spent a few years being ungrateful. Ungrateful about life, my circumstances. About my health, my unluckiness to not have something good happen to me. I was ungrateful about what I did have –  an amazing husband, a stable job, a roof over my head. About a car that ran without issues, a family that held on through so much uncertainty, a new chance every day to be better.

As the Thanksgiving holiday draws nigh my heart  has been in constant remembrance of how I am His and because of that my heart has learned to look at life and be grateful. I know, sometimes it’s easier said than done. There are things in my life that I can point at and say, “Lord, if You are so merficul, if You are so loving, why this?” In fact, I’ve said that on many of occassions in my past. Questioning why bad things happen to good people. Why  bad things happened to me.

These last few days I’ve thought about how much life has changed for myself and my husband. Yes, we’ve had some bumps in the road. We’ve had unfortunate things happen. But, we’ve also focused on all the good that (cliché or not) far outweighs the bad. Like, another day to be better versions of ourselves and to change the world. Another day to do what we love with those that we love. Another day to thank God for steady jobs, a blessed household, never being without anything. Good things like having friends we can connect with in prayer. A church that accepts odd people like me. And love. Always love.

These last few days I’ve been almost moved to tears knowing just how merciful God has been in our lives. How blessed we are. And how my heart is full of gratitude for the life I came out of and the life I have now. Then I realized the difference between my past and my present: my past is filled with darkness and depression; my present is filled with light and hope.

Why have I chosen to have a grateful heart – not just for this Thanksgiving holiday but through the year? Because of light and hope. Gratitude is such a powerful force. I found myself being thankful for the autumn trees, the fog over the river, the rain that rid us of the heat that covered the PNW. I trained my mind to be grateful for the littlest of things which changed the outlook of my life for the better. Which allowed light and hope back into my life.

I want the same thing for you. I want to reach out to those who suffer like I did with depression and anxiety and hopelessness. I believed 110% that I couldn’t get out of the darkness – even if that is all I wanted for myself. When I began to be thankful about the smallest things I soon began to realize it was the key to let the light in. It was the knife that punctured the darkness. Being thankful showed me how to live in the present. It changed my moods and thinking. It changed everything. When I began to focus on the blessings that God has given me my life moved. I wish and pray that for you today.

I choose to be grateful every day because even when things are going bad I know I’ve been given mercy to live another day of laughter, love and grace. I’ve been given another day to watch the sun rise, hear the rain play music on my roof. Another day to look depression in the eye and say, “By the grace of God you don’t control me. I choose light and hope today.” And that thought alone humbles my heart and gives me all the strength I need to conquer the bad. To conquer the depression. To conquer the darkness.

Friend, wherever you are, know that it is possible for you, too. You only need to take that first step. Be thankful for one thing. I am thankful for you, the warrior who fights to stay above the water. But, I want you to know, there is an easier way to stay afloat. What are you thankful for today? xoxo