As hard as this journey has been for me and my family, it’s also been full of blessings. Sometimes I get stuck thinking only of how difficult or uncomfortable everything is, so I need to be intentional about opening my eyes to all the gifts God has given me.

For more about our journey, check out:

How Did We Get Here? part 1

Sowing in Tears

Faith is Harder Than I Thought

I’m thankful for a boy named Jack. Jack is a 14-year-old boy who befriended my 9-year-old son, Shepherd, down at the RV park pool. His family was temporarily staying at the park, so Jack made the most of it by hanging out in the pool every day. Whenever I would bring the kids down to the pool, Shepherd would immediately go to Jack, his cool teenage friend.

Jack would throw Shepherd into the air, chase him around the pool, and let him ride on his back. He would even call Shepherd out whenever he was annoying his two younger sisters. Jack was like a temporary big brother for Shepherd and I’m so thankful for him coming into our lives for even a short time.

I’m thankful for our neighbors. The Coles have been living at the RV park longer than we have, so they’re more experienced at this long-term trailer life. I applaud them as they are living with four kids, three of which are teenagers! Their youngest has been a great friend to my kids. I’m thankful they have someone their age right next door. I’m also thankful for friends who can empathize with the hardships of this lifestyle.

I’m thankful for the older couple who live close by. They frequently bring by bags of leftover food—noodles, canned goods, cereal, etc. They let Josh borrow their tools. I’m thankful to have neighbors who are so generous.

I’m thankful for Vincent and Mackenzie up the hill. They are also my kids’ ages and they’ve been living here long-term. Although they can be pretty wild and crazy, my kids have a lot of fun with them.

I’m thankful for all the people we’ve met down by the pool. Most people are just driving through and staying at the park for the night, so we’ve met countless people. It’s amazing, though, what you learn about people just from one or two conversations. And if you’re open to listening, you’ll realize that everyone has something to offer, even if it’s just a different perspective.

A month ago, I met a lady who is also a blogger. She was happy to share with me all kinds of helpful information. Because of her, I found out about an app that has increase the traffic to my blog!

It’s really easy to start focusing on all the negative in life. And sometimes we’re so consumed with what we’re not receiving that we don’t notice the good all around us.

For example, if we have a deep unmet need to be heard and understood, we’ll view people as mere objects who should meet this need. If someone listens to us, we’re satisfied for the moment, but never truly grateful. If someone fails to meet this need, we become angry and reject that person.

On the other hand, when we understand that God is the true Provider of all our needs, we are free to come to people with open hearts. God fills us up so that we can come to relationships without expectation. And when we’re free from expectation, we are able to give and receive openly.

Gratitude arises when we stop expecting–when we can receive a gift with the understanding that no one owes us anything. Everyone is free to decide whether they want to give, to whom they wish to give, and what they want to give. So, when we understand the freedom of others, it causes us to be thankful, knowing that person didn’t have to give, but chose to do so anyway.

Is an unmet need consuming your heart, making it difficult to see the good around you? Look around right now. Who or what can you be thankful for today?

 

For more on the deeper needs of our hearts, I recommend “7 Desires of Every Heart” by Mark and Debra Laaser.

 

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