Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Herd of Elephants

I've been thinking a lot lately about how people would describe me if I asked them.  One of my early memories is of my parents picking me up from church on a Wednesday night.  There were two of us in the class and the teacher described us as "one perfect angel and one herd of elephants".  I'll let you guess which one described me.

That always stuck with me.  I found myself described often as loud and as someone who talked a lot.  Grr...let's face it, some things never change.  But as I have gotten older I've tried to make sure what I am talking about is somewhat worth saying and hearing!

A couple of years ago one of my good friends Amber started a blog and every Monday she blogs about things she is thankful for.  I remember reading some of them and thinking that it was nice to know that she had days like me.  Sometimes she was thankful for an abundance of things, other days she was thankful that she made it through the day.  At that point in my life I made a critical decision.  I decided that no matter what my glass would always be half full.  Even if I had to be thankful for my toothbrush, at the end of the day I was going to be thankful.

This attitude of gratitude (sorry I couldn't help it!) has carried me through some rough times in the last couple of years.  I also believe it has made me a different wife, mother and friend than I would have been if I hadn't decided I was going to be a positive person.  I am now astounded at where I see blessings.  Last night as I lay in bed, alone, pregnant back hurting, awake, since my sweet little boy was up in the middle of the night crying, I thanked the Lord for my sweet in-laws who are letting me stay with them.  I thanked him that my little boy is alive and healthy and getting teeth.  I praised him for the kicks in my belly and what that signifies. 

Was I tired?  Yes!  Might I have been happier in my own bed next to my husband?  Quite possibly.  But I chose to remember the sweet things in the moment.  How the Little Guy held his arms up and said "down" because he wanted me to pick him up.  How he cuddled next to me and played with my hair until he fell asleep.  How his sweet little chest rose and fell with each little breath.  Those little lips that say "mama" and "love you" and "pease".  How could I be in that moment and not be thankful?

I don't think this is something that happens overnight.  And I do think it is a choice.  The Bible say in ALL circumstances give thanks.  I've blogged about it before and I'll blog about it again.  I don't care that it's raining, I don't care that I"m up in the middle of the night.  I don't care that I'm tired.  I'm NOT saying it is easy.  But choosing thankfulness has transformed my life.  It has turned me into someone that I enjoy being.

I've decided to be the person I want people to describe me as.  I don't want someone to describe me as bitter or a complainer.  And I definitely do not want someone to describe me as a herd of elephants!  I want to be known as someone who gives thanks.  Who makes the best of all circumstances no matter how hard.  I want people to enjoy being around me and listening to what I have to say.  I'll still have bad days and I'll still be frustrated.  And sometimes I do still complain.  But ultimately I've found so much joy in being thankful.  I just can't give it up!

And that is what I'm loving this Wednesday!



Don said...

Laura, I loved your blog and do so believe we should live to give thanks to the Lord for all He does for us. I feel very blessed this morning. Mom

Amber said...

I read this and am so convicted that I am that girl who talks too much, too loudly, and often out of the overflow of a negative heart.

Beginning my gratitude journal has def. brought me a long way, but I still forget in the midst of stressful times to look around and think about all of the ways I am blessed in the midst of stress. However, God is def. at work in my life and I believe He will continue to refine me.

AFG said...

Great post! You would love the book 1000 Gifts (Ann Voskamp). It's the "attitude of gratitude" x 1000!

Laura said...

I meant to ask for that book for Christmas! That is the one Amber read that inspired her thankfulness journal. I have a B&N I know what I'm getting!!

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