It’s been over four years since I started Grateful Gratitude. I knew that God was calling me to be a better, more grateful person and thought I was just in this to better myself. I had no idea He was going to use me in ways I had never imagined or thought would be conceivable for me.
I soon realized after founding Grateful Gratitude that it wasn’t God trying to grow me by practicing more gratitude but that He was drawing me into His plan to serve Him. I thought I was the least likely person to be able to minister to others. I didn’t know the Bible inside and out, and I barely knew The Gospels. How was I going to minister? I had no training. Although, I did know and understand 1 Peter 4:10.
1 Peter 4:10
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace
Yes, each has received a gift. What was my gift? What was God’s plan for me? I didn’t know. As I began navigating my new nonprofit, I saw God revealing His plan and my gift. He opened my eyes and I understood.
Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
I realized my gift was not just one special talent God gave me but it was many experiences in my life that allowed me the gift of ministry. Let me explain.
I knew there were many unpleasant things that had happened in my life. Many of these walks were before I understood God’s love for me and His intentions of using me. I sat down and made a list of all the experiences I have walked through just mainly for my own knowledge. Below is the list.
- I was the wife of a man that was an alcoholic and addicted to methamphetamine.
- I am an alcoholic and sober for 6 years.
- I am a woman who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks.
- I am the daughter of parents that have had cancer.
- I am the daughter of a father that died from pancreatic cancer.
- I am a divorced woman.
- I am a woman that had an addiction to spending money recklessly.
- I am a mother of a child with ADD, anxiety, and OCD.
- I am a woman that was obese for many years.
- I am a woman that struggled with self-esteem.
- I am a woman that strongly speaks her mind.
In the Bible Jesus said, I AM.” We have to understand who Jesus is to understand who we are. Jesus spoke the I AMs and I had to speak mine too to find my purpose and ministry.
Just as Jesus laid out each statement and explained each one I needed to do the same so I can serve God here through my life experiences. I also had to realize that even though these things are in my past they are still who I am and not a past tense of my life. No matter what walk I have been through, I am still that person, wiser but just the same it is still my identity and my ministry.
I am the ex-wife of a man that was an alcoholic and addicted to methamphetamine. This was a very dark time in my life. I lived every day in darkness and fear. What would my husband do that day? Would he be under the influence and kill someone as he drove dazed and confused from the drugs? Would he stay at another woman’s house instead of coming home to his family? Would he sit and pick at his hands because he thought worms were under his skin? I didn’t know but living through that marriage now allows me to help women experiencing the same problems.
I am an alcoholic and have been sober for 6 years. I will tell you that I never had formal treatment for my addiction to alcohol but I did make a promise to God that has kept me sober. My use of alcohol started as an occasional glass of wine with dinner or socially. As I became unhappy with my weight and appearance I turned to alcohol to allow me to forget about my displeasure. I noticed that at 4:00 pm I started pouring a glass of wine as if it was just part of my daily routine. The 10 ounces occasionally were now a 750ML bottle on most days. I overdrank one afternoon and I decided to get in my car and drive home drunk. I prayed over and over as I drove that if God got me home safely I would never drink again. I said I knew I had a problem that I need Him to help with and I would be obedient if He answered that prayer.
I am a woman who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks. My anxiety and panic attacks began after I was divorced. My marriage had failed and I was so ashamed and fearful I would lose something else in my life. The only thing I had left was my daughter. I became a “helicopter mom” which means a mom that “hovers” over their child. I was the room mother at school, the mom volunteer at dance, and I was the mom that would do anything needed that involved my daughter’s outside activities. I was so fearful something would happen to her that I wanted to always be present. This fear led to constant anxiety. Once I understood God’s love for me I was able to let my daughter be free to live her life her way. I now know God is watching over her and would protect her.
I am the daughter of a father that died from pancreatic cancer. The walk with a family member with cancer is a tough walk but pancreatic cancer is a really tough one. This type of cancer is aggressive and unpredictable. My dad got his diagnosis on a telemedicine call during the pandemic. The doctor’s first words were, “I am sorry I have to tell you this but, you have pancreatic cancer.”. It broke my heart, my dad was going to die. I cried my eyes out and then took a deep breath and realized that God had told me that I had time with my dad. I felt God in my heart urging me to enjoy each second of every day with my dad. I looked daily for something to be grateful for during this walk. I memorized my dad’s smile, enjoyed conversations with him over coffee, and at the end told him I wanted him to be welcoming me into Heaven when it was my time to go.
I could go on with my I AM explanations but the most important message I have to share is this:
Use your life and experiences to minister to others. Testify how God has brought you through each experience. Show others that you are still standing and they will be too. Encourage others to trust in God. I did and He still stands by me in every situation.
I also knew that no matter the experience or outcome it was my history. I learned to not be shamed by my trials but to show gratitude in each situation. My marriage brought my daughter. Quitting drinking improved my physical and mental health. Trusting in God brought peace to my anxiety. Understanding cancer better helps me understand how diet and exercise help reduce cancer risks.
I pray you see your ministry in your difficult times and know that God has asked you to walk with Him on this earth experiencing His purpose for your life. Each day see others and strengthen them through His love for you. My love and gratitude-LoLo
Jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.