As a gratitude coach, I constantly look at ways of explaining gratitude and how to use it. I feel if I can find simple analogies that maybe it will help others understand gratitude and how it can change their lives. I was reflecting this morning about how many times a day I use a cushion for comfort and support just as I do gratitude.
Let me explain. Years ago when working in a veterinary surgical center I had a very unruly and large German Shephard that threw me around as I tried to hold it for a blood draw. This dog was about 85-90 pounds and I was only 138 pounds at the time. It thrashed and pulled away as we attempted to do a blood draw for a heartworm test. Needless to say by the end of the process my back was throbbing in pain. It took me about 10 minutes to be able to attempt to stand upright. Since this time I have always had back soreness and tenderness.
Daily as I sit on my sofa or at my desk I require a lumbar cushion to support my back. The cushion offers a soft surface for my tender back to lean against. It fills and supports my lower back which was injured 24 years ago. Without this cushion, my back feels shooting pains off and on as I sit. I require the cushion to get me through the day.
Just like the cushion to comfort my back, I rely on gratitude to comfort my life. Gratitude is a cushion for anxiety, worry, or despair. As the cushion comforts an ailment I have lived with for more than half my life, gratitude comforts me for my daily heart and mind ailments.
I lean into gratitude when I hear sad news involving my friends or the struggles of a victim I am working with in my ministry. I know Jesus told us we will have trials in our lives but that He has overcome the world. We are safe in His arms. I approach those I minister to with this comfort. Gratitude, like a cushion, supports me in my weakness. Where my back is weak it fills the gap allowing comfort. Gratitude fills our weaknesses when we find the good in every situation.
John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world”
When my grandbaby, Mila was diagnosed intrauterine with gastroschisis I was initially fearful and shocked. You are supposed to get pregnant, percolate for nine months, and be joyous when you deliver the baby. This pregnancy wasn’t going to happen this way. How was I going to cushion this situation and find gratitude? First, I remember what God taught me in the Bible. In all circumstances be thankful and with prayer and supplication for this is the will of God.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I asked my daughter and son-in-law who were on the phone delivering the news, “Can I pray for you?” Immediately my daughter responded, “Yes.”. I began a prayer asking our Gracious and loving God to bring us together in this walk. Our sweet growing baby was in need of miraculous healing. We need Him to protect our baby and her little developing intestines. Allow our family to be confident in Your goodness and to never lose trust in You. Let us feel your love for us daily in comfort and may we be grateful for this blessing you are sending us no matter the walk. In Jesus’ name, I offered the prayer.
I then prepared small green (the awareness color of gastroschisis) gratitude hearts with Mila’s name on them to share with our prayer warriors. We asked friends and family to take a heart and pray for Mila’s development and delivery. We shared over 50 Mila hearts. My daughter’s fetal medicine team took hearts which allowed me to see God’s love in them.
With every doctor’s appointment and ultrasound examination, I prayed for the best outcome and for our sweet baby to be protected and not arrive too early. On December 3rd, our baby girl was born by emergency C-section. There was a team of fetal medicine doctors, a surgeon, and staff called together to deliver this high-risk pregnancy. My husband and I rushed to the hospital to be with Lexie and Ty. My husband stayed in the lobby because this was during Covid and only 1 immediate family member could be in the maternity ward.
As I saw my beautiful daughter preparing for labor I prayed in my heart. “God, I am prepared for whatever walk this night brings. I know You have planned this walk for me. I trust and love You and will be grateful and obedient in any outcome. I know You will guide this delivery and immediate surgery of my sweet Mila. You know what is best for all of us and I am in peace because You are with me and in me. In Jesus’ name, I pray for my family. Amen.”.
They rolled Lexie away with Ty following behind. It wasn’t long and a NICU nurse came to tell me Mila had arrived and Lexie was doing well. She took me to a hallway where they would be transporting Mila to the NICU and I could catch a quick glimpse of her. It seemed like an eternity waiting in that back hallway. It was awkward trying to make conversation when all I wanted to do was see my granddaughter and Lexie. I am one of those people that needs to see my family members to understand they are okay. I looked down the double doors that stood before me and saw the team coming toward me. In an incubator was my beautiful, tiny Mila. My heart was at peace, my eyes filled with tears, and gratitude washed over me.
There was our little baby that was at high risk for many months before me. Her surgery was a success, my daughter doing well in recovery, and God is by my side. Gratitude cushioned me through a very uncertain situation and walk. I allowed myself to see gratitude in this walk that cushioned my day-to-day uncertainty.
This is a recent picture of Mila. Her intestines are healthy, she loves all foods, we have not seen any complications from gastroschisis and we are grateful for God’s goodness.
If you are having difficulty today, find your cushion of gratitude. Be thankful for something in your situation. God is with you and where gratitude lives anxiety cannot. We can always find gratitude when we look. May God bless You today. My love and gratitude-LoLo