For my last birthday, my husband gave me a beautiful journal and inside he wrote five things for which he was thankful and then gave me instructions to write five things I’m thankful for everyday. It quickly became one of my favorite parts of the day. Usually journals I write in get partially filled and then tossed aside, but this journal is special and holds such a long-lasting purpose that I am determined to write in it daily. Since I have been writing in the journal, I have found that my outlook on life is brighter. There is always something for which to be thankful, big and small. I’ve been thankful for everything from Jesus’ death and resurrection to turkey pepperonis. The point is simple: if you spend your time thinking of the blessings in your life, it leaves little time for dwelling on the hindrances. Plus, you cannot help but feel blessed when you realize all that you have and it makes you have less of a desire to talk about the negative parts of your life.
This journal concept was first thought of, at least in our family, by my husband’s late mother, Sabine Viets. She became a mentor to a young teenage girl shortly before her passing in the year 2000. She gave the girl a journal and told her to daily write five things for which she was thankful. Most teenage girls may start a project like that, but few I know fill it to completion.
Eric was on the West Coast for a business trip not too long ago, and he met up with the girl, now grown with a husband and daughter. She told him how instrumental that journal was in her life. After Eric’s mother passed away, the now-woman told Eric she endured many difficult trials, but said that journal helped her get through many difficult times by reminding her of all she had for which to be thankful.
While I did not start my marriage journaling about my thankfulness, I wish that I had! Even though I don’t care to admit it, since we’ve been married, I have more often than not drifted to the negative side of things. I’ve wondered aloud why we don’t make more money… why we don’t have a better car… why we can’t live closer to family… why people everywhere are having kids but me… why I’m stuck in a job that stresses me out and leaves me feeling completely drained. During those bouts of negativism, I brought my husband down with me. He would try hard to keep his chin up about our life’s circumstances through the harder times, but I could often be counted on to show up with a rain cloud. The Lord has dealt with me regarding my negative attitude and I think this journal is a key way to remind me of His daily blessings.
I once heard a story of a woman who was in the depths of despair. She locked herself in the closet and told her husband she was going to take her life. He quickly called their pastor and he came over. Desperately seeking God’s wisdom, he began to talk to her about counting her blessings. She agreed that if she could come up with 100 things for which she was thankful, she would not take her life. With his coaching, she easily made it to the 100 mark and she emerged from the closet smiling and crying because she remembered all of the things in her life that made it worth living. Marriage can be a difficult journey at times. A thankfulness journal such as this may be a great way to keep negativism out of your marriage. I strongly encourage you to start the habit now of a thankfulness journal, your future spouse will be grateful for your brighter disposition! Also, perhaps each of you could purchase a journal for each other as a gift to be given on your wedding night to document God’s blessings in your new life together – just a thought!
What are the blessings God has given you for which you are thankful?