Looking Back with Gratitude

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I cannot help but look back with gratitude as our eldest child completes two years of junior high. Before K12, he completed the equivalent of four years of high school.

There are no words to express my gratitude to all his teachers. They helped build up this young man. He was able to get out of his shell and discover his untapped potential. I look back at those four years with gratitude to all of you.

Thought leaders would advise not to look back, instead look towards the future. I agree with this 100 percent. But, to move forward, we must not forget the people God has placed in our lives that helped us become who we are today.

Looking back with gratitude is one way of keeping us grounded. You have matured in some way because someone patiently mentored you. Your success in career may be because your former boss challenged you or believed in you.

I do not, in any way, undermine your determination, perseverance, hard work, and talent. We all need those to grow and succeed in this life. But we would have never been so determined in life if not for some people whom we may have forgotten to say ‘thank you’.

Who are these people?

  1. The one who encouraged you. At some point in our lives, we may have felt heartbroken or disappointed. Who is this person who reached out to you and cheered you on? Her words pushed you to get up again and persevere. That episode in your life led you to step up and mature. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says,Therefore, encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”
  2. The one who prayed for you and with you. You have that default prayer friend, right? The one you text or call when there is an urgent need of prayer. Have you thanked him or her? That prayer may have comforted you the time you needed it the most. Through this person, coming to God in prayer was instilled in you. James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
  3. The one who connected you to other people. This person may have referred you to a possible employer, and you have been with that same company for years. A friend may have helped promote your business and your sales have increased because of that. How have you thanked this friend? Hebrews 13:16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
  4. The one who shared the truth to you that changed your life. I will always be grateful to the couple who shared the gospel to me and my husband. Although they no longer mentor us, we always look up to them or seek their counsel once in a while. We have remained friends up to this day. Because they took the time to share the truth about Christ to us, we are living a different life. Hebrews 13: 7 Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.
  5. The one who hurt you. Why thank the people who hurt you? They may have intentionally or unintentionally caused you pain, but you have grown because of the pain. The growth may take a while, but the process of healing has already begun. You will never know your limitations unless they hurt you. And you would not experience God in a profound way, if they did not break your heart. More so, you would never have learned how to forgive if not for these people. Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

You may admit it or not, these people have helped you become who you are today. I do not believe in ‘self-made man or woman’. It is impossible to achieve any kind of success without other people. They have supported you, prayed for you, encouraged you, and even mocked you. All these seemingly mundane experiences carved out a piece of you and made you better.

At the end of the day, we all need someone to be there for us. God has appointed a specific person to mold our character at a specific season in our life. Be aware of the people God sends your way. You may not always pay them back or return the favor, but remember to thank them when you have the opportunity.

Who are the God’s silent workers in your life? Have you thanked them for creating an impact in your life?