Gratitude Beyond Adversity

by

On November 28, Thursday, my family and friends in the US will be celebrating Thanksgiving.

I did a little research (Google) and traced the history of this American holiday. Like any kid in the states, they were taught that Thanksgiving was started by the pilgrims during the 1600s. It’s all about being grateful for their bountiful harvest.  Then, in the 1700s US President Abraham Linclolin officially declared the last Thursday of November as National Thanksgiving day.

The pilgrims had thankful hearts because of the abundance they had experienced. Isn’t it easy to be grateful when everything is going well? When we’re heaping blessings upon blessings? But what if the year was bleak, would we still be positive and be thankful?

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The Philippines has had enough controversy, intrigue, calamity and destruction that any country could experience in the recent months. But in spite of all the hardships, tears and doubt, Filipinos are a resilient breed. We can and will always rise up and walk again. Of all the negativity that overshadowed mother land, there is one thing that I am grateful for and that is the hope that each individual has in his/her heart. No matter what the challenge may be, we remain positive, hopeful and clinging on to our God who is the source of all hope.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:5

On a personal note, our family has had our share of failures and disappointments too. It’s senseless to go on more logical to complain and whine. But who am I kidding? Where will my whining and wallowing in self-pity take me? Nowhere!Instead of being miserable and resentful, I’d rather remember the goodness of God and be thankful for the disappointments.

What am I thankful for this year?

1.  My family lost our “independence” because we have to move back in my father’s house. The decision was made because we are clearing up our debt. Our irresponsible spending habits had its toll on our family and now we have to deal with the consequences and go through this painful yet humbling phase. What’s so great about this? We learned from our mistakes. We are now learning how to be good stewards of God’s blessings. All that we have is from the Lord and we are only the managers not the owners.

2. My husband was not able to land his “dream job”. His heart was set on a career in the automotive industry. But God took him out of that field and put him in a totally different world which is in education. He was and still is a great teacher. Kids flock to him all the time 🙂  But he was passionate about cars.

Last year, there was an opportunity for him to be part of a leading car company. He went though the process until it reached a dead end. He was heartbroken. His dream again shattered. Is there something to be grateful for this seemingly missed opportunity? Yes there is. In a way, we saw God’s protection over him. Maybe the culture in the car industry would not be beneficial to him. God has better plans for him and would use him mightily as a teacher.  Indeed, God has been using him 🙂

3. The longer I homeschool, the more challenges I face. I thought otherwise. One pioneer homeschooling mom shared with me that the challenges never cease because our kids are growing, maturing day by day. They too go through seasons in their life. Now that Coby is pre-adolescent, we face a different stage compared to when he was younger. Jianne, who is now 7, has a tendency to play more rather than study. She is still in that playful stage but she needs more focus and attention in schoolwork now.

What is there to be thankful for in this journey? I am grateful to have other homeschooling families to walk alongside me especially when times are difficult. I realized that I cannot homeschool alone neither can other homeschooling families. We need others. Now, I put value now on support groups, which I lacked during our first years. The kids need to be in their own small community of homeschoolers where they can develop long-lasting friendships.

There are too many unmet expectations, disappointments and heartaches that have allowed me to look beyond and still be appreciative of my life. These may look hopeless on the outside but God sees the bigger picture. They’re meant to prune us, chasten us and later transform us.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

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How about you? What are the adversities or challenges you faced this year that moved your heart to be grateful? Let’s share, shall we?