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The letter “G” gives us many opportunities to live within gratitude. So let’s start there.
As we walk forward in this journey of Starting Over Single, it helps to keep a gratitude journal. Although our lives are different now – more difficult in many ways – we can still focus on having a grateful heart.
Gratitude will help us stay away from those depressing moments of fear, discouragement and heartache.
We can always, always find something to be grateful for, so keeping a gratitude journal is essential.
And it’s really easy. Each day, list at least one thing or one person for which you are grateful. Certainly, your children make the list. Our kids are often the only reason we climb out of bed.
Other gratitudes might include:
- A pet that gives you unconditional love
- Your job – even if you don’t like it that much. It helps to pay the bills and keeps a roof over your head
- Friends, relatives, your church
- The butterfly that just soared past your window
- The hot water you shower in each night
- The appliances that keep working
- The car that gets you to your job
Focus on being grateful about something each day, and you’ll find discouragement crawling farther away from your soul.
Joyce Meyer says, “We live life forward, but we understand it backward.”
As we begin to move forward, we better understand some of the levels we’ve achieved and some of the steps we’ve taken.
We can begin to see more growth even within the struggles. Maybe we don’t grow angry quite so easily. Maybe we’ve learned more about the forgiveness process. Or maybe we feel more self-confident than we did a year ago.
We’re growing into this new normal, and in many ways – it feels good.
We may even find ourselves rediscovering our identity. We’ve been abused and squelched for many years, but now we’re growing out of that pit and becoming stronger.
So growth is another item to list in our gratitude journals.
Even as we grow, we recognize areas where we’d like to see more growth. These areas then become new goals.
Maybe we’ve already reached several of our goals:
- To survive the first holiday after divorce / the first anniversary
- To find a safe place for ourselves and our children
- To earn a promotion at work or find a better job
- To move past grumbling every day and into a more grateful existence
- To begin the process of forgiveness
All these goals become positive endeavors for achievement, and as we reach them – we can look back again and see more growth.
This is the advantage of working with a coach. We can more easily grasp what those goals need to be and how we can put together a plan to reach them. If you’d like to talk about coaching, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another important goal is wrapped around the next “G” word.
This concept is perhaps one of the most difficult to understand, because we are so conditioned to do something in order to see the end result.
We feel we have to produce all the time or we aren’t acceptable to God or to others. But grace provides freedom and a clearing of all that perfectionism sludge.
Grace is a gift – given freely from the heart, even when we haven’t earned it – ESPECIALLY when we haven’t earned it.
We give grace to ourselves when we realize we don’t have to please everybody else. We can just BE our authentic selves and learn to love us.
We give grace to the “wasband” when we stop blaming him for everything that went wrong in the marriage.
We accept grace when others forgive us – even when we royally screw up.
We accept God’s grace when we believe he loves us unconditionally, and we don’t have to be a certain way or do certain things to earn that love.
Grace is a free gift, offered simply because none of us is perfect nor will we ever be.
Grace accepts who we are just as we are and expects nothing more.
Years ago, I wrote an article and described grace this way:
- If you steal my bicycle and the judge sentences you to jail – that is justice.
- If you steal my bicycle and I ask the judge not to sentence you – that is mercy.
- If you steal my bicycle and I let you keep it – that is kindness.
- If you steal my bicycle and I buy you a new one – that is grace.
Perhaps it should be a goal for each of us to show more gratitude, to work on our goals and to attempt more grace. Then we can look back and see how much we’ve grown.
©2016 Starting Over Single