There’s a Garth Brooks song that says “some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” It took a lot of growing up for me to really understand these words of wisdom, but now I think I finally get it.
I’m thankful that I’m an only child. If I had siblings, I probably wouldn’t be nearly as close to my cousins.
I’m thankful for all the times that my daddy said no when I asked permission to do something – he saved me from a lot of danger, heartache and tears. All of those no’s meant that he loved me – that he cared.
I’m thankful that my parents divorced. If they hadn’t, I never would have known my stepmom or my stepdad and my kids would have missed out on two wonderful grandparents.
I’m thankful that I didn’t marry my high school boyfriend, because I wouldn’t have ended up with the husband and the children that I love more than anything.
I’m thankful that I had relationships with some real jerks who treated me terribly (and some crazy people who scared me) because now I know what I “missed out on.” Without those people, I would never be able to truly appreciate my husband.
I’m thankful for my crazy, frizzy, unmanageable, curly hair. It’s part of my personality and it means that I haven’t lost it due to some terrible illness.
I’m thankful that I didn’t get the promotion I desperately wanted when I was still working – if I had climbed further up the corporate ladder, I probably would never have become a stay-at-home mom.
I’m thankful that our bid wasn’t accepted on a house that we loved – in hindsight, it would’ve been a horrible mistake to buy that house. The payment would’ve been more than we could have afforded and we would have been under tremendous financial strain.
I’m thankful that we packed up and moved away from all of my family and friends – if we hadn’t, I never would have met and grown close to all of the wonderful people that have become part of my support network. I’m thankful that I cried every day for months because I was so homesick – now when I visit, I truly appreciate the loved ones that I don't get to see often enough.
I’m thankful that we lived with my in-laws for a year and a half. It was really hard not having my own house for that long, but we forged a "Walton-esque" bond that would never have been as strong otherwise.
I’m thankful that it took so long for us to find a house – it taught me patience and it taught me to trust my husband’s instincts. Eventually, we found the house that was perfect for us and in our price range.
I’m thankful for all of the times that my heart has been broken – either by someone else or because of my own foolishness. I’ve learned from my mistakes.
I’m thankful for stretch marks and leftover baby weight and memories of morning sickness – they mean that I had the blessing of growing four beautiful human beings right underneath my heart.
I’m thankful that I don’t have a new car – it means that I don’t have to worry about a car payment and that I don’t stress about one of my children spilling something on the seats.
I’m thankful for the tears that I’ve cried, the chronic back pain that I have and the injuries that I’ve suffered. They’ve shaped me into someone who is empathetic to others.
I’m thankful for being lied to and used and hurt – those times have taught me who I can trust.
I’m thankful that sometimes the power goes out and that sometimes money is tight. These things remind me that in reality, the only things that are real necessities are the people that I love.
I’m thankful for a tired body and for the circles under my eyes. They mean that I have precious peaceful moments in the middle of the night when I can hold my children in my arms.
I’m thankful for all of the broken glasses, grape-juice stained shirts, and markers on the walls. They have taught me that things are just things and they can be replaced.
No, maybe what we think is best isn’t best for us at all. Though usually it’s very hard to see at the moment you’re asking, sometimes no really is better than yes.
Thank You, God, for all of the times that You've answered my prayers with a “no.”