NOV. 18, 2017



A messy and cramped house, a toddler who throws tantrums, doesn’t want to eat and takes so much effort to put to sleep, limited time with a busy husband – life throws so many things at a mother like me causing my mind to overthink and my heart to be restless.

When my daughter who just turned two started to exhibit stubbornness

and disobedience, my patience gets tested and my heart pounds with anger. There are times I just want to throw in the towel; there are moments I just want to ignore her outbursts and be indifferent to her cries. Sometimes, I see myself crying over frustration and discouragement. 

Until I heard of a very heartbreaking news from a friend, my heart changed even if my situation did not.  He lost his three-year old nephew to high fever. He was a healthy and adorable boy and in just an instant, he was gone. It made me ponder and evaluate my heart towards my daughter. I have focused too much on the discomforts and inconveniences that motherhood can bring that I have neglected to do what every mother is called to do, to enjoy every precious moment and to simply love on her child.

I began to have a thankful heart. Every waking moment, I would praise God for the gift of life, for the air that I breathe, for shelter that keeps me warm from the winter cold, and for food on our table. I would thank Him for every relationship, for friends, for family, for the privilege of being a wife and a mom. I would acknowledge His goodness for giving us perfect health, for providing our every need, for blessing us with every good gift, great and simple.

My attitude started to change. I began to enjoy moments with my daughter and love everything about her -- her giggles and cries, her strong will, her funny antics, even her stubbornness. I also began to be easy on myself for having a messy house and have deeper understanding of my husband’s job responsibilities.

I’d rather have a messy house, noisy toddler, and crazy family than an empty, quiet and cold one. 

This is the essence of Thanksgiving – choosing to look beyond tough situations and appreciate the blessings, the valuable lessons and good outcomes from life’s tragedies and heartbreaks.

And there are many people out there who chose and continue to choose to have hearts of gratitude.

“ I recently lost my dad. He was 87. I wasn’t by his side when he took his last breath and I couldn’t even be in his funeral because I’m overseas and couldn’t leave. I am grieving but I am grateful for the life of my father. He lived a full life. Before he died, I had the chance to tell him how much I love him and how grateful I am to be his son. It was precious. It was worth praising God for,” says Glenn Cruz, 45, who works in South Korea as a factory worker.

Francis Ludovice, 29, who is in the U.S. to support his family in the Philippines shares this, “I have spent fatherhood away from my children. They are growing without their father by their side just so they can have a comfortable life. I wish I didn’t have to be away from my two kids. I hope I can guide them and be there for them. Many times, I’m heartbroken. But I am grateful for the privilege to provide for them and give them a good life. Every time we see each other online and they still recognize me and call me daddy, it melts my heart and inspires me to work harder so I can be with them as soon as possible.  Life is hard, but I am still blessed.”

Indeed, life is tough but we are tougher. We are overcomers.

“I am old, single and unemployed. I have no husband to spend my life with and no children to enjoy. But I am not complaining. I have learned to embrace the life I have been given. It’s still a blessed life. God has blessed me with generous nieces and nephews, and grandchildren who love me, and He even blessed me with a dozen dogs who I consider my children. Life is good!” exclaims Virginia Fernandez, 69, who is in Australia to take care of her granddaughter.

Life gives us so many reasons to complain, be furious, frustrated, angry and disappointed – dissatisfied towards our leaders, climate change, heinous crimes that proliferate, terrorism, division, separation among family members because of poverty, and so much more. It’s okay to feel these emotions. We have to be mad towards these things. But let us not cause bitterness and anger cloud our hearts and minds. Instead, let gratitude reign in our hearts.

Because you see, goodness and righteousness still exist.  Hope still endures.  Love still prevails.

The thought that you are still breathing…is worth every ounce of thankfulness.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “I think that is a better thing than thanksgiving: thanks-living. How is this to be done? By a general cheerfulness of manner, by an obedience to the command of Him by whose mercy we live, by perpetual, constant delighting of ourselves in the Lord, and by a submission of our desires to His will.”

Happy Thanksgiving…or better yet, Happy Thanks-living!

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