My husband says that I see life as a series of butterflies and rainbows. I think this has been largely true…until about five months ago. When we adopted our sweet boy, I was introduced to a world that is not butterflies and rainbows. In fact, sometimes it feels more like a world of gray. And honestly, it’s been a struggle for me to help our little guy navigate the emotions of this world he comes from. Coming from the mindset of complete positivity and crashing into the realm of total despair is obviously going to cause some damage. I’ve shared before that the first month of our adoption brought my first (and hopefully last) taste of depression. But even after the severe depression lifted, I’ve still felt down. Dealing with the swinging pendulum of emotion that is the adoption process is not easy, and I’ve felt the weight of it, as I am a person who carries others’ emotions as my own. It’s just something I do.
Anyway, all that to say that in the last couple of months, I have found a practice that has been incredibly beneficial to me. I call it a Blessing Journal. I got the idea from Money Saving Mom (she actually sells a great gratitude journal), and then I tweaked it a little to fit my needs. Every morning, during my quiet time on the porch, I write three things I’m thankful for. Sometimes it’s super simple like “My house” and sometimes it’s much more specific. But each day, I look for things to be thankful for. Then, I take it another step, and I just write out everything that I’ve been worried about or upset about in list form. Finally, I write out a little prayer thanking God and giving Him all my troubles. It has truly been a blessing to my heart to do this practice in thanksgiving. While it hasn’t by any stretch been a miracle cure, it is certainly the “chicken soup” that my tired emotional self has needed to remember that 1.) I have much to be thankful for, and 2.) I don’t hold the world on my shoulders-God does.
As I began seeing the fruit of the blessing journal in my life, I began to realize that if it helped me to process some of my emotions, it ought to also help my kids process their emotions throughout the major changes in our family, and even later on-as change is just part of life. So, I began integrating it into our Bible time each morning. They grab their little Blessing Journals (50 cent composition books from Wal-Mart) and sit in their little spot in the living room and they write and draw to their hearts content. It’s so funny to see their personalities coming out. James writes his in sentences, followed by a labeled picture. Isaac likes to write out his prayers (he writes beautiful prayers, but struggles to say them….light bulb moment for this mama!), and I spend that time helping Hannah and Lydia write and label their daily entry. It is such a cozy time of the day. After, anyone who wants to share is able, and we all get to smile when we hear that someone thinks of us as a blessing. It’s been so healing to us.
I sometimes wonder if I will ever see life as a series of butterflies and rainbows again. It seems as though my world is forever just a little bit darker. But, I don’t think that’s all bad, either. With that, has come a level of empathy and understanding that I didn’t have before, and that’s something that I think I’ll add to my Blessing Journal tomorrow.
Do you keep a blessing journal? How do you practice thanksgiving?