This year for Lent instead of physically “giving something up”, as is the tradition in many denominations of Christianity, I chose to embrace gratitude! Like most, I often tend to only focus on the frustrations and the hard things at times. In the day-to-day of living sometimes it can be difficult to focus on the good, to see beyond another day at work, to see the silver lining. It’s like for some reason our brains are programmed to focus on the bad, and it takes practice to see the good. For Lent I wrote down three good things each day that brought me joy, three every-day-average blessings, three things I am grateful for. I doodled them all in a notebook, thanked God for them, and often shared them with my best friend. In this process I was reminded over and over again that there is joy in the struggles, that Christ has overcome them all, and that truly I stand victorious so in the end everything will be okay. Sometimes we just need to open up our eyes and open up our hearts and choose gratitude. Gratitude changes everything.
Good friends. Technology. Roomies + quality time with them. Prayer. Coffee. Speaking Spanish. The Bible. Getting home alone safely after late Uruguayan nights. The gym close to our apartment. Far away friends. Cru. Close friends. Uruguayans! The Vision Trip. Caleb & Laura. Breakfast. The ocean. La Rambla. Sunsets. Encouraging blogs. St. Patrick’s Day. Meganicoletich. Sleepovers with best friends. Latin America. Dancing. My camera – capturing special moments. Living in the Southern Hemisphere – aka skipping winter this year. Encouragement. Laughter! Deep talks about life, love, and the Church. Sangria. Friendship. Hot showers. Bizcochos. Nail polish. Grey’s Anatomy. Gretchen. Being tan. The iPhone. Bernarda. Little gifts. Sharing Montevideo with people I love. Brussoni. Having a safe apartment. Cru leadership back in the States that care for us so well. My little brother. Helpful friends going out of their way to make my life easier. STINT. My parents! Dancing on rooftops in March. Smiles. Inside jokes. Sleeping in. Roomie dinners. TurboTax. Andres & Silvana. Roberto the Chef. McDonald’s. THE GOSPEL. Birthdays. Celebrations. Having parties! Truth. Grace. Love. Hope Community Church. Sunshine. New coffee shops. Exploring Montevideo. Running into friends randomly in the city. My Grandparents! Rainy days. Honesty. Pilot G2 0.38 pens. Guy friends. Worship. Bible reading plans. My Testimony. My team. The Church – messy, real, full of broken people, but beautiful. Cards. Words of affirmation. I am chosen, redeemed and loved by God. God’s power. Skype. Moving forward. Hard conversations. Vulnerability. Brownies. Homemade hummus. Trying something new. Cooking. Rides home. John Piper. People who care. Natalie June Swan. Naps. Invisible miracles. Corrective lenses. Runs on the rambla. Living 6 blocks from the ocean. Candy (especially from the USA!). Care packages. Back massages. Frosted sugar cookies. My college experience. Emma Lou, Idakins, Hales, Kay, Nats, Megs, Hols, Mary, Maria, Steph – the blessing of being wholly truly deeply loved and understood by these women. Haircuts. Il Mondo della Pizza. Brave people who fight for what they believe in, share their opinions, and try to really know Jesus. The book of Hebrews. Submarinos. Good health. The ability to read and write. Cute boys. Perfect 70 degree days. Building relationships. Ojos claros. Going to the world. Challenging sermons. Spotify. Knowing that at the end of the day He is still sovereign, still in control, and still good. Cat pants. Photos. Umbrellas. Coffee dates. Minnesota. Gopher Hockey. Tater tot hot dish. Appreciation. Fireplaces. Espacios verdes. Board games. Family dinners. Life around the table. Running water. Adventure. Sentimental times. Reflection. Road trips. Safe travels. Aux cables. Music. Starbucks Via iced coffee packets. Watching the sunrise. Sleeping. The veil is torn from top to bottom! Compliments. Waterfalls. Pausing sermons to pray. The view from San Martin Island. Iguazu Falls. Buena gente. Answered prayers. The Holy Spirit. The Resurrection! Chan the van. Jesus lives! The ability to laugh it off. The Lenten season. Thankfulness.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18