Growing Through Gratitude
Often, we find ourselves unknowingly, or even sometimes knowingly, thinking about how bad we have it. We allow our minds to wander to “what if” and “it could have been this way,” but rarely do we take time to be thankful for how it is. We have this beautiful life that God has provided for us and yet we can be so ungrateful about the simple, little but amazing things that we are blessed with every day. Don’t get me wrong, I tend to complain and overreact to a lot… I might not verbalize it all, but mentally I have this train of thought of ungratefulness. Over the past ten months, I have been challenged to find the joy in everything and to truly count my blessings.
In late February one of my life-long friends was in a horrific car accident and was pronounced brain dead a week later. I struggled to find the joy in life during that time. I felt numb and like I was simply “just there.” I hid my emotions and feelings, and I hated that people expected me to be a mess. I was, I just didn’t want to be. It took me a while to be thankful during this time, but I finally managed to find thankfulness for her life and the 21 years that she was given. I had to find joy in the pain and be thankful in the hurt.
Three weeks before Week 1 of LEAD, I had to move, and oh boy, did that throw me for a loop! In the midst of building binders and the flurry of LEAD prep, I had to find a place to live. As He does, the Lord provided and within a week I found a place. Then, the first week of November I had to find another place to live, and just as He did before, He provided another place for me within a week. Throughout these two moves, I realized how we take for granted a place to sleep at night and even a place to call home. I am learning that Jesus has me. Worrying can be easier than trusting Him, but in learning to trust Him, there is so much peace.
In early February I started dating and in August my boyfriend moved to North Carolina to start a new job. I struggle(d) with the timing of everything and giving Jesus full control over our relationship; but if there is one thing that I have learned, it is that giving full control to Jesus is a crucial part of a relationship. When you throw 628 miles in between, it adds a layer of needing to rely and trust in Him to provide strength and peace. I don’t like that we are so far apart from each other, but I also am a certain type of thankful for this time of growing in Jesus and being reminded to surrender every day to Him and that our strength and joy truly does come from Him.
This year has been one of growing and being uncomfortable. I have been pushed and forced to grow in my walk with the Lord. Those four moments were some of the hardest moments of my life but also some of the biggest moments of growing with Jesus, and I am so thankful for that. I am beyond thankful for the lessons that I have been learning and having to find the thankfulness in hard times. We serve a God who is faithful, loving, and unfailing; that alone should make us the most thankful people in the world.
Joslyn Nelkie first attended SSI in 2016 and fell in love with the atmosphere and the people. She developed an interest in politics and political campaigns at the age of thirteen and continues to be involved in her not-so-free free time. Joslyn enjoys spending time with family and helping out on the family farm, and is blessed with 15 siblings through the foster care system.
Disclaimer: The views presented in this blog are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the position of the Student Statesmanship Institute. SSI is a non-profit educational organization and provides this blog as a platform for those who have been involved in our program to engage and share thoughts related to current events, issues of the day, and personal experiences, but does not necessarily endorse the content therein.