Thanksgiving is in 3 days, and most people spend time with their families and have many things they can say they are thankful for. Most common is “family”, “a home”, “friends” and things along those lines. While I am very thankful for these things too, and there is absolutely reason to be thankful you have them, I think we can be a bit more honest than that this time of year. Think a bit deeper.
We prison wives and families have a lot of hard things in life. We have traumatized kids, our own trauma, worry about our loved one, financial struggles, near constant stress….
I’ll bet you are thinking…”And someone wants me to be thankful for these things? Is she crazy? She has no idea what I’m going through!” I used to think that way too. I discovered, however, that that is victim thinking and I refuse to live as a victim forever. So, how can we change this thinking and be thankful even for these hard things?
“Count it all Joy, my brothers (and sisters) when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4 ESV)
Trials!? Joy?! those don’t go together do they?
Let me tell you, from experience, they absolutely do! The last verse tells you how… as your faith grows and you remain steadfast in it you are able to see the beautiful fruit that comes from going through that trial. Remaining faithful to my husband, not only sexually, but emotionally and relationally, was part of what helped him to see what he would be giving up if he chose to continue on his destructive path. It also built up my faith in God to fulfill his promise to us and showed me how strong my faith was and my ability to stand strong. I became a much better wife, mom and friend. I was shown my weaknesses and failures too, and was able to find help where I needed it to correct those things and become even stronger and better. My kids have learned about forgiveness and unconditional love through watching me. My husband had a solid place and strong capable wife to come home to. He knows unconditional love because I was given it by God and my parents, and can give it out in return. He is building his ability to trust because God is guiding us and giving us what we need to continue to learn and grow.
So, yes, I am thankful for all those hard times. We wouldn’t be who we are today without them. I wouldn’t be here to write this blog, I wouldn’t have a clue how to help other women and families in this situation. I love to see a woman get through a emotional, hard conversation with her husband and be ok, know that she is enough whether her husband is able to acknowledge that yet or not. I love hearing stories of how a mom understands her child better and is able to comfort them because she could call me and talk it out. I’m not a therapist or licensed councilor, but I have plenty of experience with these hard times and am here to be a listening ear. I will give what advice I have when wanted, I will refer you to someone qualified when its beyond my scope. I will, above all, pray for you and your family specifically and let you know you are not alone!
So now, tell me some of your hard things and why you can be thankful for them!