I remember one night when my boys were still really little – I was probably about 2-3 years into single parenting at this stage – I came out from putting them both to bed feeling completely exhausted, flat and over it all. So I threw myself a little pity party, telling God “I just can’t do this on my own anymore…it's too hard…I’m so tired...blah, blah, blah!” I plonked myself on the couch and put the TV on to watch something – anything! – that would help me escape my apparent miserable life.
I don’t know why (okay, it may have been the cute doctor) but while I was flicking through the channels I stopped on a documentary about Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and their work with women and children in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Oh.My.Goodness...it was horrific! The women and children were living in constant fear of being raped, kidnapped, brutalised and other unspeakable things by wicked men - their husbands and fathers having already been killed. I watched as mothers screamed and wept over their children dying from malnutrition, horrible diseases and violence. By the end I just sat there heartbroken for these women and…convicted.
An hour earlier I was feeling like I had it tough, complaining to God about my life. Now, I felt like the most blessed person on the face of the planet. Why?? Because in the short space of an hour, my perspective had completely changed! All of a sudden I saw the MANY things I’d just taken for granted, that I had to be so grateful for. My boys & I were healthy, we weren’t in any threat of danger, we lived in a really nice house, we ate good food, we drove a reliable car, we had amazing family and friends who loved us…the list went on and on.
There is always, always, ALWAYS, something to be grateful for.
Sometimes we can get so caught up with our life not being what we expected that we lose sight on all we have to be grateful for. I’m not discounting the pain we feel when we go through loss, relationship breakdowns and the rest – it is relative - but it is so important to keep perspective. Yes, my life definitely wasn’t ideal and of course there was real pain from going through divorce and facing life as a single parent but I realised, even with all my “problems”, my life would look like an absolute dream to those women. What they would give to being living my life! Talk about a little slap in the face reality check! I had so much to be thankful to God for and I realised it was time for an attitude shift.
Here’s the thing…life is never going to be perfect, there will always be trials and challenges, but it doesn’t need to be perfect to be blessed. Remember, the things we take for granted, someone else is praying for. It's always good to count our blessings, to give thanks and remember all that God has done for us. When we do this it puts everything into right perspective...and all of a sudden our problems aren’t as big anymore because we see God’s goodness as way bigger.