By Jessica Russell
To be grateful is one of the most difficult things to do when you are not in the right place in your life to give thanks. When you can be pessimistic and always look for what’s wrong in your life instead of looking for all the small blessings that God has given you. They can seem small, but if one of them weren't there on any given day they can make a huge difference in our lives. For example, how many times have we woken up and opened our eyes and just breathed? How many times have we told God thank you for the breath in my lungs? Can you imagine if that breath wasn’t there?
God has blessed me tremendously, he has healed me from my PCOS and given me a son after 16 years of praying for him. I am now at home taking care of him which means I am no longer working my full-time job. We have become a one-income household, which can be really challenging in Hawaii.
Our lives have been changed and we may not have everything we want but we have everything we need. God has found a way to provide for our every need. When I start to lose focus and start to worry about our finances, God reminds me that he will take care of everything. He reminds me of the smallest things like a rainbow which means that he keeps his promises. When that Rainbow first appeared to Noah they were so grateful after waiting so long for a dry day and for somewhere to land where they were able to get off that boat. Can you imagine how they must have felt after so many days on a boat with nonstop rain? During the COVID lockdown, it was so difficult to remain positive and connected to God when the churches were closed and we couldn’t see anyone because we had to stay home. The rate of divorce and suicide went up during this time. It was really challenging, but somehow through all the rain, God continued to show himself through his rainbows.
During this time God guided me to start a small group on Zoom with all my cousins and to create a friend group on messenger where we supported each other through it all. I would watch Father Mike Schmitz on Youtube for mass and pray before my workouts. I started going daily to the Aiea Loop trail to feel close to God. There is a peak where all you see is God’s beautiful creation and feel his breath in the wind so strongly I can’t help but feel close to him there. All these beautiful blessings helped me not only survive but thrive. I lost 67 pounds.
One day I decided to choose God. I choose joy. I chose to trust him and I did. I wasn’t going to let sadness win and when I felt weak I prayed harder. I reached out to my beautiful support group and God shined through every dark cloud.
To be grateful is very important to me. I can’t stop feeling grateful for everything he has given me; my health, my son, my husband, and my beautiful doggy that is still miraculously alive after 15 years. The way that Jacob looks up at me.The way that just by seeing me I can make him smile. How I hold him and he stops crying or being scared. I have learned so much about God’s love, I can’t stop thanking him. The fact that I can hold a beautiful miracle in my arms every day is more than enough for me. I look at my son's beautiful eyes as he looks at me so lovingly. I feel so grateful to have him. I try to enjoy every second I have with him and not let stress or worry a.k.a the Devil steal my joy. I love our Lord and I trust him with everything in my life but knowing Jacob has shown me a new understanding of love.
To love God is to be grateful no matter what you’re going through. There is always a blessing to give thanks for. There is always God behind the scenes blessing you, protecting you, and loving you. Just because you are his beautiful miracle, his beautiful baby that he can't help to just hold and look into your eyes and hold you when you cry or are scared. Let him love you like a baby in his parent's arms. Let yourselves be loved by him. Let our beautiful Mother embrace you and cuddle you when you need her. Let his love shine through every circumstance. Let him love you. I pray that this Thanksgiving you find more blessings than you can count to be thankful for.