Here on No Beauty Queen we talk a lot about grit and grace.
Grit is deep inside all of us. It refuses to quit even as life beats, berates, and breaks us down to shriveling balls of tears. It chooses to believe in hope, even when it feels none.
Grace is outside of us, freely given when we need it most. Sometimes it takes the form of a loving act from someone else. Other times it’s a renewed strength we can’t explain.
I think grit is at its strongest when it finds a way to be thankful amongst deep rooted feelings of anger, pain, and grief. Grace is at its most beautiful when it remembers to be thankful in a sea of overwhelming blessings.
This Thanksgiving season, I’ve been sad. Worried. Angry. Scared. And yes, even a bit bitter.
But those feelings don’t get to win.
So allow me to do an exercise in thankfulness. With each blessing I choose to acknowledge, I replace sadness with joy. Worry with calm. Anger with laughter. Fear with courage. And bitterness with forgiveness.
1. I’m thankful I can call my mother crying when I found out I wasn’t actually pregnant. I was just three weeks late.
2. I’m thankful my husband loves me. So much falls underneath this one statement, but for now, I’m just thankful for his committed and enduring love.
3. I’m thankful we can pay our bills. There was a time not too long ago when I couldn’t say this. As I approach my third year without a paycheck - and I hate it - I stop and think how amazing it is, that I can do rewrites and try again, instead of being forced to take a job I’ll despise.
4. I’m thankful San Diego feels like home. It’s hard to be from “somewhere else”. You can feel so out of place. So alone. Even so, I’ve found people and places here that remind me I don’t belong anywhere else.
5. I’m thankful for my church. I’m thankful my church believes in equality for women. Who’s pastors love the Lord, follow the Bible, and believe when Paul listed those spiritual gifts, women weren’t removed from them. Yup. I get to teach my middle school girls they can follow whatever calling the Lord gives them. Even if it’s a calling to pastor. They aren’t forced into marrying into ministry to matter in our church. They can do it on their own.
6. I’m thankful for my family. Even though we are each so hurt by those who came before us we often shred the few still standing, I’m thankful we won’t call it quits. As the great Stitch said, “This is my family, I found it all on my own. It is little and broken, but still good...yeah, still good.”
If you have moments of grace amongst your hardships this Thanksgiving, I would love for you to share them. Perhaps you’ll be the grace for someone who needs it.
Here's the scene from Disney's Lilo and Stitch. Makes me cry every time.