The secret to peace

One of my favorite scripture verses:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds.”

There are many things I love about this verse—but mostly, it’s the secret to peace. And two little words in the middle of it stand out to me this Thanksgiving month—and every month—as a big part of the equation: with thanksgiving.

This is where my feelings on gratitude have grown over the years.

In the past, I may have found myself just being grateful on a basic level for all the good things I have that others may not. But as deeper levels of life have matured this heart of mine, I have found that gratitude is not just about that.

It’s about being thankful in all things—even in struggles. Realizing that it is often these struggles that become our greatest blessings. Realizing that each of us has a unique, special plan for our lives that is very individual to us. And that with prayer and gratitude in all things, we can always live a life of peace.

And perhaps mostly, it is the little “inconveniences” that I all too often take for granted: the piles of laundry that are full of the little clothes of the little people who fill my heart. The dirty dishes left unsoaked in the sink, covered with cheese dried like glue, from an amazing husband who is busy providing for our family.  These are but by-products of great blessings—they are beams of light pointing to incredible gifts.

Sometimes I look back on the first days with my first-born. I was more than thankful—I was in awe. Is he really mine? I would think, cradling him in my arms. What a miracle.

I had the same feelings of awe when dating my husband. How did I get so lucky? I wondered, staring into his deep baby blues.

Yet as time goes on, and newness fades to normalcy, we all too often lose our wonder in the world. So I remind myself this month and every month: What a great life. What a great gift.

In the big and the small, the easy and the hard: I am thankful.

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.”

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