Whether or not, you are a single mom, gratitude is the core of living a happy life. Sometimes though, it can seem hard to find something to be grateful for. Parenting alone is hard, court systems are unjust, and life is unfair.
It is very easy to dwell on the negative, but God, who knows everything about us knows this. In His infinite wisdom, He designed human beings to handle one emotion at a time. We may cycle back-and-forth quickly between conflicting feelings, but that is a rapid cycle back-and-forth rather than multiple emotions happening simultaneously.
Think of it this way, a computer may have multiple tabs open. It may seem as though the computer is handling several tasks at the same time, but in reality the computer it reads only one line of code before moving onto the next. Our hearts and minds function similarly, which is better for us than it is for computers.
This single focus means we have more control over our emotions than we assume. It means that by focusing on the good, we cannot also focus on the bad. By choosing gratitude in single parenting, we cannot simultaneously choose victimhood in single parenting.
Single Mom, Choose Gratitude
Even knowing all the problems single moms face in the United States, we can choose to be grateful, knowing we live better than most worldwide. There is much to be grateful for that comes simply from living in the United States and from being served and protected by men and women willing to give up so much for the land and the people they love.
While our rights come from God alone, it is the American military that has staunchly protected and defended those God-given rights. It is our veterans who have given us opportunities that are not be available to people like us in other parts of the world. It is the men and women in uniform, who allow even the most downtrodden citizens the possibility of passing faith, hope, and love on to our children.
Last week I said I would publish a post on forming a personal relationship with Jesus. Time flies, and I didn’t realize then that Veterans Day was today. As I thought of rescheduling the post, it occurred to me that it is exactly the right message for today! We cannot have a personal relationship with Jesus without cultivating a grateful heart. We cannot have a relationship with the One who Sacrificed for us if we are not grateful for the sacrifice of His brothers. We cannot be grateful for the sacrifice of the Divine Human who gives us our rights without being grateful for the men and women who protect those same God given rights!
As a child I loved our country after hearing of stories of hardship and sacrifice, of hope and faith of first settlers, early pioneers, native Indians, and runaway slaves. I loved our country for its natural beauty and her people. Most of all, I loved America for the stories my Grandmother told of leaving Germany and immigrating here in hopes of avoiding the certain destruction WWI encouraged and those my Grandfather told of his WWII Navy pilot days as we sat around the campfire .
I grew older, I learned about the sacrifice of men in every war who fought at every level. There was Nathan Hale, the young school teacher-turned spy, a job which was seen as the lowest of the low in colonial times, who famously said, “I regret I have but one life to give for my country,” as he awaited his hanging. There were the men of the USS Indianapolis who were bombed into oblivion and yet fought to stay alive and together. There was Desmond Doss who enlisted as a noncombatant and then bravely rescued rescued 75 wounded and sure to die men on Japan’s Hacksaw Ridge.
History has many heroes we can look to when courage is failing or we doubt the good in our country and in ourselves. It is often said, history repeats itself when referring to the bad in our world, but history repeats itself in its good too. Today we have men like Green Beret, Jason Van Camp and his combat medic, Jeff Adams, who taught me so much about finishing what I start, humbly seeing things from different perspectives as if my hardships were on a lazy Susan, and about doing what is hard to grow and having a sense of humor while suffering. We have women like US Army’s own April Shprintz who is the Queen of Reframing and helping see good in bad situations without the . We have US Navy SEALS like JOCKO Willink whose famous line, “Discipline equals freedom,” is one we could all absorb. We have heroes whose stories we may only know after they pass or when we sit and listen to them share under a tree in Heaven one day.
We also have those we know on a personal level, men like my Grandfather, men like those at the VA Hospital my and I used to visit and volunteer at. We have men like the EOD Tech who touched my heart and taught me more about what a real Man is than anyone I have ever known.
A World in Need of Heroes is A World in Need of Gratitude!
In this world of negativity and false idols, we desperately need to know there are good soldiers out there. There are good men standing by their wives and children. There are good men and women fighting to preserve our heritage. There are good men and women standing behind the Constitution and our God given rights. There are good men and women battling sex crimes and human trafficking long after they are out of uniform. There are good men and women risking their lives to save those loyal to us but betrayed by our nation when they were left behind in Afghanistan and elsewhere. There are good men and women who, despite huge risk and cost on a variety of levels to themselves and their families, show up.
There are good men and women fighting battles in their own heads that we cannot imagine.
And if we, as single moms, need a reason to keep fighting our own battles, to get out of our own heads, to risk everything to do what is right. to find the good in the world around us, find that reason by looking to our Veterans who are just average every day people. They walk our streets, live in our neighborhoods, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Our Veterans don’t wear capes heroes don’t wear capes. They are often overlooked but seldom complain.
Like us, our Veterans are not heroes. They are just ordinary people who choose, day in and day out, to do extraordinary things. They choose to sacrifice and put those on their left and right first. They choose to see the good and fight their demons. They choose to keep going, not by any super power, but by sheer will and devotion and faith and risk taking.
Single moms do not have the battles our Veterans face, but we can learn a lot from them in areas of humility, fidelity, and follow through, in choosing faith over fear, in what it means to prove yourself trustworthy, and in not going it alone. Most of all, we can learn what it means to stand up to tyranny in our world and in ourselves. We can learn to be grateful and see good in the world. We can choose not to see ourselves as victims. We can choose not to be victims. We can choose to be heroes by being ordinary and choosing to live extraordinary lives.
This weekend and every day, single moms can honor our Veterans simply by showing them their sacrifice and service mean something and that we choose to live with gratitude and that is also be the best and first way to begin forming your personal relationship with Christ. Be grateful for the warriors who give us so much, and take nothing for granted. I promise you that by doing so, you will change yourself more than you will change our Veterans. Do it anyway.