An Attitude of Gratitude

jillphotoThank you so much for your outpouring of love and encouragement concerning my recent cancer diagnosis.  I couldn’t possibly respond to all of your emails and comments, but I read them…every single one of them, and I am humbled by your words and prayers.

There’s nothing like receiving a cancer diagnosis two weeks before Thanksgiving. Of course, this was not in my plans. This wasn’t supposed to be a topic we will likely talk about when my family comes home for Thanksgiving today and tomorrow.

In recent days, the tears now come in waves.  I’m fine; then I’m not fine.  Learning about my cancer and the options for treatments have taken priority over other everyday concerns.

Today, however, I’m moving my focus from the “what isn’t” to “what is.” I’m looking at the light and not at the dark.

In fact, that’s what Thanksgiving can do for each one of us.  It can help us move our focus to the abundance we have in our life, even when it’s hard.

So this Thanksgiving I am personally thankful for:

  • A caring family who will walk this journey with me.
  • Wise doctors who went to school many years ago to learn about the body and help me and others like me.
  • A work environment that prays together and walks alongside one another through good times and bad.
  • The firm foundation of faith that God gives me to stand strong even when the winds of life blow hard.
  • The pioneers in cancer research that have paved the way for me to get an early diagnosis.
  • The giggles of my grandkids playing in my family room and bringing joy to my life.
  • The willingness for my kids to pitch in and bring a lot of the food for Thanksgiving.
  • The lessons I’ve learned to stop pursuing the “perfect life” and to embrace my real, messy, sometimes challenging, imperfect life.
  • The depth of communication and vulnerability I’ve experienced with my husband as we face this hard thing together.
  • Incredible friends and family who don’t just say, “tell me what I can do,” but rather “just do it.”
  • A warm home that I can rest and recover in.
  • Health insurance.
  • Excellent care and resources right here in my community.
  • A church that cares for me and prays with me.
  • A God that never leaves me.
  • The fact that pink is already my favorite color!

What concerns you right now? What challenges are you facing?  Join me in finding beauty in the ashes.

It’ll do your heart some good.


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7 thoughts on “An Attitude of Gratitude

  1. Jill,
    You are an inspiration. You have stayed strong and praised God through the trials you have experienced. Your blog has got me thinking about many things and has helped me as a wife and mom.

    My daughter whom I have commented on before is experiencing a trial right now. She is a beautiful girl inside and out. She has a wonderful boyfriend (they have been dating nearly 2 years and it looks like it’s heading in a permanent position, although only God knows for sure 🙂 ). However, her job that she has been doing for nearly two years is making her unhappy. It is unsatisfying, unfulfilling. She is creative and artsy (has a diploma in visual arts) but her job involves mostly repetitive data entry stuff.

    She started out as a receptionist and then got promoted. She is missing the contact with people (she is very much a people person). She has been experiencing anxiety for almost the same length of time as this job. She took the full time work at this company in order to pay off her $20,000 student loan and to buy a car (both of which she has already done – using principles we learned from Dave Ramsey).

    The economy is not good for jobs right now and she is trying to find a new job that is part time in order to pursue art on a freelance basis. She feels stressed most days and comes home not feeling well (stomach ache usually). I have tried to tell her to think about the positives (I know she has been told the same thing through her counselling) but she says it is hard. I know it is but it would make her feel better. She is believing the enemies lies that she cannot get through this. We know different.

    I am praying but as a mom it is difficult to watch when she is not well with stomach aches or whatever else. These are limiting. It’s also frustrating at the same time and makes me want to be angry and tell her to snap out of it. She has a very understanding boyfriend and when she is with him, she usually spends much of the time laughing. This is good and it’s good that he has been there for her. My husband brought this up to her last week. She is blessed to have a great guy. What if she liked her job but he wasn’t in her life?

    Thanks for allowing me to share my concerns when you are carrying your own much greater burden right now.

    • I just read my comment and realized that I make a mistake. She has had her particular position for nearly 2 years but has been at the company for 2 and 3/4 years now (or slightly longer).

    • Christine,

      It’s so hard to watch our kids struggle. I have been there and I know how hard it is. Keep praying for her and supporting her along the way. She’ll figure it out!

    • Christine, I too had a 30 year career in graphic design that ended 5 years ago. I struggled to find work also. It is hard. But God allows these struggles for a reason, it is for our good and His glory. Is she on Linkedin? If not tell her to get on there and seek employment there. A lot of it is out of the state of Illinois or in Chicago. I will pray for her. I am have changed what I do, Pet Grooming and house cleaning. I too am a people person and the art that I did became monotonous. At least she has work. Tell her to volunteer. Eastview was looking for some artist a while back I think. Prayers going out to you.

  2. Jill, I remember when you started the Hearts At Home ministry long ago. I was in a prayer class you held at Eastview. You have always been an inspiration to me. I feel that motherhood is such an important job and support is needed and that is what you gave to all of us. I have a friend Shelley who is also going through this. She is strong and a fighter. Even so we have cried together. Tears of anger, joy, love…tears are healing. You have your faith and God too! Praying for you at this difficult time. May God guide and direct you to the right people, doctors, nutritionists and diet that will lead to complete healing for you! Hugs to you! Thank you for all you have done for moms everywhere!

  3. I’m so sorry. But I must say that I think this is a brave blog. You are courageous. That God brings this on your path is difficult, but with Him it is possible to step into this unknown future. God shall never leave you.

    Praying for you, here in Holland.