Have you ever had a gratitude journal? Feeling grateful intentionally and in writing is transformational!
“Whoever Brings Blessing Will be Enriched” Proverbs 11:25
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A gratitude journal helps you formulate your thoughts, gain clarity on mind, maintain a positive perspective on your daily life, lower your stress level, and it can even save your life.
Gratitude saved my life.
MY SUICIDAL DEPRESSION
In 2016, I was depressed and severely suicidal. I was under a care of two counseling professionals.
My one counselor was a Biblical counselor and the other one was a trauma counselor.
At the time, I was suffering from narcissistic abuse in my marriage. I was in a very dark place from all the mental cruelty I was enduring at home.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says this:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”
I had a hard time trusting God. I was struggling to maintain my hope. And I couldn’t see how my path could possibly be straightened because I lived in the land of hopelessness and despair.
I wrote openly about my suicidal depression in a series of spoken word poems. You can find all of them below.
video of all poem playlist
Here’s the truth. God asked me to trust in the Lord and lean not on my own understanding. But the reality was that I tried to lean on my own understanding.
I tried to connect all the dots and get all the answers as to why after 4 months of marriage my Christian husband was filing for a divorce and declaring that his IronMan bicycle was his wife.
I wanted to get answers to all of my questions and I wanted to understand.
Logic leaves no room for faith.
Colossians 2:7 says this:
“…rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
“Strengthened in the faith?” I was trying to get strong applying intellect and logic to my marriage situation. Nothing made sense. But how could I have faith if I didn’t trust God?
I was confused.
CONFUSION AND ANXIETY
Instead of overflowing with thankfulness, I was overflowing with confusion and anxiety.
I was anxious about every aspect of my everyday life. Everything was a problem. There was drama everywhere.
I was living with a husband who was practicing mental cruelty, overspending my paycheck, giving the keys to our marital residence to strangers, threatening me at home, filing for divorces every few weeks, talking to neighbors about selling the house we lived in behind my back, and calling his IronMan bicycle “my other wife I cheat on you with.”
I was anxious about everything. And I was confused.
Philippians 4:6 says this:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
With thanksgiving?! For what?! For THIS?!!! Um… I don’t think so!
That was my attitude.
I actually wrote God a hate-filled letter where I told Him what I was thinking about what was happening. I told God that I hated Him.
ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
I soon realized that my anxiety-filled journaling habit was only perpetuating my suicidal depression. I felt trapped.
Colossians 3:17 says this:
“… whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
What would it look like if I decided to journal “in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father?”
I decided to give it a try.
Do you think it was hard to come up with things to be grateful for in my situation? You bet! It was a real struggle.
Gratitude journal remained blank as I was starring at it. Previously I actually wrote in my other journal “My life sucks and it sucks to be me.” Now, I was searching my heart and mind for something to be grateful for, and it wasn’t easy.
When I set my mind on gratitude, once ideas started flowing, there were very few of them at first. And then there were more ideas. Soon thereafter, I had a full page of gratitude right in front of me!
Another page. And the next. And there I was, shortly after getting started and having a mind poisoned with negativity, I was now constantly dwelling on gratitude.
I wrote a poem about the impact this one little habit had on my whole life.
Life is an incredible journey of growth and learning.
Having realized it, I begin with gratitude every morning.
Giving thanks for all my blessings is very healing.
This one habit changed completely the way I’m feeling.
The fear I used to experience was replaced with calmness.
The anger I used to feel was replaced with warmness.
The depression I was suffering from was replaced with joy
As my mind to its full capacity I’ve learned to deploy.
When my mind is filled with gratitude, I can’t feel fear.
Thoughts of gratitude prevent anxiety and keep my mind clear.
Dwelling on my blessings leads me to experiencing genuine joy.
Practicing gratitude every day, I can finally my life enjoy.
gratitude poem video
FROM DEPRESSION TO JOY
The journey from depression to joy was not a long one. Once I trained my mind to thank God for everything around me, I began focusing my thoughts on little blessings. And they were everywhere!
You can see how I trained my mind. It’s revealed in my poem about appreciating and valuing my life and myself, regardless of the tough adversity I was facing.
“My life is such a gift” 9-14-17
My life is such a gift.
My life is such a blessing.
I’m grateful for each day,
Which I’m with joy professing.
I’m grateful for the peace,
I’m grateful that I’m healthy,
For joy that may not cease,
And being friendships-wealthy.
I’m grateful for abundance
Of food and drinking water,
And clothing choices hundreds,
And being God’s own daughter.
I’m grateful for each mentor
Who time invests and wisdom
To ground me and center
In Gospel and God’s kingdom.
I’m grateful for awareness
Of who I am in Jesus
And for my journey’s rareness.
To love it I have reasons.
My life is very special,
And I am special also –
I have a high potential,
With Scriptures armed, I know so.
Indeed, my heart was overflowing with gratitude, even though my situation was the same.
God opened up my eyes to see His blessings all around me. I was able to get my life back, thanks to the little gratitude journal and my habit of noticing and acknowledging God’s blessings everywhere.
The purpose of my life is to give God all the glory and honor. To trust Him, I needed to first notice His presence. Once I set my mind on God’s presence, I saw Him absolutely everywhere.
I wrote this Biblical poem called “God’s Presence Everywhere” in my honest conversation with God telling Him how much I enjoyed His closeness.
“God’s Presence Everywhere” 11/26/17
God, I see your presence everywhere.
To hear your voice for me is not at all rare.
Once I finally quit being worldly and blind,
Now in everything your glory I can find.
Anywhere I look, there you are!
In my suffering, you count my every scar.
My pain you turn from dust into beauty
As I follow your calling and fulfill my duty.
God, I don’t need any special presents.
All I want is to continue being in your presence.
I love leaning on you and having you near.
To my heart, your presence is very dear.
Gratitude transformed my attitude.
Journaling about my grateful thoughts saved my life. I’m grateful and I trust in the Lord with all my heart. I’m grateful that you’re reading this devotional and I trust that the Lord had led you here.
What about you?
If you feel gratitude and want to experience closeness with God, memorize the Biblical affirmation below and practice it often.
I am grateful
The purpose of my life is to glorify God.
I express my gratitude with kind words and deeds.
For His gifts I’m grateful. Him to praise I ought.
God loves me, and I know that my path He leads.
What positive impact have gratitude and being grateful had on your life?
Share with me in the comments below so I can rejoice with you.
If this devotional was helpful, download all #52Devotionals now.
Dear #TruePrincesses! I’m Anna Szabo, the founder of Online Discipleship For Women. This Christian ministry was founded in 2017 when I was struggling with severely suicidal depression. God grew my faith and hope and asked me to share the Gospel with you.
My mission is to alleviate suicide among women by encouraging YOU to grow in faith and hope.
My vision is to help YOU create a joyful life by embracing God’s word.
My goal is to make the Gospel practical and applicable to YOUR daily experiences.
Share this message with a woman who needs it now.