“I’m grateful my husband was an alcoholic. It’s taught us both about how to appreciate the normal things in life. ”
I listened to the woman beside me speak at a local Al-anon meeting. How in the world can a woman be thankful for her husband’s addiction?
I had just walked one of the most difficult years of my life and wondered if these meetings would help. I was the youngest woman there by 20 years and it seemed I didn’t have much to contribute.
As I listened to these women talk about their years of living with addicts, I felt lucky. My then-husband was getting help, I believed he would change, and I knew I would not be one of these women much longer.
But the truth I desperately wanted to believe did not come true. My ex-husband chose the addiction over our family and there was a long season in my life where I didn’t understand anything.
I felt so angry at his decisions that I wanted to hurt him like he hurt me.
The years passed and I was told by others that I would eventually be grateful for what happened. I would be free from the restraints he had put on our family and I could create a new life.
How could I give thanks for single motherhood? How could I cultivate a grateful heart when my children had no father?
While I didn’t understand how God was preparing the way for my little family, He was forming a new life for us long before I knew it. And my part didn’t include knowing how the story ends. I was supposed to trust Him to lead the way but instead I struggled with worry and deep-seated anxiety.
Despite my insecurities, God changed our situation in miraculous ways and I’m *slowly* learning to give thanks in the mess. As I look back on different seasons in my life I can easily see God’s covering and protection everywhere. When you’re too blind to notice His handiwork, you can miss out on seeing some beautiful blessings.
It’s what we do, isn’t it? This culture that seems to quickly skim over Thanksgiving and jump directly to Christmas right after Halloween. But our family refuses. We try to savor November and remember the things God has given us that money cannot buy.
Today I can say it. How I am thankful my ex-husband chose to leave our family. I am grateful he walked away, for his decision allowed me to be truly loved by a godly man and for our children to have a Dad who is present, healthy, and willing to do anything for them.
God has a way of giving us exactly what we need even when we have no idea we need it.
Deeper Still: Is there a situation in your life where you’ve struggled to feel grateful? How can you find a way to look at this season in your life differently?