In my last post, I mentioned my friend Bethany, at Weekday Bouquet. Bethany took our engagement photos and we’ve stayed in touch ever since- almost 11 years now!
Bethany is someone I genuinely admire and respect. In addition to having a heart of gold, she is classy, talented and the very best mom. She takes her roles as wife and mother seriously and fulfills them in beautiful ways. Most importantly, she is a devoted disciple of Christ with a deep and burning testimony. One of the things I love about Bethany is that she can communicate things in a simple, yet profound and thought-provoking way. Bethany has had her share of trials throughout her life, yet she exudes joy! She never lets the bad outweigh the good. I was excited to learn that her formula for joy is simple.
“Gratitude is the secret to joy. We may be aware of our misfortunes or shortcomings, and we may recognize life for the challenge that it is, but if we instead focus on the good, and seek the silver lining in every struggle, we can rise above weakness and find strength and happiness.
I try to make ‘thank you’ a common part of my everyday vocabulary. I thank the store clerk for helping me with the groceries. I thank my children for their goodness. I thank my husband for marrying me. I thank God for the sunrise every morning. I recognize His hand in my life even when things are hard.
Being grateful doesn’t take away pain and hardship, but it makes it bearable and light. And oh how I prefer the light!”
I LOVE the simplicity of what she shares as the “secret to joy”. It’s gratitude! And it’s as simple as vocalizing the words, “Thank You”- even to our immediate family members, even and maybe even especially, our own children. I may have said “thank you” to my kids recently for picking something up and putting it away or finishing a chore, and I may have said “thank you” to my husband for doing the dishes or vacuuming, but when was the last time I thanked them for their goodness? When did I last thank my husband for marrying me? When was the last time I thanked God for something like the sunrise? Knowing Bethany, I can see that this ability to express gratitude is inherent in her. It’s simply a part of who she is. She is able to bear her burdens and walk in light because she is grateful- always.
Every November, I wonder if my focus on gratitude is making any lasting impact- if it’s really being engrained on my soul. For many years, I think it’s been a month-long gratitude marathon, and then it’s set on the shelf to collect dust until the following November. This year has been different though. As I have recognized the Lord’s hand in my life each day, I have noticed a difference in my own thoughts. Even on hard days, I find an abundance of times to recognize His hand. It gives me hope and a belief that what Bethany says is true, gratitude really is “the secret to joy”.
Thanks for sharing, Bethany!
You will never regret visiting Bethany’s blog where you can view her beautiful photography, her perfectly adorable blondies and glimmer more light and wisdom from her. She is expecting baby #4 very soon- follow her on Instagram @bethanyjackman for light and inspiration as she raises her beautiful babes!