Gratitude In the Middle of Not Knowing WHY


“WHY?” We all ask it. Toddlers and middle schoolers go through it. They are inquisitive of the world around them. The old phrase “inquiring minds want to know.” comes to mind. If we are honest as adults we continue to ask why. And the hardest of why’s comes in the middle of hard things.

  • Why did I lose my job?
  • Why did my boyfriend/girlfriend break up with me?
  • Why did I lose my child at such a young age?
  • Why do I have cancer?
  • Why did my parents get killed in a car accident?

The list is endless. The list is full of heartbreak and trauma.

And to complicate things the why is surrounded by a tornado of emotions and feelings that come in waves that range from intense sadness to incredible anger and frustration. This was my week. Though my scenario doesn’t fit into any of the questions above.

It’s funny because no matter what my specific heartbreak is…..I still asked “why?” What I realized in those questioning hours came something I had already learned. See this isn’t my first rodeo with the question why. We are old friends..

Here are my thoughts from this mornings journal entry

“Why” keeps echoing in my heart as I long to understand and my head keeps reminding me that I dont need to know why. The why isnt imortant to my story. Although I desperately want it to be.

The reality is the why is probably far more devastating than all the rest.

That’s a bit unbelievable or unreconcilable tor my mind BUT that is for God to be concerned about not me. I have put the why into His hands.

Almost 8 years ago I had to put another why intoGod’s hands too. Actually it was a whole bunch of whys. When I gave them to him it really began the healing process for a very traumatic event.

Was it easy? NOPE, but it needed to happen. If I held onto the whys I couldn’t move on or move past the trauma. The same was true when I was 16 and 8 and all the other times in between.

Here I find myself again, wrestling with God. He holds the why in his hand and I am so desperately trying to pry his fingers free so I can see it. Alas my muscles grow weary and I become exhausted from the battle that wages. Why can’t I remember from the very beginning of this fight that I am taking on the all-powerful God? If I did I would save the energy of even trying.

Sometimes He witholds the Why.

Sometimes he witholds the why for my protection. I am his kid and he is my heavenly Father. We as parents withold whys from our kids because the answer could be far more damaging. Our kids trust us because they understand that we have their best interests at heart.

I know that He sometimes wiitholds the answer to why to help my faith grow in him. I know that IF I knew the why it could cause me to have an even deeper faith crisis, so I need to trust that God really is in control.

When I finally let God have the Why

When I finally let God have the why and quit trying to pry it from his all-powerful grip- it is me saying “not only are you all-powerful God BUT you are also all-knowing – You know what’s best for me and I trust you with the why.”

Out of the act of trust I become incredibly grateful. Grateful for:

  • For the protection because sometimes we can’t handle the truth (even though we think we can)
  • For the Love God shows for me by protecting me. He’s not just exerting his power. He is covering me like a mam bird protecting her babies from the harsh storm raging outside
  • For God’s desire to take something so ugly and so hurtful and turn it into something so incredibly beautiful.

I am so incredibily grateful that pain and hurting isn’t wasted. I know and am confident that God WILL use this for Good and for His Glory!!


I’ve seen it. There is a caviat though.

I have seen it time and time again in my own life, where God redeems the hurt and radically changes me and the poeple around me. That caviat…I have to LET Him use it. It’s amazing that our all-powerful God doesn’t choose to wrestle with us. He will wait patiently- for years – until we say ok God you can use that part of me. He will chase us and pursue us just like that good shepherd with that lost sheep because he cares for us so deepy, but he won’t wrestle us because he wants us to choose him!

So yes I have had to say yes to him, without limits. This isn’t about my terms. All I have to do is say yes and take that next step. When I say that, it makes it sound so easy. I can promise you it’s not, but it is so worth it. I held onto somethings for nealry 20 years and it wasn’t until this past mMarch that I gave him the piece I had been holding onto. When those nexts steps came I took a big gulp held his hand and moved forward in my faith. I had to choose to please God NOT man.

If that is all that it is: just taking the next step, no matter how small, the most beautiful thing of allwhen I (or you) stretch my faith muscles and I begin to look more like Jesus, more like his kid, more like HIS princess.

When that happens people watch and see. Jesus is made famous. I have fulfilled my purose. I am set free from the WHY!

Now it’s Your turn

Are you holding onto a “Why?”

What would your next step be if you gave it to Jesus?

What’s holding You back!?!

Thanks so much for joining me for this edition of Gratitude in the Middle.

You can check out other posts here.

Gratitude in the Middle……of the Mundane


The mundane, the day in and day out. The mundane can be as some put it…BORING. It’s the washing of the dishes for the 4,503rd time. It’s also doing the laundry for the 15,450th time. If you look at it as just the act of doing, yes it seems so mundane and even boring.

Change the narrative

what if we changed the narrative, first in our heads and hearts, and then what comes out of our mouths?

So much of our day-to-day life is affected by what we think and then what we say. And then what we say influences those around us.

My question is what if we stopped looking at those very acts as mundane and instead looked at those tasks as gifts?

I struggle with this. A LOT. My brain gets distracted and bored easily. I’d much rather be… name it but I need to be responsible too

Negative self-talk makes us see life in a negative light. And that goes for the mundane as well. When we change the narrative we change the perspective.

Changing the Perspective

Much like the choice of changing the narrative we can choose to change the perspective we have on what our day looks like. Yes, our day can be absolutely rotten. But we aren’t talking about the rotten, that’s coming. Today we are talking about picking up the toys, checking the mail, washing the dishes, throwing a load of laundry in the washing machine, forgetting to move it to the dryer yet again, and hitting the repeat button like a teenager playing the same song over and over and over again. You love the song at first BUT over time it loses its meaning…..or really we lose sight of its meaning. We just get cold to the meaning.

So let’s change our narrative and our perspective!

We have some Choices to make

Let’s start by thanking God for those tasks and our ability to do them.

I know this first hand because there are a couple of things I wish I could do BUT I can’t. And as Can’t I mean I physically can’t….one is actually illegal for me to do!

I cannot drive (though I was once almost mistakenly given a driver’s license a story for another time). I know that I never got to experience the mundane of driving kids here there and everywhere. But I ask you to see what a gift it is. Time with your kiddos. rocking out to their tunes and sharing yours, singing out at the top of your lungs, or having heart conversations.

Be grateful to God for what you have. Just like I am choosing to be grateful for what I have….a unique relationship within my family. I Have to rely on my hubby. If I have to go somewhere I don’t go alone. He’s with me. We have more conversations in the car just because that’s the time we have.

So now it’s Your turn

What’s something that you maybe view as mundane or take for granted that you can choose to change the narrative and perspective on this week? Can you look at that through the eyes of someone who may have different circumstances than you?

Let me know how you intend to change the narrative and/or perspective this next week in the comments below and have a great week!

You can check out the rest of the Gratitude in the Middle posts here

Gratitude in the Middle……of Life



sometimes it’s exciting and new and other times life hard. Just Plain. Hard. And then other days it’s mundane. There are dishes to be done. Mom can you find my other boot. The dog did what? And the list goes on and on.

Ok so the dog thing probably lands in the exciting category.

I have no recollection when gratitude became such a HUGE part of my everyday life, but when it did something happened….I changed.


I was angry and unhappy. For many reasons, some perhaps we will get into in the near future. Gratitude took my eyes off of me and my own struggles and placed them on the one who had blessed me beyond belief.

Whether it was the exciting,, the mundane or the hard….OR the just down right extraordinary I discovered I found a new sense of joy in the middle of it all. AND the really amazing thing was as I began to make gratitude a daily practice I began to take notice of these little tiny things. It became a game to see just how many I could write down in my little notebook a day.

Have I ever mentioned I am a highly competitive person? Maybe my hubby can share just how ruthless I can bee playing Phase 10….JK don’t ask!

I find joy in the weird little things. AND I have realized that some people don’t know how to handle me. My joy is often misunderstood. And I chuckle. WHY? Because people aren’t use to that kind of joy. We are so programmed to think about the negative.


People complain A LOT. I can complain A LOT. Sometimes life is hard and that is all we can see. That is why I started choosing gratitude over the anger. I just couldn’t handle that lifestyle anymore. I put my energy into a different direction. it really is about perspective and focus.

That’s part of the reason I can laugh at myself for setting off an IV pump 9,345 times in a 3 hour span….(pssst it really wasn’t that many times but I am sure the 3 nurses who took turns resetting the thing felt like it was). I am so grateful, so so so grateful that I can go sit in a chair for 3 hours and get antibodies that keep me healthy so I can take care of my family and be a part of church. I am so very grateful both to the nurses and for the nurses. God gave them a special kind of patience!, care and love.

The challenge

So no matter what kind of day you are having, start by choosing 3 things you are grateful for. If you choose 3 things a day to be grateful for you will have 1,095 things that you can count as blessings by the end of the year.

As a side note I am thankful for coffee 365 days out of the year. No one says you can’t choose something to be grateful for more than once!

Life is all sorts of craziness and everyday that God gives us breath is one more reason to be grateful. Don’t believe me wait til next week!

How about you? in whatever season of life you are in right now what are you thankful for?

Birds chirping is top of my list. Along with warmer days, sunshine and farmers!

Don’t quite know where to start Check out Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare.

You can also check out my Joy Dare Challenge from last year where I used her prompts!

Gratitude In the Middle


Hello friends! Welcome to Gratitude in the Middle! I can just hear you now saying “Mary what on earth is Gratitude in the Middle?”

Have no fear I’m going to explain it right here (sorry I was reverting to my inner poet.)

Gratitude in the middle is what this years Thankful Thursday is going to look like. I know it took me til March to get this out there but sometimes other things need to happen first and that is exactly what needed to happen for me. I needed to work through some stuff (more on that next week when I talk what RESTORE looks like for the first three months of this year.

Gratitude in the Middle

This year’s weekly thankfulness post is going to look a little different than other years. Usually I spent Thursday’s post listing out what I am thankful for…and this is a great practice for a number of reasons and we will get into that in future blog posts, but specifically on Thursdays we are going to chat about what Gratitude in the Middle of various seasons of life looks like…Say for instance grief, change, or illness. Don’t worry there will be lots of positive scenarios too.

I want to have this discussion because Gratitude when directed and focused on the right person (PSSST the short answer is God) has the capability to really affect our perspective on life in General and it affects how we view future circumstances as well.

Gratitude in the Middle is….

…….On Thursdays which in in the Middle of the week (kind of).

So instead of a lengthy list in the middle of the week let’s meet to discuss how we can best be grateful in whatever season we are currently in. Now sometimes seasons don’t change week by week (I mean this winter has been going on for at least a decade now right ??? Just kidding!).

So I will be pulling from past seasons in life to share what worked and what didn’t in those seasons pertaining to gratitude.

We will also discuss what keeps us from being grateful….we will call them gratitude gators.

And I might even have some fun stuff along the way. I have some really neat ideas in the future about like printable resources or graphics.

I hope you Join me on this journey as we explore GRATITUDE IN THE MIDDLE!

You can check out my previous posts (2021 Joy Dare) and (Thankful Thursday) here.

And you can check out one of my favorite book on the subject of Gratitude One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (Not an affiliate link)

So how about you, what season are you in right now? Are you finding it hard to have gratitude? We have all struggled with this…it comes and it goes.



Boundaries and Schedule Changes


Hello Friends! I hope you are having a great week! Today we are going to have a conversation about some changes that are taking place in my life and that we be directly affecting the blog here. I have, over the last couple of weeks, been implementing some boundaries for myself. And even though I am not quite ready to share the not so immediate effects of those boundaries I am ready to share how and why the blog has changed and will continue to do so over the next few months.

Back Story

It’s no secret around here that a little over a year ago I had some major health struggles. Struggles that found me in and out of the hospital 4 times in the month of December in 2020. It found me having a procedure to kill off a tumor that caused damage to internal organs which then resulted in me needing heavy narcotics because when something is dying inside of you it is excruciating and then finally my body (much to the doctors and hospital staff’s surprise ) expelling the tumor on it’s own. And finally waiting the longest week of my life to find out if said tumor was cancer or not. (Praise the Lord it wasn’t).

It was a wild ride BUT a spiral happened that NO one could see. Not even me. See my health issues didn’t end there. There were still major repercussion from Decembers adventures.

Low iron levels related to the amount of blood loss was a huge problem. they were so low they were undetectable. They couldn’t find iron in my system. I ate everything I could get my hands on that was rich in iron (except liver).Have you ever had molasses in your coffee? Yeah don’t! I was desperate BUT my body couldn’t absorb it. I was taking 3 iron pills a day with little to no help. I was living in a constant state of panic attack due to iron levels. It was BAD and to help cope and distract myself I got lost on my phone.

The Reality

As much as I use my phone for helpful useful things I found myself living in a constantly distracted state. When I was stressed I reached for my phone. I chose to get lost in it. Finally in August Hubby advocated for me at the hematologists office for iron infusions. I would sleep all the time. I could barely move without being completely wiped out. The doctor wanted to wait until I had all of my GI tests done but Hubby asked why I couldn’t have them before and boy was I grateful that he did. They said I wouldn’t see a difference right away.They were wrong. It was a two infusion series. The first one I sat though a complete conference day right after. Which is saying a lot because I could barely move at times. Having little to no iron creates a painful state of existence, So between the hurting body, the racing heart and extreme fatigue I wasn’t sure how a conference would work. A few days later I had the second dose and OH BOY I was like a new human being. It just keep getting better.


As I looked back at my prayer journals I began to see a pattern emerging. I was praying every single day that God would help me to not be so distracted. ALL of the time. We had gone through a major life change in the process where hubby left his ministry position he had been at for 12 years. We had no idea where God was leading us next we just knew we were supposed to leave. We picked a church an hour away from home for various reasons.

For nearly 7 months I prayed and prayed and prayed for distractions to leave. And day after day after day I chose to get lost in my phone.

That is until this February when I picked up the book hubby got for me at Christmas called The Life Giving Home written by Sally and Sarah Clarkson. I read Sarah’s chapter on distractions. Which was her phone…ACK! Now this is NOT the first time the topic of “phones” has come up. Phone usage has been in NUMEROUS sermons at our new church. And yet I could dismiss them as “BUT I am a blogger I need to be tied to my phone”. The reality is though my phone usage had very little to do with my blog. It had everything to do with serving as a distraction from my blog and everything else under the sun. It wasn’t until the word DISTRACTION was right in front of my face AND I had COVID that forced me to come to understand the reality of my situation. So that day I sent some Boundaries .

The Boundaries

The very first thing I did was delete Instagram and Facebook from my phone. I still need to use them for my blog. So getting rid of them completely wasn’t an option.

the second thing I did was set a time frame for when I could use social media on my laptop. And that’s from 4-8 pm. It allows me enough time to make posts and then comment back on them if need be. And when the comments are made and I don’t see them right away GUESS WHAT…They are still there the next day…..NO JOKE!

Is it a perfect system NOPE. have I followed it strictly NOPE. BUT life has changed in so many ways…like… I have read double the books I read last month. No it’s not a new distraction.

I have changed immensely…I have a new schedule in place that has been working amazingly.

It Came with an Unforeseen Consequence

We teach our children that there are positive and negative consequences that come with our life choices. You will often hear hubby and I and even our children say Make better life choices.

Well when I chose to set this boundary it became very obvious within just a weeks time that the phone was distracting me from far more than just daily tasks. I hadn’t healed from some major life stuff and all of that in one morning came spilling out. At first I thought it had been a TERRIBLE life choice BUT now I can see how much I have changed in just over a week. THAT is a blog series for a different time.

For now though I have a clarity of mind that I haven’t had in ……ever.

Quite frankly it’s been amazing. I will say though it’s because I have been willing (although reluctant at times ) to do the hard work. I have written nearly 100 pages in my journal..

Letting Go of Mental Chess

I like to play games. All sorts of games (I love WORDLE). I had become a master at mental chess and I didn’t even realize it. Here how mental chess goes “I can’t do x, because if I do X, then person, A Will do Y”.

I had a rather lengthy conversation with our pastor about this, He’s the one who called it mental chess and then he told me. ” You’ll never win. ”

Later this week I looked at my ever growing list of blog post Ideas and there is a set of “green” posts. They are a different color because I felt they were unpublishable so I had determined to journal them…..because if I posted them XYZ might happen. I said out loud as I read them off MENTAL CHESS.

Now does it mean I will post them tomorrow…NO. I won’t. They are going to take some time to write because they are hard perhaps even RAW. There will be a lot more of that around here because I’m letting go of that mental chess I have become so accustomed to playing. I don’t want to waste my mental capabilities on a game I am NOT going to win. Why would I want to use mental headspace for such nonsense I like to win.

Schedule Changes

So as it stands I had already made the change for Sunday afternoons being blogging time. That’s going to stay the same it just works. IF I get to go into church on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and/orFridays with Hubby (until we move ) I intend to use that time for blogging time. But for now I am able to use Sundays to complete blogging work for the week on Sundays.

  • Mondays will be the normal Happy Homemaker Monday posts. Mondays are also going to be blog work. I have Monday afternoons and evenings to myself- Thanks hubby for that blessing for this introverted homeschooling mom with 3 extroverted children.
  • Tuesdays are family nights here so no posts will go live
  • Wednesdays and Fridays are flex days so If I can get more than Mondays and Thursdays blog posts done they will be scheduled on Wednesdays or Fridays
  • Thursdays are our Thankfulness days – this is the Gratitude in the Middle posts.

Mondays and Thursdays are the MUSTS. All else is icing on the cake.

Next week I hope to have a very special treat. I want to introduce you to two women who have been supporting me through all of this stuff and really lifted my hands (a Moses reference) as I blogged through that Choosing Courage 100 day blogging project last fall. It’s just another step in letting go of the mental chess because I was worried about what other people might think when I shared WHO they are and the role they are playing!

These two women have never met each other and when I said I need to have coffee with the two of you they made it happen. No questions asked. This is why these two women are on my prayer team for this ministry and whatever lies ahead.

Thank you so much for being here and reading and living life right along side of me. I know this has been a much longer post than normal and I appreciate you sticking through to the end.

Are you ready to join me on this Journey?