Instead of our normal individual posts, this week Dani and I decided to write one together and share four things we are each thankful for.
What Katelyn's thankful for:
1. The courage and support to give up the best paycheck I've ever had.
Last year at this time I made a really big decision. I stepped down from my role as a Starbucks store manager. I had only been a manager for five months at the time but I already knew that it was a job that was not going to make me happy at all. I was miserable every day and it wasn't only affecting me, it was starting to affect my partners. They knew I wasn't happy and I knew I wasn't giving 100% like they needed me to. They weren't getting what they deserved from me and so I decided it was time to give the job to someone else. That decision was really hard because I had accepted a position and made a commitment but I knew it would be better for everyone in the end if I let someone step in who could give what I couldn't.
2. The experience of being completely alone and ok
Up until last February I had never lived alone. I lived with my brother's wife (when they were just dating) for seven months but other than that I had always lived at home with my parents. Even through college I lived with them (uh, hi, free rent). Moving out and being in an apartment by myself was a huge step for me. I was so nervous and excited and scared! There have been times over the last year when I just wanted to be back home with my family. I wanted to be back in my old bedroom and be able to go downstairs to eat dinner in my kitchen sitting around the table with all of my siblings and parents. I wanted the comfort at home whenever I felt lonely. The last ten months have been lonely at times but I'm so glad I can now say that I've had the experience of being alone and still being ok. I was worried that I wouldn't be.
3. A new friendship that I know will last
When I stepped out of the role of store manager and back into the role of shift supervisor I had to leave the Starbucks I was at. My boss told me I could go to any Starbucks and I chose one in OKC I had worked at before that was cafe only (barista's dream!). Before starting at my new store I told myself I wouldn't be there to make friends, I would only be there to work. I don't know why that was a goal I had but I'm glad it didn't happen. Within a month I had a new friend that I know I'll have for a very long time (that's you, breakdance!).
4. The experience of dating
I'm not going to lie, I hate dating. So much. I think it's awful and awkward and completely uncomfortable. I hate trying to get to know someone over a meal or drinks and I HATE small talk. But you know what? I did it. I dated this last year and it wasn't the worst thing ever. Parts of it were awful but for the most part I had a positive experience and I'm really glad I did it (even though dating is terrible).
I choose to write about being thankful for these four things instead of saying things like family and friends and good health because these four things were huge challenges for me. Looking back over the past year, these are the things that stand out to me the most as having the biggest impact on my life and I am so thankful for them.
What Dani's thankful for:
I too decided to write about things other than family, friends, and my health. All this month I have been posting something I am grateful for each day on Instagram and you can find my family and friends mentioned there. I am always grateful for them but today, I wanted to dig a little deeper and see what experiences have impacted my life in a meaningful way.
My entire life has changed because I have received grace from both God and others. It has taken me a long time to receive this grace. But I am truly grateful that it has surrounded my life and filled my heart. I have lived my life feeling ashamed of my past and my mistakes. But I have been blessed with a husband, family, and a community of believers who have heard my past and accepted and loved me anyway. They have shown me God’s love, grace, and forgiveness and now I can trust in the truth that I am loved and forgiven by God. I can’t even explain the freedom I’ve found and I am so thankful for God’s never ending grace. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:6
2. Finally being able to accept the person I truly am
I have struggled my whole life with feeling like the odd one out. I’ve always wanted to be…more. More than I am. More talented, smarter, prettier, less awkward and weird. But through a long and difficult journey, I have finally come to accept who God has made me to be. I am enough, just as I am. I am smart, funny, compassionate, and creative. Maybe not as much as some people, but enough. I AM ENOUGH. When I struggle with wanting to be more than I am, I can rely on the truth that God made me this way and I am continually becoming more like Him. The only parts of myself that I need to change are those that differ from Christ and He will help me accomplish just that. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”- 2 Cor 5:17
3. Embracing unconditional love
I’ve been with Tyler for many years and three months ago, we eloped. And sometimes I think God is just laughing at me up there. Because I thought that we’d been together long enough for this to be easy. HA. Boys are… well boys. And marriage is hard work. Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or the luckiest person ever. Because no matter how much you love someone, they’ll drive you nuts occasionally. And I know I drive him crazy sometimes too- because I am an extremely emotional person and need constant reassurance. And he’s a messy, car loving, Top Gear watching BOY! But in all these years, and now these last three months, I’ve learned a valuable lesson. Unconditional is just that. No matter how much we bicker or disagree about when to buy a new car or how to decorate the house or whatever it is, I still get this little flutter in my heart when I see him. And his sweet texts still make me a giddy little teenager. He’s my person, my lobster (cough friends addict over here cough), my world. So I’m thankful for my husband and how much he loves me. And how much I love him. Okay, gush fest over. “Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Cor. 13:7
4. A new understanding
Lastly, I’m thankful for a new outlook on my job. As I mentioned before, I always wanted to be MORE. And that included wanting to be more than a barista at Starbucks with an unused Master’s degree. I’ve wanted to fight for justice as a career (and that is still a desire for the future, whenever that may be). But I have become content with seeking justice for the poor and oppressed and abused in other ways. I volunteer with a transitional housing organization. And an opportunity arose for me to be a volunteer victim’s advocate (read about that here). God has increased my passion to do these things daily. In accepting who I am, I have also come to accept the place I am in my life. God is opening my eyes to all of the things I can do in His name, without being paid for it. I am so excited about being a victim’s advocate, volunteering at my favorite non-profit in Denver, and bringing as much joy and fun and love as possible to my job. “The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.”-Psalm 33:5
We would love to know what things you are thankful for. Leave us a comment so we can get to know you better! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!