A grateful attitude

"How much better it would be if all could be more aware 
of God's providence and love and express 
that gratitude to Him."
-Russell M. Nelson-

How many times do you come home after a long day and, when you pray to your Heavenly Father before you retire for the night, thank Him for the many things you've been given? Even if the day was one full of stress, heartbreak, anger; I guarantee there are things that went right, that brought you happiness, joy or just a sense of peace.

I'm guilty of not properly showing gratitude to our Father in Heaven, who, without Him, we wouldn't even be here. On many occasions, I would just mutter a quick prayer as I fell asleep, not truly showing gratitude for everything I've been given. One of my goals going into the new year was to change that; to get rid of the excuses I would make to not kneel down and give a thoughtful prayer, one with meaning. When I was thinking of excuses, I always remember growing up and how my mom would tell me "If President Hinckley can kneel down to pray every night at the age of 93 (or 94, 95, etc) then SO CAN YOU!" 

Russell M. Nelson, during the April 2012 General Conference, said the following:

"God is the Father of our spirits. He has a glorified, perfected body of flesh and bone. We lived with Him in heaven before we were born. And when He created us physically, we were created in the image of God, each with a personal body."
WOW! How often do we forget this? Even if you had a crappy day; you have so much to be grateful for. Your life, your body, your spirit; God gave us all of these things because He loves us so much.

Nelson goes on to say:

"Think of our physical sustenance. It is truly heaven-sent. The necessities of air, food, and water all come to us as gifts from a loving Heavenly Father. The earth was created to support our brief sojourn in mortality. We were born with a capacity to grow, love, marry, and form families." 

Not only did Heavenly Father love us so much that He created a body for us; He created a planet for us, so we would have the opportunity to prove ourselves here in this mortal life. We are able to eat because of Him; breathe because of Him; stay hydrated because of Him. Everything we've been given is because our Heavenly Father has unconditional love for us.

But what else is there to be grateful for? In 1820, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith; and 10 years later, the Church was organized. The gospel was restored upon the earth, so that we might continually grow spiritually and, one day, return to our Father in Heaven. 

One thing that I've started doing this year is actually something my girlfriend does. When I go to journal at the end of the day, before I write about the happenings of my day; I take time to write 3 things I'm grateful for. These things differ day by day; sometimes being something simple, such as my mom bought me lunch; or something more profound, like to have apostles in these latter days to give unto us revelation and guidance in these troubling times. But I always make sure to write 3 things down, because slowly this will turn into a habit of recognizing things to be grateful for as I go about my day. 

In the April 2014 General conference, Dieter F. Uchtdorf said the following:

"We can choose to be like Mormon pioneers, who maintained a spirit of gratitude during their slow and painful trek toward the Great Salt Lake, even singing and dancing and glorying in the goodness of God. Many of us would have been inclined to withdraw, complain, and agonize about the difficulty of the journey." 

I always am amazed when I consider the conditions the pioneers went through. Not only were they driven out of the state of Missouri, simply for being members of our church; not only were they tarred and feathered, murdered, beaten; but as they made that long trek, many died to the harsh conditions. But through all of that misery, persecution and sadness; they maintained a spirit of gratitude; thanking God the whole trek. 

Uchtdorf went on to say the following, which has stuck with me ever since I heard it back in 2014:

"Being grateful in our circumstances is an act of faith in God. It requires that we trust God and hope for things we may not see but which are true. By being grateful, we follow the example of our beloved Savior, who said, Not my will, but thine, be done."

It won't always be easy to be grateful; but it will always be worth it when thinking from an eternal perspective. 

Uchtdorf then said the following: 

"How blessed we are if we recognize God's handiwork in the marvelous tapestry of life. Gratitude to our Father in Heaven broadens our perception and clears our vision. It inspires humility and fosters empathy toward our fellowmen and all of God's creation. Gratitude is a catalyst to all Christlike attributes! A thankful heart is the parent of all virtues."

Everything you see around you is God's handiwork. The green trees, blue skies, wildlife. Your family, friends, pets. God has a hand in everything we see. In fact, one of the things I wrote being grateful for today was the following:

"Nature. The beauty and uniqueness of all of it. It was not by chance; God's hand was truly in everything our eyes perceive." 

As we all wake up tomorrow, instead of dreading Monday, let's all rejoice in having a beautiful day; a beautiful life! Let us seek out things to be grateful for, instead of wallowing on those things that would tear us down.

"True gratitude is an expression of hope AND testimony. It comes from acknowledging 
that we do not always understand trials of life but trusting that one day we will."
-Dieter F. Uchtdorf-

D&C 59:7 - Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things. 

D&C 78:19 - And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.

Psalm 100:3-4 - Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.


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