Seven Decades of Gratitude
I’m grateful for a day and a season for remembering and expressing gratitude. And I am especially thankful that God has taught me—over and over—the need for and blessings from “giving thanks in all things.”
A few days ago I was thanking God for some great answers to prayer, which led me to look back over my life. I have had a good life—filled with good people, opportunities, adventures and answers to prayer. For which I am deeply thankful.
And, of course, over the seven plus decades of my life, disappointments, difficulties, challenges and deep hurts have come as well, and I have learned to say “thank you” for those as well.So here are a few highlights of each of the decades of my life—which I celebrate and give thanks for this Thanksgiving.
I had a happy childhood, with my parents and three sisters. Yes, we fought some, but we enjoyed playing outdoors together with all the neighborhood children. Sometimes I wrote little plays and convinced the neighbor kids to present them to parents and friends. I felt safe, secure and loved.
This, of course, was a more challenging decade. (Read more about junior high school here.) I am grateful for a good education, for years with my horses, for beginning exposure to the world and needs around me. College summers included teaching young girls how to ride horses—I loved it!
Without a doubt, the highlight of my teen years—and my life—was meeting Jesus. My friend Patty took me to a Colorado Young Life camp, where I learned to ski, met cute boys, and met my Savior. I learned that Jesus would forgive my sins and show me His better way for my life. The great adventure of walking with God began. (Read more here.)
I graduated from the University of Texas with a journalism degree and a heart to serve my Lord.I loved beginning to discover who God made me to be and what He created me to do. Writing, editing and leading filled these years, on mission for God with Campus Crusade for Christ/Cru. Touching lives for eternity motivated me.
I grew in intimacy with God, in recognizing the many hard realities of the world we live in and in awe that God invited me to be on His Kingdom-building team. (Read more here.)
This decade was marked by incredible gifts: my marriage to Steve Douglass and our two daughters, Debbie and Michelle. Steve has always been so encouraging to me, believing I can do so much more than I think I can. (Read more here.)
Babies, though, were much more challenging to me than years of magazine editing had been. I made new discoveries of who God was forming me to be and learned to appreciate the beautiful girls God had entrusted to me and the amazing, instructive gifts they were. (You can read some of what I learned from them here and here.)
I am grateful for my first two books, published in this decade: Single and Complete and He Loves Me.
This was a busy decade. The primary focus, parenting, added so much to my life: giving and receiving abundant love, recognizing wonderful strengths and great weaknesses in my life, partnering with my husband in new and meaningful ways. And the joy of watching our girls grow into beautiful human beings. (Read more here.)
I began speaking a lot and I published What Can a Mother Do? Finding Significance and Home and Beyond
And there was the arrival of a special gift from God.
I learned to thank God in everything in a deep and life-changing way in my 50’s.
That special gift from God was Josh, who came to us at almost 10 from a difficult early childhood. Many issues plagued him from those years and brought formidable concerns to him and our family for many years.
As I struggled to help our son make better choices for his life, God repeatedly reminded me to give thanks in all things. Josh became my gratitude tutor, and I am so grateful. (Read more here.)
Two significant opportunities filled the sixties for me.
The first was partnering with my husband to lead Campus Crusade for Christ International/Cru. I’ve lived an ambassador role, writing, speaking, listening, talking—all to love and encourage our global staff, to inspire them to seek to become all God created them to be. My own inadequacy and unworthiness kept me on my knees—in humble dependence and overwhelming gratitude. (Read more here.)
The second life-changing reality of this decade was my grandchildren. How many times did I hear, “Wait till you have grandkids!” Indeed and amen! Such joy and fun they have given. What an opportunity to invest in the next generation—it’s become a calling. And oh, the gratitude! (Read more here.)
My book Letters to My Children: Secrets of Success came out.
So now I have made it to my 70’s, into the eighth decade of my life. These years are bringing some weariness, less energy, more aches and pains. But I am still here. And I can still read, write, speak, love, encourage, pray—for the people in our ministry and my growing and extended familyI never get over it! God chose me, called me, equipped me, opened doors of opportunity, imparted courage, gave wisdom, anointed my words. God astounds me every day with his love and grace! And apparently He isn’t through with me yet.
Until He calls me home, I will keep going, depending, trusting, beseeching—and thanking my loving and gracious God. (Read more here.)
What about you? What time in your life are you especially grateful for?
C2017 Judy Douglass