Gratitude Pt. 2 - Jeff and Alyssa

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I thought it’d be fitting to do a mini series on thankfulness (and sometimes the struggles we encounter when we don’t feel very thankful). This is part 2! (For part 1 click here).

All my bags were packed- all 8 of them. (A girl gathers a lot of things within two years!) My parents had flown over to Maui to help me pack up and move back home. I was so thankful that I didn’t have to go alone.

Sitting on their bed that morning, my sweet mentor sat next to me, with her arms wrapped around me.


“Alyssa, this morning I read Acts 17, and thought of you in verse 26–

“…{GOD}having definitely determined [their] allotted periods of time and the fixed boundaries of their habitation (their settlements, lands, and abodes)” {AMP}. Sweet Alyssa, God has determined for you to live in Seattle for this specific time. And what precious plans He has for His dear children.”


MAUI. This had been my home for two years. The place where I grew from a young adult to a lady. A place where I had spent countless hours pouring into high schoolers and being poured into by many counselors and friends. A place where I was broken, and healed, and made more like Christ. A place where I had made lifetime friends- family really.


On the journey home, I wrote in my journal that day,


“You’ve appointed me to live in Seattle for this season. I’m just following You, as a sheep follows her Shepherd because they KNOW one another. You take care of me Lord. I am in Your hands. Oh Lord, this morning is hard. My heart hurts…please increase my faith. Right now I don’t know why You’ve moved me home. My heart is in Maui. Did Abraham ever feel this way? Or Mary? Papa, please help my unbelief. Help me to have a thankful heart. BE THANKFUL. Thank you that You reign. You appointed this. You have a plan. You’ve gone before. You GO WITH ME. Please hold me Lord-please carry me through.”


The next 6 months were a blur. I started my first full-time job 10 hours after I hopped off the plane. Started attending a new church, began a new relationship, Jeff became famous! So many new things.



The thing is—they were all amazing, awesome, wonderful things. I was so blessed to be able to live with my parents—to have that sweet time with them—and to have a job where I could counsel high schoolers and plan school events was a dream! I fell in love and knew I was with the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Jeff was being used mightily to proclaim the gospel, and doing what he absolutely loves.


And yet, my heart ached. I was grieving my loss of all I had in Maui. Friendships. Discipleship. Sunshine. A home church that felt like family. Mentors. Roomates. Sea Turtles! (no, but really!)


And yet I struggled to give thanks.

I knew that I should give thanks. That lime green stone with “gratitude” written on it sat right on my nightstand. I had a list of all the verses about thankfulness in the back of my journal. I cried out to the Lord, asking for help to give thanks. And yet, I still continued to choose not to. I chose rather to think on what I didn’t have and to worry about what I was blessed with.


The funny thing is, before this, I had never had any problem with giving thanks. I usually would praise the Lord and thank Him constantly. But that year I felt like a part of me had died. And I just couldn’t do it.


-Have you ever felt unable to give thanks? Are you struggling today to give thanks? 

Come back tomorrow to see the final post of this series. God really rocked me!

Also, a must read book that helped me on the topic of thankfulness was One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. So beautifully written and so perfect for ladies! You can check it out here.