“Oh how abundant is your goodness which you have stored up for those who fear you.” Psalm 31:19
I signaled a thumbs up to the woman at the front desk of the driving school I attended and headed home. It seemed as though every stair up to my apartment unlocked another reason for me to be grateful. I live a beautiful life, I thought. I felt grateful that I could celebrate today’s win with my mother and that we were close enough now for her to celebrate me. Even though it’s embarrassing, I’m grateful for the emails on Facebook with the comments from my tia’s and tio’s and old babysitters. Where exactly did they comment on? My mother’s post about her 20- year old baby passing her first road test.
I knew mom was up there. Her phone calls had been a mix of squealing excitement and unbelief, waiting to see that “P” for herself. So I rang the doorbell and reached for the tiny envelope in my bag that held my driver’s permit, the certification from the 5-hour course I had needed to take on driving, and the smallest sheet of gold given to me by the instructor that whispered whispers like “you passed,” “I knew you could do it,” “go ahead, eat that chocolate, baby,” and “good job following God and not your doubts.”
I was taken back to that deep internal knowing I felt during the holidays that I should pursue my license before heading to Europe for the next semester. I also remembered the comments of others saying it would be a waste of time and money to pursue it, and my own thoughts that the idea of getting my license in two weeks was crazy. But then I had passed that driving school on my way home, which I noticed for the first time ever (and thought it just recently opened when it actually had been around for 3 years) and knew that that was where I needed to go. I’m grateful God opened my eyes to the school.
Mom opened the door and I handed it to her like a deliveryman would, like the envelope in my hand was not mine at all, but hers, and needed to get to her quickly. She opened it and smiled, and looked for the “P” on the receipt. Nadie me puede tocar a mi, ni a mi cola, she said with a proud look on her face. “No one can touch me,” she said, “not even my ponytail.” Mom must have seen the “you okay?” look on my face because she said Tu vas entender un dia desto, cuando tiene hijos. “You’ll understand one day, when you have children.” Mom says this often, and I believe it to be true. I’m so grateful for my mother’s pride for me.
As she was putting away some cleaning supplies in the closet, she got a call from one of my tia’s who was put on speaker and congratulated me. “You’re now the designated ‘chauffeur’ for the family,” she said, and when I told tia to ask my mom to get me a car, she said “your papi will buy it for you, no te preocupes.” Right, I thought, I still gotta tell papi. Another thing i’m grateful for: I’ve got a papi, and he would most likely buy me a car.
After the phone call, I head to the living room, but I can still hear my mother’s voice as though she were right there next to me. She was thanking the mother of the woman who my mother is a caretaker of (wow, what a mouthful) for praying for me, and saying that she knows that God hears. Apparently she’s been praying for me for a few days now. Another thing i’m grateful for: people are praying for me.
And so my momma comes to the living room, and sits on a chair next to me. She opens her “Whatsapp” to her conversation with her partner, and presses play on a voice note that he left her. Sabia que iba passar, esa niña es inteligente.” yes, authentic affirmation; I cannot be more grateful for it. Later that night, he came home. I walked to the kitchen, and he looked at me from the dishes he was in the middle of washing and said, “Congratulations. I knew you could do it. Y Dios es bueno. I sent a blessing for you before you left.”
As I sit in my brother’s bed writing this as a part of my practice of daily gratitude journaling, I think to myself how beautiful these simple moments are, how more beautiful they are when I remember them in light of my past and current reality, and how even more grateful I am to be reminded to be grateful daily (1Thessalonians 5:18) – because moments like these can easily slip away.
Three years ago, before I knew Jesus, my mother and I did not have a good relationship, I had difficulty relying on family for financial help, gratitude was rarely a part of the rhythm of my heart, and I knew nothing about the power of prayer and community. And today, many around me can’t enjoy family, especially having a father, or financial dependence on their families. Today, many also don’t know the power of prayer, nor are in the heart or head space to experience a deep sense of gratitude for life.
If we were a few years back, I’d probably celebrate this “rite of passage” on my own. But today, I live and love Jesus, and he has changed my life, so much so that I have a million more things to be grateful for and can experience daily gratitude for what i’ve also always had. Today, I can kiss my momma, and laugh with her about how horribly I parked, but how glad I am that I passed, call my pops and hope for a car, and ‘like’ all of the comments on my mother’s Facebook post with a grateful heart. I can call my boyfriend’s father who also helped me practice my driving, who I wouldn’t have known if God didn’t place Jeefry in my life and keep him here.
My Practice of Daily Gratitude
Almost every day, (we’re working on it) I write down the blessings, included prayers and answered prayers, that I can remember of the day on this book of monthly calendars, and it has been a practice that has helped me develop a grateful heart tremendously (Just journaling has also helped me too.)
Babes, Jesus commands us to be grateful for everything in light of the God who gives all good things, and I wish I could say that gratitude comes easily to us. Moments like these, testimonies of the goodness of God, would have slipped away like dust blown in the wind. In knowing that, a habit that I have begun to do is daily write what i’m grateful for so that I can look back on it and remember God’s faithfulness. I invite you to join in with me; it’s been a blessing.
Con Amor & With Gratitude ;),