Cultivate it: Attitude of Gratitude

“Oh how abundant is your goodness which you have stored up for those who fear you.” Psalm 31:19

After I signaled a thumbs up to the woman sitting at the front desk of the driving school, I left 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. I felt grateful that we were close enough now for me to share an American “rite of passage” with her.  Even though it’s embarrassing, I felt grateful for all of the Facebook notifications of comments from my tia’s and tio’s and old babysitters congratulating me for my win. What exactly were they congratulating me for? I passed my first road test.

I knew mom was anxiously waiting for me to get home.  Her phone calls before I got home had been a mix of squealing excitement and unbelief. I knew that she was waiting to see that “P” (for pass) 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 needed to take in order to take the exam, and the smallest sheet of gold given to me by the instructor that would reassure my mom that her daughter did pass the road test.

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 I remember passing that driving school on my way home one day and noticing it for the first time ever (though it was around for 3 years). I remember knowing in my heart that that was where I needed to go. That was God.

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. 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 to congratulate me. “You’re now the designated ‘chauffeur’ of 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.”  I’m so grateful for my family.

After the phone call, I headed 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 someone for praying for me that I would pass my exam. She was grateful that God hears… Apparently she had been praying for me for a few days now. Other things that I found myself grateful for: people are praying for me and God hears prayer.

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, and how simply passing my road test reminded me of how much I had to be grateful for.

Three years ago, before I knew Jesus, my mother and I did not have a good relationship and I had no knowledge that God is real, that God could lead me in my life if I trust God with it, and that God answers prayers. Gratitude was also rarely a part of the rhythm of my heart then because I thought that I had nothing.

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 mom and laugh with her about how horribly I parked, but how glad I am that I passed. I can call my dad and ask with hope that he’d give me that new car. I can thank all of my tia’s and tio’s, who I hardly appreciated before, for their sweet facebook comments. This glimmer of light reminded me that I had much to be grateful for…

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 ;),

Ashley

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