By Donna Yearsin, National Celebration Place Director
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him” (Psalm 28:7 NIV).
Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. To truly show and live out gratitude requires me to step outside of myself and acknowledge the selfless gifts of others in my life, especially the gifts of God. Sounds easy enough, right? In my experience, living out gratitude is much harder than it sounds.
When things are going well, I tend to take people and their goodness to me for granted. On days that are hard, when I don’t understand why tough things are happening to me, I get so caught up trying to figure things out that a grateful heart is the last thing on my mind. I would rather focus all my energy on navigating my circumstances.
Last December, I found myself in the middle of something I could not figure out on my own. I was in a downward spiral emotionally, and nothing I tried seemed to help. With the encouragement of my husband, I reached out for help from my doctor, who then diagnosed me with clinical depression.
You may be wondering what this has to do with gratitude. I am grateful because Celebrate Recovery® has shown me that there is no shame in struggling with a mental health issue. Over the past few years in Celebrate Recovery, I have learned how to speak openly and honestly about mental health without hiding behind shame. I also have learned how to communicate my feelings without holding anything back, which has led me to ask for the help and support I needed then and continue to need today.
I am grateful for the leaders of Celebrate Recovery who took a stand to erase the stigma of mental health illness. Today I am grateful for the way God has used medicine, counseling, and the support of friends and family to help me get better. I have a deep sense of peace as I focus on God’s goodness to me during this dark time. He is truly the lifter of my head.
Step 12 says, “Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and practice these principles in all our affairs.” Being grateful for the way God has walked me through the past several months keeps me moving forward in my recovery journey. He is my strength and my song. Based on my experience with the Lord, I know my heart can trust him, and because of that I can sing praises for his goodness to me. He truly sustains me, and for that I am forever grateful.