GRATITUDE BORN FROM SELFISHNESS
I sat for a bit, pondering what I would say in this post on being thankful. Sure, I could start a long list of reasons for giving thanks, but so can anyone else. Then, it hit me. Although I have a lot of reasons to give thanks today, I didn’t always do that in the past. Instead, I spent a lot of time lamenting over what I did NOT have than praising God for what I DID have.
After growing up in a Christian household, graduating with honors from high school and a private college, finding consistent work, and having parents who graciously accepted me back home after I made some critical mistakes and had no place to live, I still wasn’t happy. On the contrary, I drifted more toward asking God why I had never had a boyfriend, or why I wasn’t married yet, or when I would land that “dream” job, or why I was living at home again, or where were those close friends I’d always wanted. Looking back now, it was quite selfish of me to demand all those things in light of all God had given me in other areas. And in hindsight, I see how God protected me in so many ways. Had He given me what I wanted when I wanted it, the end result would have been certain disaster.
But we are all human, aren’t we? And selfishness reigns supreme when we don’t allow God to guide our thoughts and hearts. As hard as it is to admit this, being selfish seemed to be a way of life for me. Sure, I *thought* I was looking out for others or putting others before me, but in reality, I was only doing that because it would give me something in return. It was *my* interests at the core of everything I did or said.
It’s amazing God stuck with me and continued to bless me in spite of my ungrateful behavior.
Yet bless me He did. And after a hard lesson where I lost several jobs in a row and had to humbly approach my parents for financial assistance, I finally “saw the light” so to speak. Immediately, I hit my knees and prayed for forgiveness, admitting my selfishness, my mistakes, and thanking God for not turning His back on me. I certainly turned my back on more than one person who didn’t seem to bring me benefit. And now, I cringe when I think of how callous I used to be.
Today, though, I’ve had a landfall of blessings hit me in a relatively short amount of time. It’s almost as if God said, “All right. You finally admitted you need me, and you’ve admitted your shortcomings. Now, I’m going to give you the desires of your heart. So, in the span of 4 years, I sold my first novel (which has led to 10 more), met and married the love of my life, moved to Colorado and the mountains I’ve always loved, and added a daughter and son to our family. Talk about everything hitting at once. I’m still reeling from the after-effects of it all, and it’s a daily process adjusting to it all.
One of these days, I’ll get a handle on things…perhaps when my kids are grown and out of the house. *grins* Until then, I daily remember to give thanks to God for His abundant blessings and protection. After all He’s done for me and the many bad situations from which He’s protected me, how can I do anything less?
Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood. Today, she is an award-winning author, speaker, online marketing specialist, and a freelance web site designer who lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have a daughter, a son, and a vivacious Flat-Coat Retriever/Australian shepherd named Roxie.
Her writing career officially began in high school with the publication of her first children’s book, but she didn’t pursue adult fiction until college where she dabbled in fan fiction and received continuous requests for more stories. Amber wrote her first novel in 1999, but it wasn’t until joining ACFW in 2002 and attending their annual conferences that she received a request for a full manuscript in September 2004. Two years later, in December 2006, the request resulted in her first sale. And in January 2008, her debut novel released.
She has since sold eleven books and one novella to Barbour Publishing with more on the horizon. Three of her novels have won annual reader’s choice awards and in 2009, she was voted #1 favorite new author for the Heartsong Presents book club. Other writing credits include writing articles for various publications, five short stories with Romancing the Christian Heart, and nine contributions to the book, 101 Ways to Romance Your Marriage.
A born-again Christian since the age of seven, her faith in Christ has often sustained her through difficult experiences. She seeks to share that with others through her writing. Read more about her at her web site: www.amberstockton.com.
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Wife. Mom. Author. Reader. Blogger. Amateur nature photographer. Chocolate eater. Encouraging you to surrender the good, the bad, and---maybe one day---the chocolate.
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