God, Gratitude, Mothering, Perspective

Gratitude: What We Have and Have Not


+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I’ve said before . . . it’s been a year. I’m choosing to focus on gratitude this month. As I’ve pondered what I want to share, the above quote stood out to me.

I have received much from the Lord this year:

When I tore my ACL, I had a great surgeon to help fix me up. And superb physical therapists to exercise me back to full mobility.



I have a wonderful husband who has taken on extra responsibilities so I could recover. Or write. Or rest.

I received the gift of a few days with my hubs, just the two of us, so we could connect and relax. Together.

I have two fun-loving, drop-me-to-me-knees-in-prayer boys who show me the beauty of forgiveness, how to love with abandon, and how to laugh.



I have received solid feedback on writing, even if it wasn’t quite what I wanted to hear.

I received an invitation to visit a friend in Tennessee. And the opportunity to rest. Breathe. Talk writing. And most importantly, talk Jesus.

I received a personalized invitation from God to go deeper with Him as I learned about my one word, Authentic. He’s teaching me how to live it out. It ain’t easy, but it’s been a humbling, intimate journey into deeper honesty with Him.

Some of the things I didn’t receive this year:

I didn’t receive a concussion when I “yard-saled” on the ski slopes in January. God protected me.



I haven’t received God’s censure when I grew impatient with Him during my recovery after surgery.

I didn’t receive easy children to raise. Instead, daily, I am offered the choice to either engage in relationship with our boys or to stick to my busy schedule. I’m choosing relationship, even when it’s messy, ugly, mean, and tear-streaked. And I love them more for their continual invitations to be present with them in each moment.

I didn’t receive children who keep to themselves. They love to engage in conversation. I love hearing their words and thoughts (well, most of the time).



I didn’t receive an offer of representation for my writing. Instead, I was given the gift of a mentor who’s helping me to become a better writer. And the gift of God working some healing in me.

I didn’t receive judgment from God when I got impatient with people or circumstances. Instead, I received His grace and reminders of His constant presence with me.



There truly is much to be thankful for from this year . . . both things I did receive, and I didn’t receive.

What about you? What did you receive that has you thankful? What didn’t you receive and how are you thankful for that?

Click to Tweet: I received His grace and reminders of His constant presence with me.

Today, I’m linking up with Holly Barrett’s Testimony Tuesday and Kelly Balarie’s #RaRaLinkUp

23 thoughts on “Gratitude: What We Have and Have Not”

  1. Thank you for pointing out the good and not so good. We forget that we face both in our lives but seeking the gratitude in both is not so easy.

    You are a beautiful example to me of striving for God even when life is not what you imagined. You share your heart and as a reader I relate to that the most. Your pictures in this post make me wish I lived near you. Our Fall color kind of flopped this year and now the trees are almost bare.

    I am praying for you as you walk this road called life. God’s got you!


    1. Mary, thank you for your encouraging comment. We do face both in our lives. I’m learning (ever so slowly) to find the things to be thankful for among the disappointments and “have nots” that come into my life. I’m not perfect at it, but I’m seeing the good in doing so.

      I wish you lived near me too! We could take our cameras and capture God’s beauty all around. 🙂 I’m sorry your fall flopped. 😦 That’s always a bit disappointing. Thanks for your prayers, my friend!


  2. Just this morning, my Elisabeth Elliot flip calendar reminded me not to let the “not given” ruin my joy of the “given.” And here you are with a similar thought to reinforce that truth that can trip me up if I let it.
    Blessings, Jeanne!


  3. Such a unique take! I’ll have to be thinking on this one- what I did and didn’t receive to give thanks for : ) Hmm. Thanks, Jeanne! Your list and regular witness to life with Christ is something I’m thankful for!


    1. I think that’s why this quote resonated with me, Bethany. 🙂 It’s easy to thank God when He gives us those things we want. But what about those things He doesn’t give us? That’s always harder. Maybe we can learn to find the benefits in not receiving those things and find ways to thank Him. 🙂 I’m glad this got you thinking, Bethany. And thank you for your kind words! I always enjoy your posts as well. You make me think. 🙂 And I’m thankful for that.


  4. I thank God for the amazing people He has brought into my life during my stroke recovery to help me through my recovery. Most recently, I am thankful for those He has brought alongside to help me in the writing of my first book. The experience has been challenging, exhausting ,exciting, confusing at times, and so unbelievably rewarding. I very thankful that He has not blessed me with a girlfriend at this time in my life. I believe God knows that my attentions would be divided from what he has called me to do. Instead, He has helped me find a Bible believing church that I can grow with and attend with ease. I am blessed by the teaching of God’s word and the fellowship with other believer’s. It has been such a blessing and such a dramatic change from just having to listen to church services on the radio. It is so amazing that God knows just what we need and when we need it and for that I am beyond grateful. As you can tell by my rambling, I love your post Jeanne! Thank you for challenging us to remember we have so much to be thankful for. This post was such a blessing to me. Have a wonderful week and may God continue to richly bless you and yours.


    1. Horace, I’m so glad you took the time to comment on this post and that it ministered to you. 🙂 I love your perspective of the “have” and “have nots” you are thankful for. I see, so often, how God uses others in our lives to walk alongside us during our journey. I’m so glad He brought people who have helped you through your recovery from the stroke. That’s a long journey, isn’t it?

      And finishing a book is truly a large endeavor. Congratulations on that. I’m like you. If I have too many things calling for my time and attention, it’s hard to focus on either one very well. And finding a good church? I’m so glad for you! There’s something special about fellowshipping with other believers.

      May God continue to give you a great perspective and guide you on each step of your journey. Thank you so much for sharing such a great perspective of what God’s given you! And I’m truly blessed that you stopped by. Thank you.


  5. I never think much of giving thanks for what I didn’t receive. Thank you for this, Jeanne. I didn’t receive a higher level of income this year, which we felt we desperately needed. 🙂 The bright side: it keeps us desperately dependent on God. 🙂


    1. I know what you mean, Betsy. Sometimes, it’s easy to see the good in not receiving something (i.e. a concussion from a stupid fall). But other times, it’s hard to understand what God’s doing. Money is a hard one. God knows we need it. And yet, sometimes He doesn’t provide what we think we need. I love your response. It keeps us desperately dependent on God. May He provide in surprising ways for you and your family. I’m saying a prayer for you and your family today.


  6. Your authenticity is palpable! What a gift that is to many, including me. Thank you for your words. I like how you penned the words ‘didn’t receive’ as openings for gratitude. I shall be thinking of that the next time I write my thank-you’s.


    1. Thank you for your kind words, Lynn. Sometimes, we just to be able to view things with a different perspective, right? I’m learning there are gifts to be found in what we didn’t receive. We may just need to view things slightly differently. And almost always, when we can do this, it opens an opportunity to trust God more. 🙂 So thankful for you, friend.


  7. This post is so wonderful, Jeanne. I had to smile at the parts about your kids … I hear a great many words from one of mine, and far fewer from the other. I’m learning to appreciate both scenarios. 🙂 I’m also thankful for the opportunities I’ve had in recent months to remember what it’s like to be 11 and 15, and to draw from those memories as I guide and instruct them in various ways. (Phew!) Thanking God with you for how He has blessed you this year!


    1. Thank you, Lois. I suspect most moms (parents?) understand those sentiments. 🙂 I’m glad God gave us memories to draw from as we guide and train up our children. 🙂 I’m hoping your week holds many great things to thank God for.

      Thank you, always, for adding to the conversations over here!


  8. I love your perspective of also being thankful for what we haven’t received, Jeanne. It’s hard to do that. I think it’s something I need to learn to practice more… It especially touches my heart that we don’t receive God’s censure and judgment when we become impatient. Instead He gives us grace. That’s such a wonder, isn’t it? Thank you so much for encouraging my heart! Blessings and hugs!


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