Exposing My Why
Many of you have been around a while and may have heard the story behind Jackzeeplace, others of you may be new and I'd love to share with you my gratitude journey and what led me to create our gratitude journals.
My husband and I have 5 children. Since I was a little girl I've always wanted to be a mom and I knew I would have a bigger family, at least that is what I hoped. When my 1st daughter ended up being delivered via c-section I was worried it would limit how many children I was able to have. Through much determination on my part, along with prayers, supportive doctors, and my husband's support, I was able to deliver the other 4 children naturally without the need for surgery.
Yet, after each of my children was born, I struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety. During a time that I felt should be joyous was so defeating. I felt so alone, afraid, and overwhelmed. After I had my 3rd baby, I went into my darkest moments of my life. A little backstory first: while pregnant with my 3rd baby there was a suicidal death in my family, I was moving halfway across the US to a town I knew no one and to a culture I wasn't familiar with. After she was born, I didn't want to be left alone, I was afraid of everything, and I felt worthless. I went to a counselor and was able to see that my thoughts were terrible. This was the first step on my journey of understanding my thoughts and how to deal with negative emotions. In preparation for my 5th baby, and to get an edge on the ensuing postpartum depression I would experience, I took a class on anxiety. It was in that class where I participated in a gratitude challenge, the one that would change my life. You see, even though I had been working on my thoughts and trying my best to understand them and control them, I still wasn't sure how to deal with or handle negative thoughts very well. As I wrote gratitude every single day I realized that I could change my negative thoughts to thoughts of gratitude. GAME CHANGER! I recognized that even among so much craziness, busy children, and a messy house there was always something I could find to be grateful for. During moments of overwhelm, fear, and anxiety I could look around me and find things to be grateful for, which helped me change my thoughts.
As I sit here writing this story, my 3 youngest girls are playing together and the love they have for each other is priceless. Allowing myself to see and feel those moments is pure joy!
This is why I created a gratitude journal and used the format of daily prompts. I want you to be able to reach outside yourself and see the good that is there. I wanted you to read a question about something you probably weren't thinking about that day and see that there are so many people and things in your community that help enrich your life.
When I was highly focused on all my troubles, feelings of overwhelm, fear, and doubt, I couldn't see the very things that were right in front of me that I could be grateful for.
I believe that everyone should have a daily practice of gratitude. If you are having a hard time thinking about something other than the same 5 things you say in your prayers every day, our journals will help you think outside that box. The questions keep you wondering what tomorrow will bring, they are simple to answer, and it only takes a few minutes.
Through this process, I have learned a lot of things. First and foremost I used to think my thoughts were too scary to feel alone. Like if I allowed myself to focus on them alone, I would do something I would regret or it would be too much. I would be afraid that people would judge me for being someone I wasn't and no one would understand that I didn't ask to have negative/destructive thoughts. I didn't want them, they just seemed to show up unannounced. It is true that in certain circumstances, your journey needs to include a trusted friend, a counselor, or life coach. I have used all 3 of these at different times for different reasons.
My journey is not over, and I still deal with anxiety, but I have way more tools now than I used to. I could probably write an entire book about the things I've learned and the tools that have helped me but for now, I will just end with this.
I would urge anyone who wants to find more joy and fulfillment in life to try practicing gratitude every day. If it isn't one of our journals then at least take time everyday to think about what it is you're grateful for. Learn to look for the good in life, because what we focus on we get more of and we attract what we focus on.
Christy and the family
P.S. Save 20% today on the *Christ-Centered or 100 Days of Gratitude journals. Use coupon code JACKZEEPLACE20
*Only good on non-subscriptions products