I am a little late for Free Write Friday. And now after I have mulled it over in my mind, my heart can reveal its contents. Even now as I write my heart swells..and brings me to tears the importance of being grateful. As I turn back the pages of my life’s chapters, there are some missing pages. Those are memories that caused sadness…the earthly father that I did not get to know…He would never know of the huge void I had in my heart, because I didn’t have a daddy’s lap to sit on, I would never hear him say” I love you. ” Alcohol played a big part in his life..I didn’t experience a father’s love. When I was a child my mother permitted some people to pick my sister and I up and take us to church. The details are all very vague and I only remember that it was a small building and white. It had brown wooden pews and I do remember that they used flannel boards. Over the years I had other experiences being in church, but never with my parents. I don’t believe that gratitude comes naturally. I think we are born with expectations and wants and grow up thinking that we deserve or are entitled to have. Life’s struggles are what shape us. Being resentful and holding a grudge is only damaging to our well being. Life’s challenges are meant to build character. Some use excuses for their struggles and end up being bitter and maybe develop a chip on their shoulders. As I got older I didn’t know what unconditional love was. It was not until I encountered the love of God and as I allowed Him to minister to my wounded soul I was on my way to understanding unconditional love. It has taken many years to grasp all of this. Layers of guilt, shame, unforgiveness, and so much more eventually began to peel off. Layer by layer. Learning to forgive myself, learning to love and forgive others. It all came with a price. Each day represents new beginnings, new encounters, learning, growth and now gratitude is so very vital and so very natural to begin each day with “Thank You”…. Nothing Missing, Nothing Broken..