There have been times when I had to take money from my savings to pay rent.
And there have been times when I’ve paid 3 months rent at once.There have been times when I’ve ordered only water and a side salad at girls’ night.
And there have been times when I picked up the tab for all of my sistas and me. (Shout out to Sister Sledge.)

There have been times when I had to decline invitations to social gatherings because I didn’t have enough gas to get to the other side of town.
And there have been times when I could fill up my tank and pay $20 forward for the person pumping gas next to me.

There have been times when I’ve had to ask the clerk to remove items because I couldn’t afford the groceries she had already rung up.
And there have been times I splurged to host brunch at my house.

There have been times when I didn’t have insurance.
And there have been times when I paid the deductible in cash.

You should know, sunshine, all of these examples are real.
And they’re mine.

And I wish that I could tell you that these were all right out of college, you know–when everyone is struggling to make ends meet?!
But that’s not the case.
Most, if not all, have occurred over the last five years.

And I marvel that I can even admit this now, but I am grateful for each of the experiences, especially the circumstances where I was “without.”

It is in the “without” moments, I experienced God in new and more powerful ways. 

He poured out His love and developed renewed strength, steadfast endurance, and newfound trust in Him–which lead to a deeper, more meaningful relationship.

In all of these situations, God showed up.
In fact, He more than showed up–He performed miracles as only He can.

And it is in these moments that I learned the true meaning of gratitude.

Now this is not a message about money management, sunshine–it’s a message about perspective.

Paul reminds the church at Thessalonica and all believers today, that we are to give thanks in all things, not for all things. In the moments of despair, we are to thank God that His power will prevail and His presence will be made manifest–if we invite Him in to that trial with us, sunshine.

But you should know that in the without moments, I was not passing the gratitude tests with flying colors. It is a perspective that I have since acquired and now have adopted to endure present and future fiery furnaces of life.

These are but a few of the fruits that I have tasted through the times of plenty and need.

As we approach Thanksgiving this week, sunshine, I encourage you to journal the spaces and places where you’ve been in plenty and the times where you’ve been in want. Reflect how God was in both places and thank Him for carrying you through, for that is the secret to living.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear one.

Only love to you and yours,

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content
with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything.
I have learned the secret of living in every situation,
whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.”
Phil 4:11-12