There was a time in my life when things were bad. Like, really bad. So bad that my heart physically ached and everything started spiraling out of control. When my ex-husband left me and our two children, I wasn’t sure how we were going to make it. I was alone. A single mom with a 2 year old and a 3 month old, with $200 to my name and no reliable source of income, as I was a stay at home mom at the time. When my ex walked out, my children and I lost our house because I couldn’t make rent. Luckily, my parents opened their home to us to avoid living on the streets. 

Not long after he left, I was working as a CNA on night shift at a nursing home. My parents kept my kids at night, I would come home, sleep for 2-4 hours and then wake up to take care of my kids so that my mom could go to work. At one point in time, I had gotten about 8 hours of sleep in a 72 hour span. I was past the point of exhaustion and was never fully present when I was with my children. Darkness was taking over and I felt as if I were drowning. 

The emotional pain, the fear of the unknown, and lack of sleep, became debilitating. I fell asleep crying. I woke up crying. I even cried in the shower. That’s when I could really let it all out without my kids seeing me at my weakest. My entire body hurt. I started to become bitter toward my ex-husband. The anger I felt started to consume me whole. I was terrified. Terrified of not being enough for my kids. I didn’t know how to be both their mom and their dad. I didn’t know what the next step was. But I did know that something had to change.About four weeks after he left, I forced myself to sit down and make a list of all the things that I was grateful for that day. 

Today I am grateful for…

  • God
  • Having the day off to spend time with my kids
  • My shoes, so I can work
  • The cold water in my cup
  • The joy on my children’s faces when I play with them
  • A place for us to sleep tonight
  • The beautiful weather
  • My parents
  • Hope

At the time, I felt like a crazy person. I was at the lowest point in my life; a single mom with no home, no money, completely sleep deprived, and suffering from severe depression. I felt stupid for writing this list, thinking that it might help in some way.

But you guys, this wasn’t just a list. It was so much more than ink on paper, and because I started choosing positivity, everything finally started falling into place. Every day, I was becoming less angry. Every day, my faith in God was becoming stronger.

Within three weeks of writing this list, my children and I moved into our own home. I was moved to dayshift at work; so I was finally able to rest. I was happy again. My kids were happy. They had their mommy back. 

Sometimes bad things happen to good people. We can’t control the tragedy, but we have the power to control how we respond. You can allow your tragedy to make you stronger, or you can allow the anger and the fear to take over your life. We all have a choice. I sincerely hope you choose the latter.

Yours Truly, MamaBear