Monday, August 10, 2009

Without Fear: Telling my Story of Thankfulness

This Thursday I am posting my 100th Thankful Thursday post. To celebrate, I'm having a contest. Be sure to stop by.

Let me tell you the story of how my Thursday Thanks Tank posts started.

On Oct 19, 2005, my husband deployed to Iraq for a year. I was afraid. I was scared he would be hurt or killed.

Here's an excerpt from a journal entry that I wrote the morning that he left.

"It seems impossible to feel as deeply as I do. Watching Seth deploy was the hardest thing I have done. It was heart crushing. My soul is weeping tonight...
I feel so sad and empty. There is no way to explain it."

Here's an excerpt from a journal entry I wrote six days after he left on Oct 25, 2005.

"I am concerned about Jonathan. He is really worrying about Seth. Tonight he was talking about how he didn't want Daddy to get hurt. And he described how he could duck bullets. That was almost too much for me. We have been praying together for Daddy. Tonight David put his arms around me and gave me a hug. hen, he just sort of hung on. He said, "I miss Dada." I don't know what he understands but he misses Daddy. Earlier he said, "Momma ets go home." I told him we were home. (He has never said that before when we were at our house before.) Then, he said, "Dada a wreck" (which is Daddy Iraq). I think he was trying to say he wants Daddy home. It is so hard. It is just hard."

My fear overwhelmed me at times.

I decided to claim 2 Timothy 1:7 as my verse for the year.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."

Four months into my husband's deployment, I started my blog. I explained the reason for my blog here: The Weight of Constant Activity

About the same time, I began reading Christian blogs.

Fast forward a bit. It was 2007 and through a series of clicks, I ended up on a blog called: Without Fear

My husband was home but I was still struggling with fear. When you dwell in fear for so long, it is hard to get rid of it.

The words on that blog encouraged my heart. They spoke to the dark places that had formed during my husband's deployment.

The blog claimed Isaiah 41:10"
"Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

Pam, the author of Without Fear (this is her current blog site) had a weekly exercise called Thursday Thanks Tanks. I read her thankful thoughts and they touched me.

I realized focusing on being thankful kept me from worrying about things I could not control- namely, the future.

So, on June, 14, 2007, I wrote Thursday Thanks Tank #1.

Little did I know, my weekly Thanks Tank would help me become more thankful everyday. I had no idea how much it would impact my life.

Although I have been blogging almost daily lately, my blogging used to be more sporadic. My Thankful Thursdays have been the one thing I cannot stand to miss. I write them for me. I spend the day being thankful. I often make a large list of small things and then post a handful of items. I always spend time thanking God for what he has given me.

It is accurate to say that Thursday Thanks Tanks have changed me.

Pam and I are now more than just blog friends. We are facebook friends and we exchange Christmas cards, too. I am not sure I have had a chance to explain to her (until now) just how thankful I am for her and her Thursday Thanks Tanks. With the words of her blog, she began something that made a difference.

That's how my Thursday Thanks Tanks started.

I am better off because I take time to be thankful.


John and Carrie said...

What a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing it! I understand your fear. It is something that bonds military spouses and is hard to truly explain to others. For over 10 years, I've been married to an Air Force pilot, who by the very nature of his job travels a lot, often to dangerous spots overseas. I'm amazed when people say they can relate b/c their husband travels or work long hours. There was a time that I was worried about something happening to my husband leaving me as a single mom. I had to put that fear in God's hands (sometimes more than once). I honestly don't know how anyone could be a military spouse w/o a strong faith in our God. He alone gives strength and peace.

He & Me + 3 said...

jane anne,

That is so cool to read all of that it is also so neat to see how other bloggers have influenced our lives in ways they may never know. What a neat post. Thanks for sharing.
I love your Thankful Thursday posts.

Amy Hillygus said...

Thank you for sharing your story, Jane Anne. I look forward to reading your Thursday's Thanks Tank weekly. I borrowed, as you know, the idea from you as I was going through a very difficult time. The exercise really helped me stay positive and thankful at a time when it was difficult to see all the things that I have to be thankful for. Since then life has gotten busy and I haven't kept up with much, but the Thanks Tank does cross my mind often and now after reading your story, I will not miss writing what I am thankful for this week!

Alicia said...

That is an awesome story of how how you began these posts. The blogging community is amazing for that reason. I love how other people can be encouraging w/out even knowing it!!

MiMi said...

I am constantly amazed at how awesome the blogging community is. You can forget that there are people out there struggling and doing extraorinary things every day. This helps me to be more conscious of that.
You need to thank your husband for me and my family for going to Iraq and being in the military...for the sacrifice he makes and you all made when he was gone.

Missy said...

What a great story of your Thanks Tank!

I borrowed this idea myself from your blog, not knowing the story about how it started for you.

I started my Thursday Thanks because I often find myself getting wrapped up in the day to day life of being a wife and mother. I often forgot to thank God for the little things and dwelled on only the things that went wrong.

I have called it Thursday Thanks, but even before this post, I was considering to changing it to Thursday Thanks Tank.

Thank you to you Jane Anne and to Pam for showing us how to slow down just a little bit and to be thankful, no matter how small it is.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of setting some time aside to thank God for how much He's blessed me. I know I need to do it all the time, because He has blessed my life so much, but a specific time to do it makes sure I actually do it!

It also gives me a chance to tell people how much I appreciate them, and Jane Anne, I appreciate you! You're a great example of a fun, active mother and you've always been so kind to me! Thank you!

Pam, I appreciate you spreading this idea. I don't know you, but you've been a blessing to me!

sarah said...

So wonderful how God can use our fears and worries to bring Himself glory. He truly can turn our fear into thanks and our mourning into dancing. Thanks for sharring your story. Your are an ispiration!!

Anonymous said...

Pam blessed you and you in turn bless all of us who read your blog and on it goes. Thanks for sharing your thankful thoughts. It means a lot to me and makes me think about what I have to be thankful for.

momstheword said...

I have noticed your title but just thought it had something to do with active children!

I am on facebook with several bloggy friends and emailing with some and it really does build a friendship, doesn't it?

I will have to check your friend's blog out.

I think sometimes we train our minds to fear and get into that bad habit, then we have to rely on the Lord to help us take our thoughts captive (II Cor. 10:5) and retrain our minds to faith, not fear!

Mimi said...

Thanks so much for sharing, and thanks for the sacrifices that your family made to protect our country.

Rachel said...

What you wrote applies to so many of us - in so many different ways.

It is amazing how when we start to fear, the enemy does not have to do as much... we limit ourselves by imagining what we just CANNOT cope with.

And it is so beautiful that God is ENOUGH. Big enough, loving enough, forgiving enough... and His love casts out that fear.

Thanks for reminding me today!

Kimberly said...

i too am a stealer of the Thursday Thanks Tank and while I haven't actually put "pen to paper" or in this case fingers to keys in a long while to record my Thursday Thanks Tank i do spend more time on Thursday and everyday thinking about all that I have to be thankful for! thanks for sharing the story about how your blog started. it's been an incredible journey from where you were then to where you are now and I'm so thankful you've brought us all along for the ride through your blog!!!!

Pam said...

Wow! That is a wonderful story, Jane Anne, and I am completely humbled by your words. Little did I know when I started doing Thursday Thanks Tanks over three years ago that they would have impacted me so much or that others would pick up the challenge and run with it consistently.

You have been such an inspiration to me on weeks when I haven't felt like being thankful myself, and I've come to read your post before doing my own. You encourage me to keep on, and I am grateful we have become more than just blog readers. We are friends, and I am honored to call you my sister in Christ. Thank you again for your sweet words in telling your story.

Beth E. said...

This is such a touching post! How wonderful that you set aside your fears and concentrated on things for which you were thankful.

Looking forward to this Thursday. :-)


Sneaky Momma said...

What an awesome story. I'll have to check Pam's blog out.

Thought of you today when I read this:

Interesting... :)

RLR said...

I enjoyed hearing how you started TTT and how much it means to you! I enjoy reading your posts so much. Knowing that you are going to have one out there inspires me to get mine done each week (well, most weeks!). The important part is that it helps me focus on all the great things that happen in my life each day.
I'm so thankful that we connected, and that, through you, I found out about Thursday Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Your husband is one heck of an actor:)lol!!!! Lori (Jill's sister)
I Enjoy reading your blog!

Kristin said...

Thank you so much for sharing this; it really spoke to me. It is so true that focusing on what we have to be thankful for helps to take our eyes off of things we cannot control...and it is something that I need to be reminded of (often!) Thanks for the reminder. Going to make a list of what I am thankful for today!