In 2017, I started a Gratitude Journal, counting my blessings and giving thanks on The Anna Szabo Show Christian podcast for women. Mindful gratitude is how I can see God’s work in and through me. It’s become an annual tradition here at Online Discipleship For Women. Enjoy my annual Thanksgiving Journal and let’s reflect on life together!
Introduction to a Gratitude Journal
I first heard about the idea of a gratitude journal when I was a teacher working with children ranging from seven to seventeen years old at a boarding school in rural Russia. I was 19.
It was almost two decades ago and seems like a different lifetime, honestly. But the memory of deeply caring for “my children” is still pulsating in my heart as if it were yesterday. They called me “mom.”
Those kids had no parents. They had been abused, raped, used for putting out cigarettes (their bodies were used as ashtrays, exactly!), they were prostituted, tied to heating wall units made of iron with hot water running through it, and some of those kids went to jail by the time they got to me.
One of my responsibilities was to give each of them a daily supply of condoms (no, this is no joke, nor is this a typo). It was typical for me to find them in wardrobes (yes, inside small Russian wardrobe furniture) having sex. One time, two of them (two boys, 7 and 17 years old) almost killed a construction worker on my watch, just for the fun of it…
The memories of saving the life of that man and saving “my” two boys from jail are still so vivid… I wanted them to have a chance at a better and brighter future.
I myself had a very similar childhood background: was abused, sexualized, introduced to alcohol at five years old, addicted to smoking at ten, and encouraged to sleep around with random men at 16.
RELATED: My Testimony
I worked in jail while studying to become a teacher. I was 15 when instead of doing my internship for college at a Summer camp, I chose jail. Why? Because I wanted to understand the possibilities for my own future since I was brought up in an environment of anger, adultery, alcoholism, and abuse, yet I dreamed of a better future for myself.
Also, at home, we had the police visiting regularly because my family made and sold its own moonshine, drank, and fought the life out of each other often. They were adulterous alcoholics and had sex in front of us kids often.
RELATED: My Story of Sex Addiction
I was always curious about how I could improve the lives of “my” kids by optimizing their thinking. Their minds, I knew, controlled their reality, and I wanted each of them to have a better and brighter reality.
The only way I survived my reality, family life, and childhood abuse was by managing my mind and staying focused on the better and bigger future I was envisioning for myself.
I visualized often living far away, where none of my relatives could reach me and where I’d never see my mom ever again. My dream did come true.
I remember one evening, I was ironing my clothes in my grandma’s room listening to the radio, when I heard about a gratitude journal that improved the happiness of some British kids. I was captivated.
Even now, at 36 years old, I remember how the DJ announced a study done in the United Kingdom showing that those children who practiced daily gratitude were happier and had a better quality of life. This information changed my future. I started practicing gratitude, and it worked: today, I’m living out my dreams from back then, and that’s why I’m recommending to you the habit of saying thanks for every blessing every day.
You see, I myself lived in misery and endured daily abuse at home for 24 years. Just like those children I worked with, I, too, needed a mind optimization strategy to survive and thrive.
The idea of a thanksgiving journal was the gem that keeps paying off even today, almost two decades later.
Not only did I introduce it to “my kids” but also I myself started a daily gratitude habit finding at least five things to be grateful for each day. What happened? No rainbows, no unicorns, just a mindset change and a complete transformation of my lifestyle, personality, and character.
While I still was abused and hated at home, I refocused my mind on daily blessings. Soon, I left my miserable life in Russia and moved to America, but I took my habit of gratitude with me.
When my American Prince Charming turned into the Prince of Darkness and the police had to rescue me in April of 2009 from domestic violence, my habit of gratitude allowed me to stay sane, grounded, and positive as I became homeless in a foreign country without even speaking the language.
Here’s a book I wrote about my entire journey:
During the seasons of unimaginable adversity, of which I had so many, the habit of daily gratitude saved me from suicide because I was still able to see hope and the light at the end of each dark tunnel.
My story of surviving domestic violence and homelessness in America is proof of the value of the thanksgiving habit.
RELATED: My Story of Domestic Violence
For decades, I’ve continued my habit of counting blessings and dwelling on gratitude. My life has been far from perfect, and I endured many painful experiences, but this one habit helped me stay focused on the positive, have hope, and persevere with fortitude.
In 2017, my Christian podcast The Anna Szabo Show was born and as I was going through two divorces in my first few months of marriage with Michel, depression, and even suicidal ideation, I was still keeping my gratitude journal, writing in it daily, which was the key to my survival and recovery.
That’s the journal we’ll start with here and then continue into the next year and the next one, so bookmark this page, come back often, and let’s reflect together on our annual life experiences – with thanksgiving.
Sometimes life rocks and sometimes it sucks, but it’s worth living! The Bible says in this world we will have troubles, which we are called to consider pure joy, so that we can persevere, receive comfort from God, grow in faith, and share hope with others by comforting them in their adversity.
That’s what this blog post is for – me sharing my hope and faith with you to comfort you in your adversity and to encourage you to persevere no matter the difficulties you’re facing right now.
If my reflections hit home and you want to share your own insights, there’s a comment box below for you, so post your thoughts there.
Thanksgiving Journal 2017
I’m grateful for God whom I prayed to, asking to rid me of myself and make me new, which He did.
I’m grateful for the ministry God called me to and the 8,000 people He allowed me to reach with my podcast in the last two months in the US, United Kingdom, Ireland, Iceland, Canada, Spain, Italy, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, South Africa, and other countries.
I’m grateful for my ex-husband Michel who introduced into my life my favorite things, such as Perimeter Church that became a home to me and Devotionals for Women that became the very foundation of my ministry.
I’m grateful for the beautiful dating relationship we had and for falling in love with Michel, for our amazing wedding in front of friends and family and for all the adversity that followed, because on this very painful journey I drew closer to Jesus and learned to finally hear from God.
I’m grateful for the first divorce Michel filed for just a few weeks after our wedding, because that season exposed my character deficiencies, caused me to seek Biblical counseling, and allowed me to learn how to glorify God in the midst of crazy life circumstances and complete mental haze.
RELATED: My Story of Suicidal Depression
I’m grateful for the reconciliation Michel asked a few weeks after that first divorce filing, because my acceptance of him showed me that I finally learned how to love unconditionally.
I’m grateful for the second divorce Michel filed for, five weeks after that reconciliation, because his mental games caused me to dive into such deep depression and suicidal thoughts that I finally realized: my hope and identity were misplaced.
I saw myself as Michel’s wife instead of as a precious daughter of the King of the Universe.
My hope was in Michel’s attitude toward our marriage instead of Jesus Christ who bled and died on the cross for my salvation.
That season led me to discover my identity in Christ.
I’m grateful for depression and suicidal thoughts I experienced, because they caused me to be paralyzed, stay in bed, be quiet, cry out to God, be still, and finally listen to the Holy Spirit and actually hear. I learned to pray on my knees, from the bottom of my heart, cast my anxieties on God who cares, just like the Bible teaches us to do.
RELATED: My Story of LearnHow To Pray
I’m also grateful for those experiences because they allowed me to now relate to hurting women around the world in the way I would not have been able to otherwise.
Having experienced depression and suicidal thoughts and having received comfort from God, I am now equipped and qualified to comfort women who endured Narcissistic Abuse just like me and are suffering from it today.
I’m grateful for having experienced mental cruelty from Narcissistic Abuse, Gaslighting, Projection, Silent Treatment, and Reptilian Stare.
Had I not experienced those things, I would have not believed that they exist. I would have not believed that mental cruelty is a thing.
I’m grateful for having endured mental cruelty that caused my brain capacity to shrink to near-nothingness, because with my four diplomas and high honors from a business school and a law school, as well as a teaching college, I was always confident in my mental capabilities, feeling in control.
I walked in my own power instead of abiding in Christ.
Experiencing mental cruelty in my marriage, being manipulated into feeling crazy and worthless, all caused me to finally learn that the only solid ground for me to stand on is God’s promises and not my skills or intellect.
I’m grateful for having experienced Narcissistic Gaslighting and Discarding in my marriage last year that caused me to feel worthless and useless, devastated, depressed, and suicidal, because I finally fell on my knees in desperation to seek what God says about me and who God says I am instead of seeking the approval of my husband at the time.
That journey of studying the Bible led me to author 52 devotionals and produce Biblical affirmations for hurting women that today have already inspired and empowered 2.5K women around the world.
I now produced Biblical wall art – canvases with Biblical affirmations available on Amazon.
I’m grateful for all the adversity and all the hurt, for my bleeding, aching, shattered in microscopic pieces heart, because out of that experience was born authentic intimacy with God and the 42 Biblical poems I authored about Love, Marriage, Forgiveness, Narcissistic Abuse, and my personal Conversations with God – available on Amazon #PoemsFromGod.
I’m grateful for the divorce jury trial that lasted four days a few weeks ago, because there I learned how to love and forgive the man I married – every second of that jury trial, in the midst of public humiliation in front of our 14 jurors who dedicated four days of their lives to our divorce, Judge Dickinson who was very patient with us, our attorneys, and all the general public present in the courtroom.
I’m grateful for our premarital counseling mentors who came every day to our divorce trial to love on me and to pray for me, even after eye surgery.
I’m grateful for all the friends who drove to Forsyth county courthouse to testify in trial and to pray for me, for my friends who came from out of state to support me, for every moment of that public humiliation where I had an audience of one – Jesus Christ, my lord and savior, who carried me through and helped me stay humble and kind.
I’m grateful for the new motion Michel filed in October where he is now demanding that I pay $50K to his attorney to cover his attorney fees.
This motion taught me to never ever say: ” This can’t be.”
I now know that anything can be. Even unbelievable haze and craziness, even from the man who attended a seminary and worked at church.
This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for all my adversity, for this humbling journey, for God who is always faithful and has a plan to use my pain and tears for His good.
I’m grateful for the God who uses what He hates to accomplish what He loves, and who gave me a ministry and the ability to comfort hurting women.
What a privilege!
I’m grateful to stand here today and say: I can’t, but God can, and I am trusting in His promises.
Here’s the 2017 Thanksgiving podcast on The Anna Szabo Show.
Thanksgiving Journal 2018
I’m grateful to be on this challenging yet rewarding journey of life!
In this world, we are promised to have troubles, but I discovered that when I focus on Jesus and eternity with Him, I can overcome adversity by standing on God’s promises.
No matter the circumstances, the joy of the Lord and the peace that passes all understanding are available to me, always.
I’m grateful for my relationship with God. Every single day we wrestle. He calls me to follow Him courageously and boldly but I push back because of my fears and insecurities.
Of course, God always wins.
That’s why my Christian podcast for women even exists!
I’m grateful for my Church, my spiritual home, my community, my go-to place for processing life, supporting others, and serving the Lord.
My church is a place where I know I will always hear the Gospel as is and not as I wish it to be. It is an environment where I can bring my pain and joy. It’s a church that encourages me to grow in Christ.
I’m grateful for knowing that I am a child of God.
I’m blessed to have an understanding of my identity in Christ.
Every morning, I start with a big smile, a prayer, and Biblical affirmations because I know that every day I put on the Armor of God and stand firm in my shoes of peace, protected with the helmet of salvation, battling ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) with the truth of the Gospel.
RELATED: My Story of Spiritual Warfare
I’m grateful for my friends, supporters, and mentors.
It’s a true blessing to know that I’m walking with the wise and can seek understanding whenever I need it. God uses my spiritual squad to guide me in the direction of His kingdom. I’m so thankful for this.
I’m grateful for my job where I don’t just get to work but also to fellowship. Never before had I worked in a business environment where people get to do discipleship. We get to pray, do Bible studies, and have Gospel-based conversations on a regular basis. It’s a privilege.
I’m grateful for my neighbors, the people of all walks of life, good people whom I love seeing every day and with whom I love spending time. We share meals together. We kayak together. We commute together. We help each other. We challenge each other. We learn together.
And we laugh a lot…
When I think that God asks us to love our neighbors, I wonder why He made it so easy for me, because my neighbors are amazing.
loving them is a given.
I’m grateful for my neighborhood. Hidden away from the busyness yet located in the middle of all modern conveniences, this place is a heaven on earth.
I’m blessed to have access to the Chattahoochee River, the saltwater pool, and the hiking trails of Chattahoochee National Recreation area – all right outside my front door.
It’s a place where God’s beautiful creation is presented at its best.
During this time, firing with the bright colors of Fall, my neighborhood is picture-perfect no matter the weather.
I’m grateful for my ministry and for being able to touch the hearts of people through my YouTube videos, content on Quora and Medium, my blog, and The Anna Szabo Show podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, Spotify, and iHeart Radio.
It’s been a privilege to serve my growing international community.
Doing this work has helped me draw closer to God.
It’s been a journey of growth and of conquering my fears with God’s courage. Every time I record a podcast or produce a video, I do it scared.
I do it through Christ.
I’m grateful for the power of the mind.
On August 24, 2018 I was rear-ended. The car accident recovery was so painful. I was unable to work for a month.
Yet, with Christ, all things are possible.
God gives us the Spirit of power and sound mind. He blesses us with new mercies every day. Taking every thought captive and submitting it to the truth of Christ helped me recover and get back to my normal life.
I’ve learned how important it is to control our thoughts, which control our mind, which controls our brain, which controls our entire life.
I feel great again, glory to God and my discipline of taking my every thought captive and submitting it the truth of Christ.
I’m grateful to be on the debt-free journey and live on Dave Ramsey’s zero-dollar budget. Being disciplined with my money allowed me to pay off my expensive Prius and now my car payment is no longer $500/month. It’s zero and I own my car now.
In the last few months, I paid off my car loan and one credit card, all thanks to the works of the Holy Spirit in me and the discipline of saying no.
I want to be debt-free so that I can serve God in a bigger way.
I’m grateful for my health.
In the last few months, I lost 21 lb, became a plant-based vegan, did two 5-day long water fasts, built some muscle, learned to do a 35-second long underwater handstand, and have practiced 10000 steps, 100 squats, 100 arms, 100 abs, 3-minute hula hoop, and 3- minute plank almost every day.
I feel incredible! And I don’t get sick anymore.
I’m grateful for my cocker spaniel Bruno who is now over 10 years old yet is in his best shape ever both physically and emotionally.
He’s my first dog. I rescued him from Fulton County Animal Services a little over seven years ago. He had heartworms, upper respiratory infection, lack of trust, and no experience playing with either toys or dogs.
Today, Bruno has lots of friends, plays every day, he’s so light-hearted, trusting, and enthusiastic about life! He also lost some weight and now jumps so high, it’s easy to confuse him for a squirrel.
I’m grateful for my safe and peaceful home.
No matter what’s going on in the outside world, when I come home, I enter a calm atmosphere and sanctuary-like environment. It’s a beautiful place where I can relax my mind, recharge my energy, and restore my focus on what truly matters in life.
I love my beautiful home and I’m so thankful for it.
I’m grateful for YOU – the woman listening to The Anna Szabo Show, reading my blog, and watching my YouTube videos.
This journey of online discipleship had started for me with YOU.
God placed the idea of this ministry in my heart and I resented. But now I see how Online Discipleship For Women was what John 7:38 calls the rivers of living water flowing from deep within me.
I am inspired by your genuine comments, your heart-touching life stories shared with me on Quora, in podcast reviews, in YouTube comments, on Facebook messenger, and via email.
Thank you for following Jesus with me.
Below is the 2018 Thanksgiving podcast on The Anna Szabo Show.
Thanksgiving Journal 2019
It’s time to say goodbye to 2019 and welcome the next decade into our lives. Today is December 31st, New Year’s Eve, and I am sharing with you my Annual Gratitude Journal since it has become a tradition here on The Anna Szabo Show.
This has been the best year of my life! As you know, I’ve endured a lot in the past:
- My Narcissist Mother Story
- My Sex Addiction Story
- My Domestic Violence Story
- My Narcissist Relationship Abuse Story
- My Salvation Story and Testimony
- My Spiritual Warfare Story
- My Depression Story
- My Suicide Story
- My Identity Transformation Story
- My Story of Faith and Fortitude
I was married to a Narcissist who broke me to pieces in 2016 and 2017, I was abused and molested as a child, I came to America as a mail-ordered bride and experienced Domestic Violence, which I escaped only to become homeless in a foreign country without speaking any English.
It was 10 years ago. But this year, I’ve seen that God truly gives us beauty for ashes. So… Without further ado, here’s my 2019 Thanksgiving Journal!
I’m grateful for my friends Rebecca, María, Gormah, Mildred, Candace, Christophe, Mary, Jennifer, Jessica, Lee, John, Jerry, Felicia, Anna, and Jeff.
Those are the people who encouraged me in so many ways this year, that I catapulted myself out of my comfort zone AND here’s what happened.
What Happened When I Quit My Job at FunnelAmplified
I spoke publicly about my faith in God more that 20 times this year.
I launched my Christian ministry called Online Discipleship For Women on September 22nd, and it touched the hearts and minds of 2413 in the last three months, AND you, guys, started giving donations using the donate button on my website, for which I’m so grateful.
I created a collection of 20 paintings, each with a take about life, God, people, faith, fortitude, Jesus, and wisdom. I named this collection #PaintingsWithTales and built my first-ever Etsy shop called AnnaSzaboArt where now all of my paintings are displayed.
I wrote over 1,000,000 words of content for my ministry to help encourage and empower women, all available on AnnaSzabo.com/blog.
I helped a homeless pregnant African-American teen get off the streets and get her life back on track.
I produced and launched 125 brand-new Christian products for Women with encouraging Biblical Affirmations about Identity in Christ, and women have been showing up everywhere wearing the hoodies, shirts, tank tops, I designed and drinking tea out of the inspirational Christian mugs from my store on TeeSpring called AnnaSzaboArt.
I challenged my body and mind, took a cold shower every day this year, ate healthily, drank a green homemade smoothie every day, and I went all year without getting sick, for the first time in my life.
I won several Best Speaker awards at Toastmasters.
I supported 13 victims of Domestic Violence.
I taught SMART goals to a dozen ambitious African-American women who dream of changing the world;
I’ve created two dozens of helpful guides on how to survive narcissistic abuse, domestic violence, addictions, and they are available on my Pinterest, at Pinterest.com/AnnaSzaboJDMBA
I published a new book called “How Princess Lana Developed Faith and Fortitude,” it’s on Amazon under my pen name Anna Stevens;
I led a woman to Christ and I shared the Gospel with a Muslim woman and a Hindu woman this year.
And all of this happened after I quit my marketing job at FunnelAmplified in February.
So… here’s exactly what I’m grateful for in 2019…
I’m grateful for FunnelAmplified, the new technology brand I launched at the beginning of 2019. As the Director of Marketing there, I got to build the new tech brand from scratch: its value proposition, all of its digital assets, website, podcast, YouTube, social media, marketing automation, and thousands of words of incredibly-valuable content I personally wrote, filmed, and produced for that SaaS brand.
I built and launched it in only 32 business days, and that led to my discovery of my remarkable talents, skills, and strengths.
Which I decided to use for God.
So… I quit that job in February to focus all of my abilities on establishing and developing my ministry, Online Discipleship For Women.
It was a wise decision and oh what a journey it has been!
I’m grateful for marketing contracts that followed within just 90 min of my resignation from the job.
I’m grateful for marketing contracts that followed within just 90 min of my resignation from the job at FunnelAmplified.
The marketing contracts I worked opened so many unique doors for me!
I’m grateful for marketing contracts that followed within just 90 min of my resignation from the job at FunnelAmplified.
The marketing contracts I worked opened so many unique doors for me!
I met and got to work closely with many creative people, which changed my life forever by helping me discover my identity as an artist!
I’m grateful for Historic Norcross and the Heart of Norcross campaign I designed and launched in March of 2019 for the merchants of the Historic Norcross Business Association.
That project led me to explode with creativity and start painting, which resulted in the birth of my spiritual collection of original acrylic impasto art called #PaintingsWithTales available at AnnaSzaboArt.etsy.com now.
I’m grateful for the outpouring of unimaginably unique creativity this year, which led me to design 125 new Christian products: shirts, hoodies, tank tops, flowies, mugs, pillows, wall decor, and so much more!
All those bright and beautiful designs can be found right now at TeeSpring.com/Stores/AnnaSzaboArt
I’m grateful for a very unexpected, one of a kind creative gift received this year in March. What happened? My heart exploded with Christian fairytales. What? Yes, I know… it was so divine!
All three fairytales came to me at once, and the next day I already had the book published on Amazon. It’s called How Princess Lana Developed Faith and Fortitude.
It is a series of three Christian fairytales that are 100% autobiographical.
You can find the book on Amazon by searching “How Princess Lana Developed Faith and Fortitude.”
I’m grateful for my ministry Online Discipleship For Women.
God called me to ministry in 2017, and I initially resented it.
You see, I struggle with Impostor Syndrome.
I felt like I wasn’t qualified, wasn’t ready, wasn’t the one. But God did not need my permission. He didn’t ask for me to sign a contract accepting His calling on my life.
God did not worry about my Impostor Syndrome, He simply kept calling me toward my purpose, stirring up on the inside my passion for His will, making it clear what He wants me to do with my life.
And so, I got busy with the doing of it.
I produced 1,000,000 words of content for my blog, AnnaSzabo.com and I started speaking publicly sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all people.
At first, I was freaking out, going blank, and nearly fading from anxiety. But guess what?
God did not give up on me.
Practice makes perfect, and this year, I became very comfortable sharing my story of God’s glory in front of large live audiences to encourage and empower people.
And I’m so grateful for this experience!
By the way, if you’re looking for a speaker for your next event, book me at AnnaSzabo.com/speaking
Here are just some testimonials I received about the impact my message has had on the women who got to hear me speak in 2019.
If your employer or your church or your association are looking for speakers, book me to speak at your event at AnnaSzabo.com/speaking.
I’m grateful for all the women who became a part of my community and supported my ministry by purchasing my Princess shirt on Amazon.
I’m grateful for all the women who became a part of my community and supported my ministry by purchasing my Princess shirts on Amazon that say: I am a Princess, a daughter of the King, loved and accepted, sanctified and redeemed. Women bought these shirts on Amazon for themselves, their daughters, sisters, moms, friends, and coworkers, and you can get one by searching for a hashtag #52Devotionals in Amazon search box.
When I see a woman wearing my shirt design that reads “I am a Princess, a daughter of the kind, loved and accepted, sanctified and redeemed” my heart sings.
I have a vision.
Someday soon, I will host a woman’s conference focused on God and His promises. And at my Christian conference, every woman will walk around wearing a beautiful shirt that reads “I am a Princess,” that’s why I designed my collection of Christian apparel for women available on Amazon under the hashtag #52Devotionals.
I’m grateful for the 12 excellent books I read in the last 12 months, especially the book called “What Do You Say After You Say Hello” which enabled me to understand how what happened to me in my early years impacted my entire life.
That led me to helping several women through effective coaching.
You can learn more about it at AnnaSzabo.com/coaching
I’m grateful for Toastmasters which I began attending in the Summer, first as a guest, then as a member.
I won a few Best Speaker ribbons and met new friends there, experienced some significant breakthroughs, and received invitations to speak all over Atlanta. To learn more about my speaking, check out AnnaSzabo.com/speaking
I’m grateful for Bruno, my beautiful and smart rescue Cocker Spaniel, a red-white ball of pure joy. He recently went to heaven after our eight incredible years together.
While the grief I experienced was unbearable, I am grateful for every moment we spent together hiking, kayaking, snuggling, traveling, playing the ball, and exploring the world.
I love you, Bruno, you’re alive in my heart forever!
I’m grateful for my health.
I haven’t been sick for 12 months, thanks to my healthy habits and my powerful daily routine.
NOT getting sick saved me so much money, time, energy, and effort, which I was able to invest into doing the things I’m passionate about, such as my blog AnnaSzabo.com/blog.
If you want to learn how my wellness maintenance is done and what specifically I do to be very healthy every day, every week, every month, all year long, ask me any questions in the comments below.
I’m grateful for my friends.
I love spending quality time with wise people who are introspective and reflective, so we can share wisdom and life lessons learned.
This year, I was able to take a trip to my favorite place – Asheville, NC, visiting The Biltmore House and the Blueridge Parkway for the eighth time!
I had a healthy homemade lunch with a friend in the mountains, overlooking God’s majestic creation, next to some gorgeous horses.
I am grateful for my friend Rebecca who met with me at 5:30 am on Saturdays for a healthy homemade breakfast at my home to talk about our personal development and spiritual growth, as well as what God is doing in and through us.
I’m grateful for my friend María for her courage to do a Bible study about the Armor of God and Spiritual Warfare, which is the topic most people avoid but I’m passionate about, and so is María. I’m thankful that she took me out and showed me the beauty in our city, multiple times this year, especially for her ability to genuinely appreciate small things, such as flowers and frogs.
I’m grateful for my friends who challenged me this year to grow, to step out of my comfort zone, to write, to publish, to film, to create, to produce, to pain, to speak up, and to live out my story of God’s amazing glory!
I’m grateful for my upcoming birthday.
I remember in 2017 I was so depressed and suicidal that I didn’t want to celebrate my birthday.
God healed my heart, and I love my life again.
I am so excited about my birthday and I want to celebrate it, yes, I do! My friend Jennifer is hosting a party to celebrate my life, and I’m so grateful. I can’t wait 18 more days, is it my birthday yet?
I’m excited about my life: my past, my present, and my future. I love it all – the entire journey!
RELATED: Read My Collection of 100+ Poems
I now have two jars at home and 96 beautiful, very complex natural rocks. They are as complex as I am, with so many patterns that are complicated yet beautiful.
One jar has 36 rocks. The other jar has 60 rocks. Total of 96 rocks. That’s how long I’m going to live. I’m 36 now, and on January 18th, 2020 I’m going to move one rock from the larger jar into the smaller one.
And I’ll do the same every year till I turn 96 and there will be no rocks left in the large jar. Then, I will die peacefully in my bed reading a good book.
The jars with the 96 rocks help me be mindful of my life and make every day count. My life matters. Every year and every day of my life matters.
So, yes, I am excited to celebrate my birthday on January 18th 2020, giving God all the glory for my story.
I’m grateful for Jesus in my life who leads and guides me and helps me help others. I’m grateful that He guided me to help a homeless pregnant African-American teen whose purple hair and tears I spotted as I was coming back home on Tuesday afternoon, November 19th, 2019.
RELATED: My Story of Kindness
I turned my car around, stopped, parked, walked up to her.
Found out she was contemplating suicide. I got to practice love as action through a simple act of kindness.
If you’re curious to find out more details about what happened to her and how I was able to get her a home, clothes, shoes, underwear, and money, read the full story on AnnaSzabo.com/How-To-Be-Kind.
I’m grateful for my habit of giving thanks. This simple practice helps me be intentional in my daily life, focus my mind on whatever is praiseworthy and honorable, as the Bible teaches us, and counting my blessings also keeps me young, joyful, and healthy.
I’m grateful that what I’m creating in the world making women’s lives better and helps me to encourage and empower women.
Recently, one woman called and told me about her financial struggles. She now uses my prayer called “Praying for Prosperity” to reach out to God daily. When she read it, she wept. When her daughter read it, she wept. And that showed me once again that God is working in me and through me in His kingdom.
This was my 2019 in review, the best year of my life!
What are you grateful for this year?
Let me know in the comments at AnnaSzabo.com/thanksgiving
This annual Thanksgiving Journal offered you an overview of my life, heart, and the habit of keeping a gratitude journal, counting blessings, focusing on God’s promises, and experiencing His joy, even in the midst of the most difficult circumstances.
If you’d like to download all 52 devotionals I mentioned here, you can get my free ebook right now and start benefiting from the 52 Biblical affirmations I created for you, helping you stay empowered every day.
I hope my story shows you how YOU can improve your reality and build a better future for yourself by focusing your mind of gratitude. Giving thanks every day will help you experience peace, serenity, and better health.
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Anna Szabo is the founder of Online Discipleship For Women, a Christian ministry committed to alleviating suicide among women globally by sharing hope in Christ. Anna teaches how to create a joyful life by embracing God’s word based on her own journey of faith and fortitude.
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