This past weekend was a pretty rough one for Matt and I for a few reasons. One reason was that we lost the one key we have to our van, and though we looked for probably 6 or more hours during the course of the weekend, we couldn’t find it anywhere. Of course, it turned up missing on Sunday morning, right as we were walking out the door to church (on time, even!!). After hours of searching and the girls missing their primary program, I was very disheartened. We decided we’d ride the bus to church, and on the way, Matt tried to get money out of an ATM for our tithing, but it wouldn’t work, either. I felt so low, unprepared, and unworthy, that it was very hard for me to want to try to get to church for the last 15 minutes on the bus. But luckily, Matt had more strength than I did and we walked with our 4 little ones down the busy street to the bus stop, of course skinning some tender little knees in the process. After what seemed like a long and sad bus ride to me, we made it to the church, hoping to be able to at least take the sacrament with a later ward, but we missed it. I felt awful. We sat in the foyer for the last 10 minutes of church. I wanted to hide from everyone, including Heavenly Father. I felt horrible.

About five different families offered us a ride home so that we wouldn’t have to take the bus. We accepted, but I was so embarrassed that I wished no one had seen us. I felt like a 14-year-old, and a really immature and irresponsible one, at that. We had been invited earlier in the week to a dinner at someone’s home, and when I tried to cancel it, saying we didn’t have a way to get over there, they of course wanted to pick us up. They were so genuine and kind that I couldn’t say no, but inside I felt so little and embarrassed when we walked into this home full of responsible people after being picked up.

The next day, after what is a long story and a miracle of its own, the key came back. It sounds funny, but it’s a lot to write about, so I won’t go into all of it now. Another difficult thing of the weekend had been my daughter’s birthday. I had wanted to get her nice things, as every parent does, but because money is so very tight, we could only get her a couple of very inexpensive clearance things. I felt so sad, because I feel like money is always tight around her birthday, but this year it is tighter than ever. I felt a twinge of sadness when we gave her the gifts.

So, these things had seemed difficult to me, and I had felt very discouraged about them. But as I listened to my daughters’ prayers and conversations over the next few days, my heart was stunned and softened at what a difference in perspective can do. Here are a few snippets out of their little mouths, in contrast to mine:

“I am so happy we got to ride the bus! That was so fun!!!”

“Thank you Heavenly Father for letting us ride in that nice man’s car with the fun movie we had never seen yet!!”

“When can we ride the bus again?”

“I LOVE my unihorn!!” (This was a clearance Halloween item that I probably never would have though to get if we hadn’t been so poor right now!)

“I’m so glad that we got to ride in Olivia’s car TWO times! She’s my newest friend!”

So maybe I should try it…instead of feeling badly about these things, how about this?

I’m so grateful that Matt was so sick one week and my keys were lost another week so that I could make a new, kind friend who showed me such genuine love. I would probably never have met her otherwise.

I’m so grateful that my girls got to ride on a bus, since they really feel they are missing out not riding a school bus.

I’m so grateful that money was so tight that I looked through the clearance Halloween things. The unicorn is her new favorite toy. :)

I’m so grateful that I learned so much about true service, unseen by others, from a new friend.

I am so grateful that my girls spent extra time with a new friend that they may not have made had this whole crazy thing not happened.

I’m so grateful that even though our key was lost and tremendous stress was felt, Matt and I still felt love for each other and not blame. I am so glad that our relationship is a loving one.

I am so grateful that I was given an opportunity to humble myself, stretch, and try to grow beyond my comfortable boundaries.

I am so grateful that Heavenly Father still loves me, even though my attitude was not always as it should have been this weekend.

I am so grateful that our key was returned after I learned what I needed to learn.

I am so very grateful for an opportunity to let my girls see a prayer be answered, and for their own faith to grow.

I am so grateful for children who help me to have a fresher, better perspective on everything, each and every day.

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