Switching the microphone over to my left hand, I hooked my right thumb into my skirt pocket to still the trembling. My always-forgiving church family might have attributed the tremor to nerves–and it’s even more likely they didn’t notice it at all.
But I noticed it, and while I find this symptom of Parkinson’s disease to be distracting at times, I’m learning to adapt, to live with the effects of my diagnosis. It came as no surprise, really. By the time the neurologist said, “P.D.” I had been having symptoms for over a year: a trembling right hand, a dragging right foot, joint pain, and an alarming decline in the legibility of my already-terrible handwriting.
I was grateful to know exactly what I was up against;
Grateful for otherwise good health that allows me to exercise daily to slow the progress of the disease;
Grateful for good health insurance that makes physical therapy and medical care accessible to me.
Gratitude is the gift that has slid in on the coat tails of mourning. I can still sit on the floor with my grandkids, lift my tiny granddaughters, and walk safely on wooded paths. The difference is that now I do it with an awareness that, like all good things on this planet, these are temporary blessings.
Of course, the peace that accompanies this realization is all grace, for my default has always been a slide into despair–a trait my husband labels “negativity,” but which I insist is “realism.” Gratitude and grace are divinely provided heart checks, pointing me back to joy.
In my adjustment to the symptoms of #ParkinsonsDisease, gratitude is the gift that has slid in on the coat tails of mourning, a heart check that points me back to joy.Tweet
Grace and Gratitude for Everyday Life
Michele Howe has compiled a delightful collection of stories tracing her own discovery of the life-changing power of everyday gratitude and the grace that rushes in to prompt the “thank you” in all circumstances. For those who seek to live biblically, the Bible puts this message on repeat:
Be fountains of grace and gratitude in your world.
It turns out that good theology is the most reliable wellspring of grace-filled living. I will live and work according to my concept of God. There is confidence behind gratitude directed toward a God who is absolutely sovereign and has my best interest at heart.
Consider using Grace and Gratitude for Everyday Life as a guide for a thirty-day Thanksgiving challenge in November–or any time you feel your steps faltering on the path of grace.
Holding You in the Light,
“The more we immerse ourselves in Scripture and allow its powerful truths to penetrate our hearts and minds, the more we become worshipers of the Most High.” Michele Howe (@reviewermom) #graceandgratitude @hendricksonpubTweet
Free Resource: A Seven-Day Challenge!
A Seven-Day Challenge of Scripture and Prayer to Pull You Away from the Fringes
I’ve created a seven-day challenge incorporating daily Scripture and prayer to help you begin moving toward the center of a living and powerful walk with God.
Last winter, I memorized John 15:1-8 and was struck and instructed all over again by the truth of God’s intense longing to be in relationship with me. He wants us! No question about it, but so often we behave as if we don’t want him.
Each day’s brief reading from John 15 is an invitation to abide with Christ, to pull away from the fringes and toward his heart. I’m committed to the truth that women can become confident followers of God and students of his word, and it’s my goal to provide resources to help you along that path. Subscribers receive them automatically, and you can receive your copy by simply entering your email and then clicking on the button below…
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Many thanks to Hendrickson Publishers for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which is, of course, offered freely and with honesty.
Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash
19 thoughts on “Celebrate Grace and Gratitude on the Coat Tails of Mourning”
Loved, “Good theology is the most reliable wellspring of grace-filled living.” and “Gratitude is the gift that has slid in on the coat tails of mourning.” I wish I’d written those powerful sentences. My good wife and I experienced gratitude on the coat tails of mourning in http://peaceinthehome.com/2019/12/11/growing-in-gratitude/ when we lost one of our daughters. I still have a lot to learn how deep pain and loss can be defining moments in our marriage. Keep lifting and loving those granddaughters.
Oh, I am so sorry for your loss, and I honor your steadfast faithfulness in continuing to walk with Him on broken ground.
I lean heavily toward realism, too. 🙂 I love this: “Gratitude and grace are divinely provided heart checks, pointing me back to joy.”
I need vivid markers, neon lights, and arrows, and God is all that in his goodness to me!
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‘the peace that accompanies this realization is all grace, for my default has always been a slide into despair–a trait my husband labels “negativity,” but which I insist is “realism.” Gratitude and grace are divinely provided heart checks, pointing me back to joy.’
thank you for allowing us to walk with you through this season of uneasiness and change. your vulnerability and honesty is deeply encouraging. bless you, friend …
Thanks, Linda. The biggest change, I think, is the awareness that I have a finite amount of energy/stamina. Of course, it’s always been true, but I never used to run out the way I do now. Gotta lean into my creaturely dependence upon an INFINITE GOD!
An attitude-of-gratitude goes a long way to keep as physically, spiritually & emotionally strong.
Great reminder that we are all three of those facets. I think sometimes we forget…
Your grace and gratitude are an inspiration to me, Michele! Interesting that you should bring up pessimism and realism. I wrote a post just two weeks ago about the three categories of attitude we often use to describe ourselves: pessimism, optimism, and realism. But as Christians, perhaps we need one all our own, and I think it was the Spirit who gave me our perfect descriptor, up-timism! (https://nancyaruegg.com/2022/10/06/better-than-optimism/). With your grace and gratitude, you are a poster child for this attitude, Michele!
Up-timism! YES! Somehow I missed reading that post, Nancy, so headed over now to get caught up!
Hi Michele! I love how you are focusing on all the things you have to be thankful for despite (or because of) being diagnosed with PD. Your great attitude is encouraging and inspiring! So often challenges can come into our lives and then we waste so much time focusing on what is negative that we miss all that is positive! I just signed up for the 7-day challenge! Thanks for offering that!
P.S. I’m glad to be out here in blog land again! I’ve got a lot of catching up to do!
Joan! It’s so good to hear from you again! Thanks for signing up, and I look forward to seeing more of you here in “blog land!”
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You’ll never believe what happened! Well, maybe you WILL believe it. Anyway, I downloaded your 7 day challenge with zero idea what you were writing on for those 7 days. But, when I discovered it was John 15, I just about fell over! This is something I have been praying over and thinking about a lot recently! My prayer journal this morning was filled with it… and my blog post which just when up this afternoon was about it! Thank you for allowing God to work through you to help confirm a decision I need to make! God is so good!
Have a wonderful evening!! Jo
This is all such great news to me. It sure seems as if God is on the move, proving himself to be amazing and active in your life!
I love you. And your realism. (;
Ha! Love you back!
“Gratitude is the gift that has slid in on the coat tails of mourning.“
I love this! I’ve learned/am learning That when I take the time to mourn the losses with God, in the experience of His comfort, I become even more grateful for His presence within me.
I think that, like Israel, we have to spend some time in the wilderness in order to learn how to worship. Totally counter-intuitive, and certainly no one ever volunteers for wilderness duty, but we learn from our seasons of mourning.
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