How We’re learning

by Larissa Traquair

There couldn’t be another topic that gets me more excited than sharing about being GR8TFUL for friends.

See, gratitude is my jam. It is what I am known for. God has had me on my gratitude journey now for over 5 years and my social media nickname/handle is GR8TFUL Chick! Being GR8TFUL, on purpose and daily, has become a part of who I am. And God has done a lot of work in and through me since we started this amazing journey together.

God started me on my gratitude journey after my husband’s cancer diagnosis. And, after I lost both my mom and step-dad – all within 8 months. I felt prompted to post 3 things I am GR8TFUL for every night. It started with my Facebook post in the middle of October 2012 – as a way of focusing on what is right, true and praiseworthy.

There is no formula in posting 3 things vs. 4 or 5 or 20 things. It just seemed like a good number. I also know that there is always, always, always something to be GR8TFUL for. I don’t remember why God prompted me in 2012 but I can definitely tell you why I am on this journey now. Being GR8TFUL is biblical. Being GR8TFUL creates an amazing atmosphere. Being GR8TFUL teaches us to be content no matter our circumstances.

I could literally post about being grateful for a friend, or friends, every day, as I am so blessed to have the most amazing tribe of friends. It certainly does not hurt that I have been married to a Marine for over 24 years now. I learned to make friends quickly and to continue to foster the relationship long after we moved away from each other.

However, I know gratitude and having friends to be grateful for may not come easy for everyone. I am an extrovert so I make friends more easily than some. Yet, no matter if you are an introvert, extrovert, have a ton of friends or have only a few, being GR8TFUL for them is one key component to being a great friend.

Life has taught me to not take good friends for granted. I have lost a few people along the way – it’s one of those not-so-fun parts of being vulnerable and doing community with other messy people. I still believe that being a great friend is worth all the messiness in the world. These life lessons have made me fully aware of how blessed I am.

My friends make life more fun and they bring out the best in me.

My friends help me get through the tough stuff.

My friends help me grow in my relationship with Jesus.

My friends help me celebrate EVERYTHING!

God uses my friends to refine me, grow me, and see the world in a different light. My friends have made me a better wife, friend, and follower of Christ.

How to Express Gratitude to Friends:

Here is how I personally express my gratitude for them:

  1. I post about them and tag them on Facebook.

Examples of this are:

I am GR8TFUL for my friend Tiffany who is always intentional about hugging me at church.

My friend, Ginger, is a great cheerleader – reminding me that God is doing fun stuff in my life.

My friend, Paula, is one of the most generous friends I know.

  1. Another way I show my gratitude is through sending snail mail.

Yes, I am suggesting that you actually buy a card, write in it, put a stamp on it (with washi tape if that is your jam) and mail it out. Everyone loves snail mail!

You can also treat your friends to coffee or lunch or buy them a fun gift “just because.” It is so much less about the actual gift, or card you mailed, than it is about the effort you put into your act of gratitude.

Your Turn:

These examples of expressing gratitude are fabulous ways to stay connected as military women. There may be many physical miles between us and expressing gratitude will keep us encouraged and connected until God allows us to meet again.

Whether you post about your friends on social media or buy them a coffee, showing your deepest gratitude for who they are in your life continues to connect you to them in both a positive and meaningful way. The world can be so negative and unkind – love your friends well.

Pray About It:

Lord, help me to love my friends well by encouraging them and showing them how GR8TFUL I am for them. Help me to pray for them daily and touch base with them as often as I can.