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Welcome to another guest post in my Power of Gratitude Series. The author of this post is Melissa Cassidy of Leaving Busy. Her bio and contact info will be at the end. Today, she’s talking about a cue card of gratitude, what it is and how it helped her through a difficult time. I hope you enjoy it!
The cue card of gratitude: It all started with an idea
I got this crazy idea in June of 2010. It was a hot evening in Windsor, Ontario Canada. We were riding our bicycles down to the riverfront for the annual Windsor–Detroit International Freedom Festival fireworks display. Families from both sides of the border are drawn to the riverfront. They do this to enjoy the elaborate light show that signals that Canada and Independence Day celebrations are soon to follow.
En route we stopped at the home of a family to visit. They were talking about their upcoming participation in a 100-mile bike ride called “One Helluva Ride” in Michigan just a few weeks later. Somehow, by the end of that conversation, I decided that I was going to sign up and complete the 100-mile bike ride as well. Little did I know that a cue card of gratitude was going to be a significant part of the adventure.
With only three weeks to prepare I began riding my bicycle to and from work and planned a long ride on Canada Day to see if I was capable of such a long distance. Somewhere I had read that if you can ride at least half of the intended distance, then you can complete the entire 100 miles on the day of the event. I was determined.
Where would I get my support?
I tried to recruit some riding companions but my husband was working on the day in question. My friends balked at such a huge cycling goal with so little preparation. So in the end, I was on my own. The location of the race was in the US and over an hour from home so there were no friends to cheer me on either. I was saddened that this journey would need to happen solo. But I was determined that the lack of companionship was not going to prevent me from embarking on this adventure.
During my preparations, I realized that in the absence of a riding partner and other moral support, I was going to need a strategy for encouraging myself…especially when my strength waned and the distance felt interminable.
The cue card of gratitude and how it would help
I decided to make a simple cue card of gratitude listing every single amazing miracle or achievement that God had blessed me with in my life. In simple bullet points, I listed every blessing I could think of. I tucked that card away in my water belt along with Kleenex and Chapstick. When I tired of the ride and felt like quitting, I would reach for it and thank God for everything He had done for me.
I met up with the people who had convinced me to enter the event but very quickly discovered that I couldn’t keep up with their cycling pace. The terrain was hilly compared to my hometown training grounds and I was gasping for breath just to stay at their speed. I was holding them back. It was more comfortable for me to ride alone than to force a group to stay back with me so I waved them ahead. I’m not a fast rider but if I go at a sustainable pace, I can ride for hours.
The day wore on and the July sun burned hot. My water warmed, my lips burned, my neck got stiff and my hands kept falling asleep. While at first there were many riders on the route, many of them were completing shorter distances and those who were travelling the ultimate mileage were stronger cyclists who were far ahead.
It wasn’t a race and there were no trackers so some participants lingered longer at break stops to eat or visit. The result was that I found myself on lonely country roads at times where there were no other riders in sight. Only the race markers reassured me that I hadn’t gotten lost.
At last I could use my cue card of gratitude
Finally, I pulled that crumpled cue card of gratitude out of my waist pouch and began to read from it as I rode.
I recalled out loud how my husband and I had found ourselves sinking in debt and how God lead us to a money management program and we emerged 18-months later debt-free! I rejoiced at every need He had provided for during that intense budgeting period. All the little moments where God showed His kindness to me in seemingly insignificant ways and the crazy big events that changed my life.
All of a sudden, the road didn’t feel so lonely and my mood had elevated. Anything was possible and I was going to finish this 100-mile bike ride! God was with me on that country road and He was celebrating too!
The finish line!
In the end I made it to the finish line after a long eight and a half hours. This included my brief stops for food and rest. I was congratulated by a remnant crowd of strangers and given the best chilled watermelon I have ever tasted.
Then, I showered in an empty change room that had all the signs of earlier celebrants. I wearily loaded my bicycle into my van which was one of the few left in the lot. It seemed as though I barely had the strength to push the gas and brake pedals on my drive home. The border guard seemed incredulous when I told him the purpose of my US visit.
It was a private, solo victory for me but it was a victory nonetheless. It became yet another wonderful adventure to remember and celebrate. The simple 20-30 minutes of joyful recollection and thanksgiving is still my favourite part of my memories of that day next to the finish line watermelon.
Don’t quit when the road seems long and all uphill
Life has a way of taking us on lonely roads of suffering at times and the pain can make us want to quit. It’s been therapeutic for me to write this story because I am travelling on such a private road of pain even now. I’ve been on it for a long time and I’m getting tired and at times I want to give up. We all have a mental crumpled cue card of gratitude that we need to pull out and start focusing on.
“Remember the time…___________ and God did…_______________? Thank you, God, for your blessing! I so appreciate everything You have done for me! If You can do ____________ and ______________, then You can do __________ too!”
Not only does this very simple exercise brighten our mood, elevate our thinking and increase our endurance but it activates heaven on our behalf. Praise and thanksgiving bring glory to God and bring victory to seen and unseen battles!
What I love about Wendy’s One Exceptional life is that she has turned her unexpected life troubles into an enormous cue card of gratitude and victories for all us to read and draw inspiration from.
What to do next
So, if you are in a difficult place and feel isolated in your trial, why don’t you get yourself a blank cue card and start writing your past victories. Give it a try and see what happens next. If you’re not sure what to write or you want to take it further, why not visit One Exceptional Life’s Inspirational Resource Page or download Wendy’s new e-book.
Whatever you do, feel free to share your story and where it takes you because I know that if you are thankful to God, it’s going to be a good one. In fact, I’m going to find that old cue card of gratitude and add a few new bullet points to it right now!
Melissa Cassidy, from Leaving Busy, is a writer with a passion to help those feeling overwhelmed by life and disconnected from their created purpose. Sharing her own journey from chaos to calm, she gives her readers a candid view into her soul, encouraging them to see their own.
Over 25 years married with two grown children and one precocious doggie, Melissa finds her deepest joy and fulfillment as the heart of the home she shares with her family. She loves Jesus, sings off-key, plays the wrong notes, knits for therapy, and devours audio books or YouTube videos when she’s not writing.
Melissa has written and published her first book titled, “Coming Home: Leaving Busy To Save My Soul” which describes her life-altering decision to take a year sabbatical. You can follow Melissa on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Thank you for reading another post in my Power of Gratitude Series. I hope you enjoyed Melissa’s post. You can find the rest of the series in this compilation post called 6 Great Stories of the Power of Gratitude. Be sure to check them out!