This week begins a very special focus on Gratitude on my blog. God has given me the opportunity to know some very amazing people in my life. From family, to friends, to those I have the honor of serving at LifeSong, each person contributing to my blog this week has taught me so much about gratitude. From difficulties in their lives, to the highest of highs, each of these women have a lifestyle of gratitude. For them, each day is a day to be thankful. I hope you’ll take time to read and really reflect on what they have to say and encourage you in regards to gratitude.
Today, meet Mary. She is a partner at LifeSong. There have been few times in our ministry that have blown me away like it has been with Mary’s story. She has faced the unimaginable loss of her husband at a very young age, and in the face of it, Mary has shown me, and all around her, how to stand tall and look at each day with a heart of gratitude. Read her thoughts on gratitude and make sure you read until the end and her incredible story…
I have been thankful for God bringing me through all of the rough times in my life. I have leaned on him because he was the only one I could count on being there for me. There were days that I thought how he could possibly let me go through and experience the things in my life that I went through. In the coldest and darkest times in my life I have tried to honor and thank God for everything. There were times that I thought of giving up and just ending everything. But that is when I got on my knees and prayed even harder. Keeping my faith has been the hardest thing in my life. Through all the abuse in my childhood then to grow up and have a man treat me the same way because that is all I knew. One day I just prayed to God to show me that there is a better life for me and my child. That is when he sent me my husband Terrence Tonsil Jr. to me.
God had answered my prayers and I was finally seeing what the meaning of family is. Of course we had our own struggles in life but we were there for each other and we put God first and he led us to where we were in life. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if he hadn’t put me through the trials and tribulations I went through. I am so grateful for him leading Terrence and I to Lifesong Church. God knew that what was about to happen to me in my life that I was going to need a family here. We really loved the church and looked forward to going every Sunday. When my husband passed away all of my family was back in Nebraska. I had my in-laws here but of course it isn’t the same when you aren’t that close to them.
I am so grateful for Jeff and Amy Hickman and Lifesong Church they have been there for me through the toughest time in my life. I have so much gratitude for them for being there for my girls on the toughest day of their life. I wasn’t able to tell them about their dad and when I asked Jeff to help me out by telling them since I couldn’t hold it together long enough or know the right words to say. He came to my house and told them and my girls will always remember the words that he spoke to them about heaven and that their dad would no longer suffer any more pain.
Now after the year has come and gone. I try to focus and teach my girls on what it is to have gratitude and to show that to other people. To love people for whom they are not for what they have or don’t have.
I would like to introduce myself, my name is Mary Tonsil. I was born and raised in Omaha, NE. I moved to South Carolina 2 ½ years ago. I am a widow and I have 3 beautiful girls. My life has not been the easiest. I have been in and out of 11 different foster homes. My dad passed away when I was a junior in high school. I finally met my mom when I was 18. I never had anything in my life that was consistent or normal. I had my first child at the age of 20 and her father was in and out of her life up until her age of 7. Because of the toxic relationship we had I had to remove my child and I from the situation before one of us ended up hurt. We moved to Orlando, FL to start our new life. I ended up meeting my late husband there. For the first time in my life I had stability and love. He accepted my daughter and treated her as if she was his. We ended up moving to Omaha, NE to be close to my family and we stayed there for 4 years. Then we ended up having 2 children together.
Then we ended up moving to Duncan, SC to be close to his family so our girls could get to know them. After being here a 1 ½ years my husband ended up having grand mal seizures while on vacation in Omaha and was in a coma for 9 days. Once he came out of the coma and was doing well he was able to come home. We ended up to my surprise only having 2 months to spend together. On Oct 2nd we went to bed and I was woken up to my husband having another grand mal seizure. This time his heart couldn’t take it and he passed away at 12:14am on Oct 3rd. So now my girls and I are finding our new normal and moving in the right direction.