I don’t know how many of you have heard about the attack on Syria this past Tuesday, but I urge you to read up about it if you haven’t. I saw numerous Instragram posts earlier today regarding it, and it shames me to say I scrolled right past them. Honestly it’s easy for me to scroll past news images that depict pain and terrorism and death, mainly because it hurts too much to even bring myself to know about it. It’s easier for me to live in denial. Which is wrong but it’s me being honest.

I decided tonight that I would check it out just because my newsfeeds were being blown up by it enough that my interest was now peaked. There it was, “Chemical attack in Syria.” I pulled up the article, which depicted images and videos of kids being carried off and shoved into the back of vehicles, and women with gas masks on gasping for air, people foaming at the mouth. I saw children with the look of terror in their eyes, terror at the fact that their family was now dead, terror that they couldn’t find their next breath. It was all too much. Seeing and hearing about this act of terrorism on these poor people was too much.

The sadness was expected. Even the anger was a bit expected. But what came next was unexpected; what came next was guilt. Overwhelming guilt.

I live in a small country town in Northern Maine, right across the border from Canada. I grew up in Southern California and have always been a city girl at heart, so living here hasn’t always been easy. For the past few years I’ve had a deep desire to move away and start over in a new town, a new setting, some place warmer, more populated, with more to do. The winters here in Northern Maine take a toll on me to say the least. With each one that I endure, my desire to move grows stronger. Come this time of year, when the snow is still piled up, and the nights are still below freezing, I am done. The past 6 months of winter I have said dozens and dozens of times that I hate living here, or that this place is awful, and never once felt guilty about it. I thought I deserved to live somewhere nice, to be happy and comfortable.

BUT NOW, after reading this article, God has warped my mindset and shifted it completely. I’ve realized that God has placed me in a safe and loving home, with a husband who loves me dearly, and a precious baby boy, family all around me, friends that support and love me; I have everything that I need here in my small snowy town. I have more than enough; I never worry about my basic needs being met. And though in time it could change, I don’t have to worry about persecution or terrorism. I don’t have to worry about when the next air strike will be, or if a bomb will go off when I walk down that street. In other words living here is like hitting the jackpot. It’s gold. It’s what other people dream of I’m sure.

I may not have sunshine and eighty degrees year round. I may live three hours away from a Target and Starbucks. I may be unable to see my deck or use my grill for three quarters of the year, however, I get to live in peace and safety and comfort. For that reason (and many more) I am blessed. I am taken care of. I don’t have to be afraid. And for that I am thankful.

I can’t promise that come February when the snow seems like it will never leave, and my body is craving vitamin D that I will feel thankful, but I can choose to SAY THANKS to God who has given me this home. I can choose to praise Him for where He has placed me. I can, with sympathy and sadness take encouragement knowing that I could have it so much worse. And people do.

Syria you are in our thoughts, and our deepest prayers and greatest sympathies go out to you and your families.

Bonnie Ashby

I am a wife of three years, to my high school sweetheart Isaac. We have one child, a son, Josiah who will be three months next week. We live in what we like to call potato country, a small town in northern Maine, next to the Canadian border. Isaac sells lawn tractors for a living, and is our church's youth worship leader as well. I have recently just become a stay at home momma, fulfilling a long time dream of mine. I am passionate about writing and seeing Jesus move through the power of his words through me. I long for his kingdom to come, and my desire is to be a part of that.