Sometimes just the day after day – after day is hard.
Philippians 4 tells us “In everything give thanks,” but sometimes being thankful is hard!
Children whine or bicker until you think you will explode and responsibilities pull until you feel exhausted both physically and emotionally.
That’s a place I’m at right now.
But God’s been teaching me about practicing thankfulness in the day to day, and it’s helped a lot!
I haven’t been doing very much different, but multiple times in the day, I just try to pray and thank the Lord for certain people in my life and certain blessings He gives.
- I try early in the day (before I’m out of bed if possible!) to thank the Lord for each of my children as well as certain strengths and improvements I see in each child’s character. I often pray for areas of weakness too, but just taking a couple minutes to thank God for each child has been an essential blessing to help me remember that each child is something to be thankful for!!
Since I started making a point of thanking God for each child two years ago, I’ve become a much more patient mom! At the time one of my children was in a very discouraging stage of training, and I’d been forgetting that he/she WAS a blessing. Just thanking God for my child each day, changed my approach drastically. I could start enjoying my child/blessing and rejoice that God was working in his/her heart.
- I try to thank God for my husband. This one I need to do more. Sometimes our best blessings are the easiest to take for granted.
- Throughout the day as things come up – especially frustrations, I try to thank God for an aspect of them.
Of course it was the kind of dump that trickles down so that two shelves, two drawers, and about 30 food items would need to be cleaned up in some way. (While all the kids raced around in pajamas destroying the house, preschool was put off until –? and I expected the baby to wake any minute and start crying for her breakfast.)
But I thanked the Lord for the opportunity to clean out the fridge – since it was something I’d been procrastinating – and 30 minutes later, I had a clean fridge. God had helped me win the spiritual battle to not become discouraged with the powerful gift of thankfulness.
I posted on Facebook about the incident and a woman from our church cheerfully commented that it was good it wasn’t milk! This particular woman often seems to approach her days with thankfulness, and I’ve been witnessing it be a helot to bring her through a very difficult trial this past month. Two days ago she needed to have a double mastectomy due to breast cancer, but she has responded with grace and thankfulness.
Describing her response after the surgery, ” I asked for a mirror at the first bandage change and (purely through the grace of our Lord) I saw no cancer (not no breasts) when I looked.”
The past few weeks, she’s regularly posted on Facebook about the many things she’s thankful for – presents her husband got her, enjoying her home, and cuddling with her still small children.
It’s been a good example to me about thankfulness.
In His mercy, God almost always gives us some kind of grace to be thankful for – even if it is simply the grace to bear the trial and draw closer to Him!
- When I’m unhappy with my small or less- then-amazing house, I can be thankful for a warm, safe and comfy place to keep all my little ones on this cold (-17) day!!
- When I’m sick of my kids bickering or whining, I can be thankful that I get to train my kids and not someone else.
- When I lose someone dear to me, I can rest in God never leaving me and find comfort in His presence.
- Even when I mess up – when I lose my cool and get angry with my husband or kids – I can be thankful for the opportunity to learn.
- And when nap time gets cut short, I can be thankful for the extra time with my little 3 year old while I type an article on my learning to be thankful while she lines up princess dominoes next to me…
However, I am really glad God’s given us something like thankfulness! It takes our minds off ourselves, our circumstances’ shortcomings and opens our eyes to the blessings all around that are so often missed!