With Thanksgiving approaching, I can’t help but remember this miniseries I did during the summer of 2013. Reading through it recently, I wanted to share it with you again. It’s not all well written. It’s not all deep. It’s not always great. But here’s what it is: Honest. True. As I read it I can see my days progress from struggling to find something to be grateful for, to seeing goodness even on my most stressful day.
I hope as you approach Thanksgiving and Christmas, that you can see God’s goodness, faithfulness, lovingkindness in your own life. May these reflections be the starting point on your journey to gratitude.
I had no excuse. Months ago, I found myself griping over my kids again and realized how ugly it was. Actually, Tim pointed it out. As most parents know, the hour before dinner is a tough time. Stomach’s are starting to growl, minds are tired, and tempers are short. I would make food, snap at my kids and then complain about it all to Tim the moment he walked through the door.
I’m surprised he kept coming home.
My attitude towards my children was largely negative as I let myself gripe. God used the words from James 4:11 to make me pause: “Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another.” Do not judge others harshly. Do not gossip. Do not deface. Do not discourage, condemn, hate. Do not talk about another behind their back. Do not slander one another.
I was caught slandering my kids.
I felt challenged that day to take the time to be thankful for one thing each day related to my children. Be thankful for them. To choose gratefulness, not bitterness. To build up, not tearing down. To offer thanksgiving and for once be full of joy.
There’s been enough whining in this house.
So here it is, Day 1:
Today I am thankful that my kids make me laugh. I so deeply desire to give in to laughter. Laughter that’s not stuck in my chest, but can sink into my belly as I join the unique laughter God gave to each of my kids. I am thankful for today’s laughter in the midst of stress and illness (I don’t feel very well). I look forward to laughing each day.
Today, Ben made me laugh when he chose a unique way to copy his brother. But first, a story from about a month ago. Jack was getting dressed in the other room and he was taking longer than usual. So I asked, in a sing-song voice, “Jack, what are you doing?” Without missing a beat, he echoed my tune, “Putting my underwear on my head.”
Today, Ben wanted to do just that.
A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
update: Even today, Tim hears me complain. Even today, I whine. And even today, I need to choose gratitude. Lord, have mercy. Lord, help me. Lord, be with me.