This past weekend I helped host a 20 year reunion for 50 ladies who, at one time or another, had been a part of a support group for stay-at-home-mothers that our church sponsors. Let me tell you, at this party, we had it all…
Free childcare for the six hours of party! Starbucks coffee bar with treats to welcome them in. A cloth bag (with flair buttons!) filled with goodies and all their registration info. Their choice of an ultra gorgeous beaded bracelet or bookmark. A catered lunch. A fancy tea party. A table spilling over with wonderful door prizes, including a weekend getaway for two. A concert pianist to inspire us and an awesome guest speaker from out of state. Twas a grand event!
Our speaker’s main focus was on being thankful especially in the middle of hard things, yes, even crises. Sure, it’s easy to be thankful when you’re at a Mom’s Day Off and being spoiled rotten, but how about when your roof leaks or the rent is due, or your child is hospitalized? Or in our speaker’s case, when God gives you a baby with Down’s Syndrome.
If we agree that God allows all things for our good, and that’s scriptural, then we can praise God anyway…He honors that kind of sacrifice. He, uh, actually even commands it. In 1 Thessalonians and Philippians we’re told to “Rejoice always”…and in other scriptures, to “Give thanks in everything.” These are divine directives and we as God’s children need to obey.
From a parenting perspective, this is such a great concept to drill into our children, as soon as they’re crawling around taking things in. I just have to share this wisdom-slash-cute story from my good friend, Jana. If only I’d been this smart in regards to brown spots on bananas. ;O)
Ever since my kids were little, when I serve them bananas, if they have a “dark” spot I’d go “MMMMMM, you get the yummy stuff. That’s the sugary part.” (I learned this trick from a psychologist I worked with pre-kids!) Today when my 4 year old got the last banana, it had a dark spot on it and he said “Mom, look! I got the yummy cinnamon!!” Rather than cutting this part off and teaching my kids it is “yucky,” I’ve taught them that it’s good. (I guess this mostly comes from laziness!!)
Isn’t this is how we should look at the trials in our life? Instead of looking at them as “bad,” we can see them as GOOD things God sends us. God has used trials in various ways in my life. At the time, it was a “dark” spot for me and I sure didn’t see any good. But looking back, I can look at it as sweet. His word says “… I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10
Pretty simple in concept, a bit harder in real life, but definitely doable. And so much easier for our kids if we raise them in these great habits from the outset.
Today we moved my oldest daughter upstairs to her own room. For about seven years now, she’s shared her room with her sisters and I totally advocate room sharing for bonding siblings! She is so excited to have her own space to call home tonight, but admitted to her sisters that she’ll miss them. Miss their talks at night. Miss blaming the room messies on someone else. *Wink*
Her little sisters were a bit jealous at the beginning of the move. They began retaliating by saying things like, “She can’t come in our room anymore.” But with a bit of encouragement, they were soon helping her cart her belongings up the steep stairs and letting her know she’d be sorely missed.
Teaching thankfulness is as simple as expecting your children to count their blessings. Are they upset because someone else got a pair of Nikes and they didn’t? Remind them that they have a pair of healthy feet and legs to carry them around. Are they wishing they had something else for dinner? Read them articles about people in third-world countries that have to walk several miles each day–both ways–to collect a bucket of well water pure enough to cook with and drink.
So many reasons to give thanks in everything. We’re just too used to having it all, huh. A little perspective on contentment never hurt anyone.
Praise the bridge that carried you over. ~George Colman
The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving. ~H.U. Westermayer
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ~William Arthur Ward
Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don’t unravel. ~Author Unknown
God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you?” ~William A. Ward