‘Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.’
Colossians 2:7 (NLT)
It had been a busy week. My to-do list was daunting. I was overwhelmed and those emotions spilled out onto my family. I tried to keep it all together, but the tension my stress was bringing could be cut with a knife. The laundry felt endless, the dishes piled high, the errands to run were a constant, and I had many emails and phone calls to return. “Just so much to do,” I mumbled. The day came to an end as I snapped at the kids to hurry up and go to bed. Mommy was tired.
As I awoke the next day I was convicted during my quiet time with the Lord. I felt Him whisper, “Don’t miss this.” I knew exactly what He meant. In my haste to be all things to all people and to complete everything that I deemed so important, I was missing that which was most important. Unfortunately, because we are most comfortable with those who live under our roof, they are the ones that are the easiest to put off until later and they sometimes receive the brunt of our stress. This should not be.
I wanted to be more intentional. I was so caught up in the busyness of life and ministry goals that I was missing the most important ministry- my family. I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to keep up with this pace of life and that some things just weren’t going to get done right away. I was going to have to be more selective on those things I said yes to and I was also going to have to be okay with saying no sometimes. I have been entrusted with this precious gift, my family. I know my time with my kids at home is short. I want to be faithful with what the Lord has entrusted to me.
Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work. -C.S. Lewis
One way to be intentional was to start a gratitude journal. I began to write out those things I was thankful for. The more I wrote, the more I could feel hope and joy rising up inside of me. At first, my thanksgiving was simple- thank you Lord for my husband, thank you for my family, etc. And then I noticed I began to look for ways to be thankful. Thank you Lord for laundry- that means you’ve blessed me with a beautiful family. Thank you Lord for these dishes- that means you’ve given us food to eat. Thank you Lord for my health. Thank you Lord for my car- you have provided a way for us to get around. Thank you Lord for your peace in our home. Thank you Lord for belly laughs. Thank you Lord for friends. Thank you Lord for your unconditional love. Thank you Lord for the sunrise each morning. And on and on.
Making this a habit makes our lives rich. It opens our eyes.
I have found that the way to increase joy in our homes is to practice thankfulness; an attitude of gratitude. It has not only helped me to see what I have, but it’s also helped my kids to realize how blessed they are and to not take things for granted. We have to look for it and we have to teach our children to look for it. I will often ask my kids at the dinner table to tell me one thing they’re thankful for. In all things and in all ways, give thanks. Even on the hard days. It becomes a way of life.
Another fun idea you can do with your family is to keep a thankful jar. Keep the jar out on the counter all year long, encouraging family members to write anytime they are thankful for something. On Thanksgiving Day you and your family can take turns reading different ones. This will help you remember as a family all the things the Lord has done.
Being thankful causes us to remember the Lord’s goodness and His faithfulness.
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Discuss: Do you ever get distracted by the busyness of life? Why do you think writing down the things that you’re thankful for is helpful? What are some things you can think of right now that you are thankful for?
Pray: Lord, we come before you with thankful hearts. Thank you for showing us what is most important in life. Show us if we’ve been so distracted that we’ve missed your blessings. Help us to always remember how good you’ve been to us. When we begin to grumble and complain, help us to stop and give thanks. I pray that as we learn to practice an attitude of gratitude that you will fill our house with peace and joy. Amen.