My kids should be the most grateful kids on the planet, in my humble opinion. 😄They have more toys than they can play with, yet they still want more. They will literally walk over toys while talking about a new toy they do not yet have (that I am not yet tripping over). I used to get really upset with them. I thought they were turning into entitled snobs and googled Amish camps so they could learn to work with their hands (and also make beautiful furniture). I thought it was a them problem that their Mama needed to FIX! No. It was a me problem. They don’t have jobs. I do. They didn’t buy those toys. I did. They don’t have a problem with working. I do. I felt so guilty being away from them that I spent countless dollars of that money on them and things I thought they would like so they knew I loved them. Pretty pathetic right? Well, yea. I am far from perfect. And I really do not have this parenting thing figured out at all. But I know that I cannot expect my kids to learn something if I am not willing to undergo the sacrifice it requires to teach it to them.

 

I choose to believe that we all and our parents do or have done the best we could with the knowledge we had or have the best we know or knew how at the time. Maybe it didn’t feel like enough. Maybe it was plenty. Maybe more than enough. Or maybe it felt like nothing. But maybe it was all they had. Maybe you didn’t know all the circumstances because they were trying to protect you. Maybe not. But it is never too late to be grateful. It’s never too late to say I’m sorry or thank you. No matter what the status of your child, parent, grandparent, or whoever it may be. Write a heartfelt letter to that person. Ask Jesus to bring forgiveness or words to let your heart write it for you. The purpose of this exercise is not in the actual giving of the letter to the person, although you definitely can. It is to release healing into your own heart and I can tell you from personal experience, it feels pretty good!

Jesus gave us a family and no matter what that looks like or the circumstances surrounding it, He loves you and your family right where they are. Functional, dysfunctional, nonfunctional. It doesn’t matter the state. He came to set us all free to love each other without offense. Without fear. Without dread and anxiety. But we have to be willing to sacrifice and do what it takes to be free. Follow Jesus and let Him heal us.

It is not a fun, easy, or a short process. But nothing worthwhile really ever is. Having a grateful heart is easy for some. It is easy for me at times. Right now, it is not so easy. It should be. I can imagine God looking down on me much like I look down on my children thinking that she is tripping over things she has right now and she wants more? How can she not see what is right in front of her?!

And I do. Children. Husband. Home. Food. Family. Freedom. Jesus. I am not ungrateful. I am just not always good at showing my gratefulness. But when I look at the apostles and the Israelites, or even David; I see myself in their hypocritical times and their self pity filled moments. The enemy is good at making us see the bad in everyone and everything else. He wants us to be offended and blame God for our circumstances. And it works, that’s why he uses it. But. It doesn’t have to.

I love Pastor Craig Groeschel’s quote, “If you’re not dead, you’re not done.”

We’ve only just begun.

Gratitude 2015. God will never abandon us even if we are not in a place that we can acknowledge Him to the fullest. We may not receive all He has for us if we continue to wander, but He will never leave us. He never left the apostles. Or the Israelites or David. No matter what they did to Him, God loved them. And He is the same God for us. We can start by being grateful that our God never leaves us. David wrote beautiful psalms about how wonderful God is and that is great place to start a study of gratefulness. ❤️  I googled “gratitude verses” and Colossians 3:15-17 struck me as the most memorable. You know me, so this is from the International Children’s Bible Version. 😄

15 Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. You were all called together in one body to have peace. Always be thankful. 16 Let the teaching of Christ live in you richly. Use all wisdom to teach and strengthen each other. Sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Everything you say and everything you do should all be done for Jesus your Lord. And in all you do, give thanks to God the Father through Jesus.

Photo Credits:

http://godisheart.blogspot.com/2013/08/never-complain-about-things-your.html

http://www.picturequotes.com/craig-groeschel-quotes