Last year, I wrote a blog post on gratitude. In it, I confessed that I often bemoaned the lack of genuine gratitude in my young, unsaved boys, while I unfortunately modeled this same attitude. While I would be lying if I said that I have demonstrated perfect repentance and lived this year in a constant state of gratitude and contentment, I think the Holy Spirit has convicted me of this sin and driven my heart to the cross when complaints creep into my heart and, sometimes, into my speech and body language. I thank God for His infinite patience with me as I seek to live a life in light of receiving eternal life and unmerited favor at the cost of His Son’s life.
This year, my desire is to be more intentional about speaking aloud my gratitude. While I seem to be pretty adept at speaking aloud my complaints, my thoughts about the greatness of God’s mercy do not pass through my lips nearly as often as they should, and I need to share them more—including with my family. I do not want to model a “one and done” attitude towards thanking God for the specific ways in which He is gracious to me. For instance, there are times when we pray as a family when the boys thank God for the same thing repeatedly, and I have found myself thinking “Can you think of something else? We’ve already thanked God for safety at sports five days in a row now.” While I don’t think I have said that aloud, shame on me for thinking it. Because I thanked God for safety yesterday, does that mean I’m covered in that area and can move onto thanking Him for something else? That sounds ridiculous as I write it, but sometimes I act that way—as if I am saying, “I thanked God for my health last week, check, I’ll thank God for our missionaries this week, check, I’ll thank God for my family next week, and then in another month or so, I can go back and start over.” God, forgive me for any time when I feel like I have thanked You enough for anything.
The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. We should thank God without ceasing, and while we will not worship and thank Him perfectly until we are glorified, we can grow in our gratitude. I can do this by pausing as I look around throughout the day. I’m typing on a laptop. Thank you God for work that pays the bills for the electricity and for providing the means to buy this machine I so often complain about. I am looking at pictures of my husband and boys. Thank you Lord for providing me with a husband that loves You and loves me and our kids. Thank you for my boys and for allowing me to raise them and love them. I see a beautiful morning sky through the slats of our blinds. Thank you, Lord, for creating this Earth and sovereignly orchestrating everything that occurs on it. I see canned food piled in the boys’ room. Thank you, Lord, for providing for our physical needs and providing the means for us and others to help people who need food. There is no lack of reminders of God’s graciousness to me. I just need to look around and take the time to thank Him.
Gracious Father, I do not want to grieve your Spirit when He reminds me of specific ways in which You have been immeasurably good to me and my family. Assist me to look to You and see with the spiritual eyes You have given me, that I might humbly bow my heart to You in gratitude for Your grace and mercy, Your protection and provision, Your compassion and patience, Your forbearance and discipline. Help me to speak of Your greatness to others and to model this more consistently in my home.