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November 25, 2011

A Word About Gratitude

Wednesday night before bed I cuddled with JZ and JM for a bit. We read some books and then said our prayers. What a proud mom I was as JM prayed, "Dear Jesus, dank you Uncle D's house dank you good choices, dank you my dog. Amen." We are staying with my aunt and uncle for the week, so he thanked Jesus for there house. He thanked the Lord for helping us to make good choices, and he thanked Him for his toy dog that my mom bought for him that day.

I went to sleep thinking that I must be doing something right as a parent to hear such sweet words out of my two year old's mouth. Well, Proverbs 16:18 is right, "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." The next day I wasn't such a proud parent. My sister and I took our kids to visit our cousin at work. We had promised JZ that my mom was going to buy him a toy dog like JM's on our way home. At the store he picked out the dog he wanted and wandered off to look at other toys while we paid. He was waving around a cool lightsaber when I told him it was time to leave. It was the kind you hold in the center, and it had two lights on either side of the handle. He asked if I would buy it for him. I reminded him that he got the dog and that he already has two lightsabers at home. If you could have seen the enormous fit he threw as he put the lightsaber away, as we walked to the car, and on the entire drive home you would have thought that my son had never been disciplined in his life.

As a four year old all he could think of was the toy he wasn't getting. As his mother, all I could think of was what he had just been given and how ungrateful he was acting. (Not to mention how mortified I was about his behavior in public.)  Immediately it hit me how God must see me. One moment I'm thanking Him and praising Him for all He has done. The next moment I'm grumpy, because life isn't going my way.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

James 1:2
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.

When am I supposed to rejoice? Always. What should I consider trials? Pure joy.  But I only need to give thanks when things are going my way, right?  Wrong.

I know I'm supposed to be joyful in all circumstances, but am I? It's easy for me to tell JZ that instead of crying and whining about the toy he had to leave at the store he should be appreciative of the one he received, but how can he really learn this lesson? I believe that children learn best by example. I can talk to my kids until I'm blue in the face, but if I'm not displaying the appropriate behavior in my own life chances are it will go in one ear and out the other.  Do I truly give thanks in all circumstances?  Do I really consider it pure joy when I face hard times?

God gave us the perfect example of how we should live in His Son Jesus. I don't want to be a do as I say, not as I do kind of parent. I want my children to be able to see in me the model of how they should live. I'm not going to be perfect, but I never want to stop trying.

So today, the day after Thanksgiving, I want to remember to thank Him for everything in my life, both the good and the bad.

On a humorous yet true note, I saw this on Facebook earlier and had to share:

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1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful post! While as adults, we may not outwardly throw fits like our little ones. However, most of us (well, at least me anyway!) are throwing 'inward' temper tantrums to God. Especially when you pray about specific things and it doesn't turn out the way you had hoped but God is good and you ALWAYS look back and realize it was for the best.


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