Sunday, November 28, 2010

Count Your Blessings

It seems like an appropriate time to write about gratefulness. Thanksgiving was 2 days ago. I cooked for about 20 people. I had 3 of my siblings and their families and my mother and her husband over to my very little house. It was great. I spent 2 weeks planning. I made 3 trips to the market. I spent 4 days cleaning. And it was really great. I really enjoyed all of it. I cleaned as an act of service to my family, wanting them to be comfortable in my home. I bought flowers so the house could look pretty and festive. I cooked lots and lots of food, mostly just because I could. I baked my kids favorite desserts in addition to the pies I had planned just because they asked me to. I included the kids in cooking even when it made the process take longer and the clean up a lot harder. Did I mention how great it was?

Before I go any farther I need to clarify that none of this got done because I'm so great or because I am some amazing homemaker. No. It all got done because I relied on God instead of my own meager efforts. I decided that, God willing, this busy season would not zoom past with crazy get-it-done attitudes, meltdowns about pies falling apart or stress about things being just right. The only thing I did was make the choice to put my energy into the places that mattered to God, not in being right in the argument with husband (well, He had to give me a pretty big nudge in the middle of that one), not into worrying about the lack of entertaining space my small house provides but into honoring Him with a grateful heart. And so far, with lots of prayer and continual grace to keep tugging my mind and heart back to the right place, it's been going fairly well.

What kind of inspired this frame of mind was a couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon a book that is to come out in January: One Thousand Gifts. (I get a little giddy when I notice God reminding me of things He knows I need to be focusing on.) The book is about the author listing her gifts. It's a gratitude journal. The premise is the simple (and profound) adage that it is life changing to count your blessings, one by one. Last week I started gratitude journals with my boys. (To hear my 5 year old son pray and give thanks for his "cozy bed" and "the birds that sing" is something else that makes me giddy.) I started one right along with them. It's our theme for the season. Ok, it should be our theme for life but right now I'm shooting for the next 4 weeks. Living life being thankful for all the gifts we are given is humbling. It reminds us to share what blessings we have. It reminds us to love a little better. It reminds us what God's heart looks like. It reminds us what Jesus wants for His birthday.

Each day I struggle with that crazy need for it to all be perfect, the need to get it all done and not have any bumps along the way. But then my very smart, gracious God reminds me it's not about the end; it's the means by which we get there. If the presents are bought and the tree is trimmed and the cards are all mailed (with perfect little portraits of 3 smiling boys inside, of course) but the heart is not grateful it's really all for nothing. So, I'll count my blessings, my gifts from my Maker, so that I can be in a place to share those gifts with others. As hard as that can be some days, that's the example I want to give to my sons this Christmas season (and in life in general). That's the gift I want to bring to His birthday party.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hello and Welcome. Just a note on comments. I leave them open but I ask that comments be respectful. To me, to God and to His word. I will remove anything that isn't.