Saturday, November 24, 2007

On Thankfulness . . .

Well, Thanksgiving Day has come and gone and a few thoughts have been rattling around in my brain that I wanted to share with you all. After a busy week of preparing for Thanksgiving, a wonderful day shared with friends, and definitely full tummies, I left our celebration in a reflective mood. There's always some let-down after a big event, especially when the event has taken lots of energy and hard work. But, when all the food had been prepared, eaten, and cleaned up, I suppose I was just pondering again what I'm thankful for, and how I desire to have more of a spirit of thankfulness on a daily basis. I was also contemplating how I can encourage attitudes of thanksgiving in my children.

One thought that encouraged me came from my friend Gretchen. She wrote on her blog how recently she had heard a message that talked about the sin--yes, sin--of grumbling, and how we should dare not grumble after all that God has done. Truthfully, this relates so well to my own life. When I take extra effort to plan a special activity, or snack, or spend time with my girls playing with a special toy, and then at the end of the activity time they grumble and complain, wanting more, it's like a slap in the face. Instead of being thankful for the fun things we did together, they are (sometimes) whiny and discontent. That response doesn't make me want to jump right up and plan the next special time! But how many times am I like that with the Lord? Grumbling is the opposite of thanksgiving. A thankful heart looks for God's blessings in every situation. A grumbling, complaining heart can only see what was not given. ". . . And be content with what you have . . . " Contentment and thankfulness are intertwined. Oh, may I have a more thankful, more content heart!

Another thought that encouraged me came from John Piper. Reading on his website recently, I found an excellent article that addressed the idea of gratitude--thanksgiving--being directly tied to the grace that has been given. We are more and more grateful when we realize that what we've been given is ours through grace alone. He also points out that true gratitude is an action, directed at the giver. It has an object. It's not just "I'm thankful for" but "I'm thankful to God for" or "I'm thankful to my husband for" etc. When we feel we have deserved something (i.e. a paycheck after two weeks of hard work) we may feel generally thankful for a job that provides for us, but we have a different sense of gratitude when something is a gracious gift. This idea also encouraged me to keep an eye out for the grace that has been given me, so that I may have a heart full of gratitude to express towards the Lord and others.

So with that said, I am particularly grateful this year for an overwhelming sense of surety that we are where we are supposed to be, doing what we are supposed to be doing. It feels wonderful to be a part of Father's plan for this place, and I am thankful that I feel a renewed confidence in our call here. I'm also thankful for my job as a wife and mother. It is continually challenging, but also provides so many times of joy and contentment as well. Yesterday the girls both had long naps, and when they woke up, Chloe just wanted to snuggle on my lap, for a full five minutes! It's moments like that which encourage me and help me be thankful for the job of motherhood. And now as we prepare to welcome a third child to our family, I'm reminded again and again how vitally important it is to be a godly mother. I'm grateful for my sweet children and for the opportunity to learn and grow myself as I mother them.

No Thanksgiving Day post would be complete without a few pictures, so here's a glimpse of our celebration.
Here's Clara Anne doing her part to add her handprint to a Thanksgiving Turkey decoration using fingerpaint. Remember my friend Rachel, craft-woman extraordinaire? She organized not only this decoration but made Pilgrim hats for the men, bonnets for the women, and then my friend Amy made Indian headdresses for the kids. It was fun times, let me tell you. My little Indian on Thanksgiving Day. "Like my hat, Mommy?" A few of the kids (we had 7 total between our three families, not counting the one as yet unborn!) gathered round for storytime with a Pilgrim father.Little Indians raiding the appetizer table--deviled eggs, veggies with ranch dip, and apples with caramel dip. Yum!Happy Thanksgiving, 2007.


SingerMamaMelody said...

Oh my! What fun you had on your Thanksgiving! I'm so inspired by your crafty friend. :) And deviled eggs - to die for! I LOVE THEM!!! What a fun idea. I forget about them, but that really is a fun appetizer for a gathering...or just for my own consumption. Hehe! Love you guys

Gretchen said...

You guys are ADORABLE! I love the hats! SO thankful for your family serving in Asia. You've been in my prayers often lately.

GREAT reminder about Thanksgiving. It's so easy to be generally thankful for the good stuff and ease of life. Choosing to actually reflect our gratitude to Christ is another.

Happy leftovers! :)