1 Thessalonians 5: 18
"In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
This is one of my favorite most recent photos. Because it pretty much sums up my life in one picture. My life as a mom with 4 little people to feed, clean, raise, teach, encourage, build up, referee, shuttle, entertain, (and did I mention feed), every day after day for 24 hours/ 7 days a week.
It's my favorite and the most true to life because no matter how hard I try, and trust me, I try. I can never make all of them happy at the same time. Maybe it's a lofty goal. Maybe I'm naive. Maybe I'm unrealistic. I'm sure my bar is set too high, but I truly want them to have a wonderful life (as we all do). But life has it's ups and downs, doesn't it? So the more I try to make things happy or perfect, the more life just catches up with me. I can do my best to take them to the most fun place ever with the best snacks and have the best plan and still one of my children will be unhappy. Someone is destined to have a melt down. Someone is bound to get their feelings hurt. There will always be something, somewhere that goes wrong.
When I finally get them all in the van (those of you who have little kids know just how long this process of packing for an outing and getting everyone dressed and pottied for the outing takes) and I finally tell them where we are going (I try to wait to the absolute last minute so that if anything changes nobody gets disappointed and so that the big kids don't ask me 3 million times when we are going to ______) and then they say something negative about our trip after all of my planning, prepping, and primping. This is when Mommy just about loses her mind! Can anybody say THANK YOU? Do any of you APPRECIATE what I just went through to bring you here? To which they all look at me like I am absolutely crazy and mumble a thank-you that I know they didn't really mean.
One of my jobs as a human, as a mom, as a wife is to be thankful even when those messy times happen. Life isn't fair. Things may go wrong. Melt downs are bound to ensue. We get sick. Plans change. Rain happens. But through it all we have a steadfast loving God who LOVES us. And that is a really good reminder for me. And if I am careful in those moments to remember Him and His goodness, just maybe I can pass on a little thankfulness and gratitude to my kids.
There are days that I really get down about my kids and their behavior and whenever I pray about it and basically "complain" to God about it; He changes me. He reminds me that I need to have the better attitude. He reminds me that I need to change. He reminds me that I don't need to make every day perfect for my kids. Life isn't perfect, but He is. It is good to teach kids that they won't get everything they want in life. There will be hard work ahead. There will be struggles. But we can teach them that no matter what God will be there for them and that His love never runs out.
I am learning right along with my kids that we can be thankful even in rough times. At bed time we go around the room and list 3-5 things we are thankful for. My favorite answers are when the kids list people and not things. When they are thankful for time spent with loved ones. When they are thankful we have a home and a car to go places, and they are thankful for the food we eat. Basically, we choose to be thankful. And as I type this, I am sitting on the couch with a box full of tissues, a runny nose, a bad headache and Amelia napping beside me, while my husband took 3 kids to a skating birthday party. I am thankful for a husband that let me rest today. I am thankful for birthday parties that make the day fun for the kids. And I am thankful for an absolutely quiet home right now, and in a few minutes it will be filled with excited voices telling me all about their outing. And I am thankful for all the people that live here. And a God who loves a sinner like me. And He calls me His own.
Psalm 107: 1
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever.