As a parent, you will have days you’d rather forget, but the only magic wand that will rescue you is thankfulness.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
How is it even possible for a parent to “rejoice always” and “give thanks in all circumstances” when the kids are driving you crazy, the money is running out, or we are facing health challenges?
In those times, all we can think is that we wish things were different. Easier, perhaps.
Perhaps your reality right now is very hard. And maybe you are looking around and seeing people who seem to have it so much easier than you.
Wouldn’t it be great to have your own personal fairy godmother who could wave a magic wand and make life all better?
Of course, that’s not going to happen, but God does provide another “magic wand” that can see us through every tough circumstance. That “magic wand” is called thanksgiving, or in the original Greek; eucharisteo.
Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts, explains:
This is the word that can change everything: eucharisteo—it comes right out of the Gospel of Luke: “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them … ” (Luke 22:19 NIV). In the original language, “he gave thanks” reads “eucharisteo.”
The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning “grace.” Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks. Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning “joy.” Charis. Grace. Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving. Chara. Joy. Deep chara joy is found only at the table of the euCHARisteo; the table of thanksgiving.
The only way to fully live when life is full of hurt is to start the habit of thankfulness. Start with the little things–the blessings you tend to overlook because you are so overwhelmed with your problems–and the more that you notice them and express thanks for them, the more blessings you will see. In her book, Ann suggests that you keep a thankfulness journey and write down 1,000 things you are thankful for. That’s a challenge I started and got to 200. I think it’s time for me to resume counting.
Another way to build your thanksgiving-in-the-midst-of-trouble muscles is to spend time in worship. When you focus on God through worship, your problems take a back seat and seem smaller. But when you are focusing on your problems, God seems smaller. Be intentional about listening to worship music throughout the day.
It’s easy to get discouraged when we look around and see people who seem to have it so much easier than us. But we forget to see that there are people around us who also have it so much harder. When we are discouraged about our reality, it’s time to start looking at our blessings, and stop wishing for a way out.
The secret of happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their troubles. (Mother Theresa)
Do you feel stuck in a rut, and overwhelmed by the demands of parenting?
Not to mention wondering if you are doing the right things to help your children grow up to love and honor God?
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