Monday, August 4, 2014

Cultivating Thankfulness

This past week, I started reading Ann Voskamp's book 1,000 Gifts. I had heard good things about this book, but hadn't picked it up yet because it had been so wildly popular over the past few years. For some reason, I tend to be a bit skeptical of popular things...or perhaps I just don't want to feel like a lemming, going with the crowd. Either way, I finally got over that.

It was truly God's timing that I began reading this book last week. I was having a rough week with Ellie - I think she was teething or constipated or learning a new skill or something (I'm not 100% sure which one and she can't tell me!) and was in a difficult mood many days in a row. I was struggling to be patient and was having trouble sleeping, both because she was waking up in the night and I couldn't always go back to sleep. I was becoming resentful of her moodiness and how difficult it was to get through each day. I was just trying to survive, but I was doing so without a good attitude.

Simultaneously, I remembered that I wanted to read this book and decided to download it to my kindle. I started the book during Ellie's morning nap, after a particularly bad night, and the first chapter hit me square in the face. Right off the bat, Ann tells the traumatic and heart-wrenching story of her baby sister being hit by a car and dying when Ann was only a few years old. Ann describes the grief of her and her parents in such amazing detail and also in a way that really affected me. I was instantly moved to tears.

After I had spent the week harboring resentfulness toward my daughter, I was instantly convicted of my ungratefulness. How could I dare to take her for granted, when there are families who have lost children and families who can't have children? I have a beautiful, healthy little girl! She is a precious gift from God and I need to cherish her. Yes, there are hard days...that will always be true. But I have so much to be thankful for, and I cannot even imagine the thought of losing her.  It would break me.

God has an amazing way of pinpointing our areas of sin and speaking truth to us, doesn't he? As long as we're listening, I believe God is constantly wanting to speak to us and convict us, in order to spur us on to be more like Christ. Christ, who on the night he was betrayed, "...took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body, which is given for you.'" Christ was about to suffer and die and he displayed thankfulness. How much more so should we be thankful to God. 

What area of your life are you struggling to be thankful for this week? How can you thank God in the midst of that struggle?