When my sister and brother-in-law first got married. . .they were financially poor. She once told me that in those first years of marriage, although so very happy, they struggled and once, while taking some kids that she babysat for through the drive-thru to grab dinner, she hoped that one day, when she had kids, she would be financially able to treat them every once in awhile with a special meal out. For some reason, this prayer of hers popped into my head while I was sitting in the Chick-Fil-A drive thru, asking my excited little girl what she wanted for breakfast. I think it was a mix of the memory and the fact that we had just watched a piece on the Haitian people and how they painstakingly make and sell dirt cookies to provide for themselves and simply fill their children’s bellies, but as I looked at my sweet daughter who had never known hunger in her entire 6 years of life I just started crying. How many times do we do things that , to us, seem simple, but to others would have been such a longed for experience?
Have you ever been knocked down by the everyday things that we have forgotten really are extreme and extravagant gifts, but we have wrapped them with simple and ordinary paper?
I know I’m not the only one who cries in the drive thru, or when I am putting up the groceries and my child yells, we are so rich! O man little one. . . we are rich indeed. Do you realize that every time we hear “mom, I’m thirsty,” that our biggest problem is getting them to say please, and not, “I’m sorry honey, we don’t have any clean water right now.” I am understanding more and more about how we can really and truly do everything to the glory of God. From a cup of water to the soft bed with the comfy pillow. . . we really should be breathing out thankfulness at every moment. I mean, even our breaths are given to us. . . they are not promised or earned. . .they are simply given. . . gifts every second that we are sometimes not even aware of.
I love the idea of Ann Voskamp. . her One Thousand Gifts book has been quite the treasure. I have read many excerpts from her book and frequent her blog often over at A Holy Experience. She speaks of a simple exercise but one we do so infrequently. . . counting our gifts. Thankfulness and discontentment can not be in the same heart, so we have to fight those discontent feelings, when they start to well up inside, by looking at all the gifts we DO have. When my family got sick a little while ago it went through every one of us. It was a long 4 or 5 days. . a long, yuck, germ filled 4 or 5 days. I was tired and eventually succumbed to the sickness myself, but as I was up in the dark of night holding my daughters hair back as she cried in the bathroom I began to fret, to get upset at the situation I found myself in, to feel sorry for myself that we were not well, that I was tired. I started fighting it by thanking the Lord for all the things I had right then. I whispered in my desperation thankfulness for an inside bathroom (can you imagine??? whew), for a husband that I knew could help me when I grew tired, for a washer and dryer, for a baby that was sleeping through the night, for clean water to wash my daughter’s sick face with and for a comfy place to lay her when she was ready to rest. I have to admit, however, this is not the norm most days. I am very good at giving thanks when the situation is peaceful, happy, warm and fuzzy. . but when the situation grows wearisome, uncomfortable, bothersome, irritating. . . my heart is not as quick to stop and burst thankfulness towards the Lord.
Anyone can be thankful in the good times, but it takes a heart, a heart that knows their father. . a heart that knows that all we really need is Christ and everything else is filler, to truly be thankful in all seasons. We can give thanks in all circumstances because we, as Christians, already have all we will ever need for eternity. We can give thanks and have joy in all things . . . even in our trials, simply because we have the greatest treasure of all. . .Christ.
So I leave you with this, from a girl who does not say thank you enough, from a girl who gets overwhelmed when all those blessings just hit me all at once and I realize I just need to come undone so that the Lord can build me up more beautiful, more thankful, then when I started. My grumbling heart really can change and so can yours. . . it is my greatest hope. Our grumblings can turn into thanksgivings if we just simply let the blessings wash over us and speak them back to the one that we owe all of them to.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31