Motherhood has stretched me and sanctified me more than I ever guessed it would. My sweet Jesus has used it in such a multitude of ways. One way He has used it is to teach me to live with greater gratitude. And not just in moments where I “feel” grateful, but seeking to live with gratitude in all the moments of life. In the sweet and the stinky. The joyful and the painful. The quiet and the intense. Living with a heart that is serenely trusting in Him and thus, gives praise to Him at all times because I know He is good and I know He is working.
As He has grown my heart and mind to think in this perspective, He has helped me to notice the little things with AK, to pay greater attention to what she is doing and in doing that, I see more and I have greater opportunity to encourage her and praise her obedience and help. And oh, how these moments encourage my own heart in days that are filled with what seems to be constant disobedience, defiance, and discipline. Those sweet moments are gifts of God’s grace as I see little bits of fruit growing in her heart as the Lord seeks to draw her to Himself. My heart fills with prayers that her heart will become His very soon.
The other day, the day after one of those especially trying days, Jas asked AK to stop doing something that she is not supposed to and she paused, thought for a second, and said, “o-tay, daddy.” Oh, thank You, Jesus. What a moment of encouragement that was! Later that same evening, AK was again heading into a situation that involved something she’s not to do and I asked her to please obey and come out and she looked up at me and said, “o-tay, momma.” AHHHH. Our hearts nearly exploded. To see the Lord’s kindness in her little life and to see the fruits of our seeking to teach her and train her according to Scripture. Those are moments I never want to forget to stop and thank the Lord for. Moments of gratitude.
A few days later it was almost nap-time and I told AK, “okay, Little, in about 5 minutes we will go lay down for nap.” I left the room for a couple of minutes and when I came back she was almost done picking up the toys she had been playing with. Without being asked. My eyes were teary and I just squeezed her tight and told her what a blessing and a help that was to momma and how I was so proud of her doing that on her own. Moments of gratitude.
As I mentioned above, the Lord is teaching me in these days to also have a grateful heart in the moments that aren’t so joyful. In the moments where my heart is wrenching and weary and I feel so discouraged. In the times where I am in the midst of disciplining AK, or we are trying to walk out the door somewhere, or we are out running errands and a fit is thrown in the middle of a store. Those are moments when, I will say, probably the last thought in my mind is that of gratitude. I don’t want it to be though. I crave a greater growth in gratitude in those times. For those are opportunities to teach and train my darling daughter. Opportunities where the Lord gives me the gift of responsibility to help shape her precious heart, to teach her about Him and His Word, and to point her to gospel truth. I want to have an attitude of gratitude as I am faced with those times, giving thanks that the Lord has given me the joy and privilege of being her momma and to trust His goodness to guide me through each situation. Moments of gratitude.
What a change in perspective a heart of gratitude brings! When we think of the Lord’s great grace and all He has done and continues to do in our lives and hearts, we ought to overflow with gratitude for Him. May we be rid of our expectations of how we think our lives should be and live with a heart of grateful expectancy for all He has planned for us.
“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” — Psalms 118:24