Thursday, November 21, 2013

Gratitude - Days #18, #19, #20, and #21

As we get closer to Thanksgiving, I'm sure you are all thinking of the fun plans to come! Are you traveling? Are you cooking? Are you saying "forget this...we're getting pizza!"? Usually, we have family to our home, and I cook the Thanksgiving meal. This year, we are traveling to Kansas to spend time with our families before Baby Boy #2 arrives! I will be helping with two of the meals (we're having a third at a restaurant!), but I am really looking forward to having a change of scenery and enjoying the trip :-) 

As many of you have way too much on your plates this week (no pun intended!), I encourage you to still make time for a quiet meeting with the Lord each day...away from to-do lists, chatty children, and even loving husbands and family. In the past, my quiet time has been the first thing to go so that I can accomplish some other mundane task. At the end of the day, I find that I missed that time, and I actually wasn't as productive with my other duties since I didn't center myself from the start. My advice? Don't skip it! He will bless you for meeting with Him. This is only a suggestion, but it is one I have found to be helpful in my life!

Today's verse is exceptionally appropriate for this week, especially if your home will be full of guests, or if you will be a guest in another's. God leads me to the daily verse everyday. He is so intentional!

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." 
Colossians 4:2

Let's all make it a point to pray more this week! As the "general manager" of our household (my hubby is the CEO!), I am a watcher. I need to watch the money management, the food supply, the messes being made and the messes getting cleaned, the child, the pets, and a thousand other things. In the week to come, I will also be observing all of my family members, as we spend the holiday together. I will ask God to show me things for which I can express thanks, and also things or situations for which I can ask for His healing and His blessing. When guests are in our home, or when I am a guest in another's, I love to shower them with quiet prayers and blessings. Amazingly, even when tensions run high around family gatherings, the Holy Spirit faithfully shows up to calm situations, encourage relationships, and promote fun and relaxation. That is, and will continue to be, my prayer for this week!

For November 19...

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" 
2 Corinthians 9:15

While there are always many, many things to thank God for, ultimately our most fervent showing of gratitude should be for His indescribable gift, Jesus. Let's all make a daily habit of thanking God for His Son, Jesus, as we pray with our children. Our babies and toddlers should get used to hearing His name on a regular basis. Look for Jesus in their bible story books, express your thanks for Jesus as you go throughout your day, and make it a priority to make His name a household name! How sweet is it when our little one says "Jesus" back to us. 

For November 20...

"I will praise God's name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving." 
Psalm 69:30

God doesn't just say, "you're welcome," when we thank Him. I think that it truly makes Him smile! Think about how we feel when someone expresses their gratitude to us, or when we thank our children for helping us. My face lights up, and I can see the positive effect it has on our son when I praise him. I imagine that God must feel the same way when we offer Him thanksgiving. It brings Him joy, it brings Him glory, and I know that teaching our children to live in a state of thanksgiving makes Him smile, as well. Isn't that kinda cool to think about?

Finally, for the 21st day of November...

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Colossians 2:6-7

I love that as we learn more and more about Jesus and our faith, and remember it is an ongoing, never ending process, we are rooted in Him and built up in Him. He is our foundation, and He is our walls. When we choose to live a life focused on Him, He is so faithful to continually build us up in our calling as mothers. I never questioned my desire to be a mother, but I did question my desire to stay at home and be the primary influence in my children's lives. Now, two and a half years later, I'm loving staying at home. I firmly believe that if I had not decided to immerse myself in His teachings over the past few years, I wouldn't be in this situation today. For that, I am "overflowing with thankfulness!" He is so faithful to place overflowing gratitude in our hearts when we choose to love Him. His ways are so good!

As you prepare to start this week in preparation for Thanksgiving, I pray extra special blessings over each of your lives, especially as mothers. I pray for renewed strength, patience, and love for the Father, your husbands, and your children. I pray that this week will not be filled with stress or upset, but instead with gratitude and peace. Let's all remember the sweet calling placed upon our heads to provide an environment and example of peace for our darling children...crazy family gatherings, or not!

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