Encouraging Gratitude & Not Worrying

My article published by For Every Mom, “How to Encourage Gratitude in Our Children”:

img_1392.jpgIsn’t it easy to feel entitled and frustrated when we don’t get our way? How can we combat that attitude with our children and ourselves?

Through Scripture, stories, and praying.

The other day when I walked into my eight-year-old daughter’s bedroom, she was fuming in frustration because “nothing” was going her way.

Her closest friend in school sat just two desks away, yet she spoke about the kid next to her being rude, another kid being mean, and now, for the life of her, she couldn’t get the rubber band around her ponytail just the way she wanted to. A true emergency. I could see smoke coming from her ears. Almost.

I had noticed a trend.

While I want to hear about the bad and good happening in her life, lately, I noticed one complaint after another, blooming grumpiness and ungratefulness.

I sat on my daughter’s bed, tears swelling her eyes. I told her how frustration and anger don’t help, but just make us miserable – to try to focus on giving thanks instead.

But she desperately said, “I can’t help it! I just get so frustrated and mad. I’m so bad at this.”

In that moment, I saw her hurt. I needed to quit preaching and just connect with her.

My mind wandered to Tedd Tripp’s advice at a parenting conference.

He said that when correcting our kids, to get on their level, and let them know that we’re working on the same things – that we are in this together.

So, I looked into her tear-swollen eyes and told her I struggle with the same thing. My daughter looked up at me. She was listening.

I told her that it’s easy for me to complain and pout when I don’t get my way too, but there’s a verse that helps me with that: “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

We had already memorized this verse, so she was familiar with it.

I shared that when my mind jumps to self-pity, I try to thank the Lord for something instead and it changes my mind and heart.

He changes my mind and heart.

I know there is power in telling stories as Jesus did, so I shared a story with my daughter of a woman who also dealt with the issue of giving thanks. Corrie ten Boom.

This is what I told her…

Corrie ten Boom was a woman who loved Jesus. She bravely hid Jews because Hitler was trying to hurt them. And, Corrie was put in a prison camp because of it.

The soldiers took away each person’s belongings, including their Bibles. Miraculously, they never found Corrie’s Bible. Corrie slept on a flea-infested mattress, crammed with several other women, including her sister, Betsie.

Feeling hunger pains and fleas biting them, you would think they complained. But, instead, Betsie told Corrie about a verse that came to her mind.

All those years ago, the same verse we read, they also read: “Give thanks in all circumstances.”

Corrie asked her sister what on earth they could give thanks for. Betsie said she was thankful that the Lord allowed her to be with her sister in the prison camp when they could have been separated. Then, she thanked God for the fleas. Can you believe that?

Corrie told her sister that she could never give thanks for the fleas. But Betsie told Corrie they had to because it’s God’s will to give thanks in all circumstances.

So, they gave thanks for the fleas.

You know what happened because of those fleas? The soldiers wouldn’t come into the barracks where they stayed. Because of that, Corrie and Betsie were able to have Bible studies and share their hope of Jesus during a tough time.

None of that would have happened if the fleas hadn’t been there.

It’s a choice, I told my daughter. It’s a choice to give thanks always. We talked about replacing frustration and anger with this phrase: Thank you, Lord, for _______. 

And, we talked about how we are in this together.

I drew her close and we prayed together. We gave thanks to the Lord and asked him to help us have grateful hearts.

I wiped my daughter’s wet cheeks, hugged her, and gave her some time to herself. After five minutes, she walked out of her room with a smile and joyful heart.

It’s a process for all of us – to walk the higher road of giving thanks always.

To walk the higher road of raising children who choose gratefulness over entitlement.

To walk the higher road of following Jesus.

But when we choose the higher road, we experience the full life that Jesus came to give us.

Originally published by For Every Mom: How to Encourage Gratitude in our Children 


 

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Earrings Giveaway & Faithfully Pursuing the Lord ❤️

fullsizeoutput_8371Giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Amanda for winning!


Happy Labor Day! Let’s celebrate with a Giveaway!

If you’d like to enter the giveaway, just comment on this post and you’ll be added. {I’m opening the Giveaway Wednesday to everyone else. It closes Friday, September 6th at 1pm.}

I so appreciate each of you so you’ll have 5 entries just for following my blog. (: And, let me know in the comments if you share this post with friends or on Facebook or Instagram and I’ll add five extra entries for you.

Follow my friend, Lindsay, @CreatedbyLindsay on Instagram, to see her awesome handmade earrings and beautiful barn wood signs. I love the one I have from her hanging in our kitchen.

*Because of shipping, the giveaway is limited to people living in the continental U.S. The earrings are a light grey leather teardrop, about 2.5″.


A piece of encouragement that the Lord keeps reminding me of…

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When things don’t appear to be going well from the world’s eye, remember that the Lord sees differently than people see.

Paul and Silas were locked in chains, and because of that, the jailer, his family and others came to believe in Jesus.

The poor widow gave two small coins – all she had to live on – and the Lord said she gave more than all the others. She was “rich”, but not by a worldly view.

Jesus dying on the cross looked terrible from a worldly perspective, but God used it to redeem those who would believe in Him.

His kingdom is upside-down and not worldly.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18.)

Hope in Jesus & Facing Peer Pressure

With all the tragedies we’ve heard about in the news lately, and ones we haven’t heard about, these words spoken by Jesus offer us hope here and now and beyond this place.

When our children face tough times, let’s remind them of these powerful words in John 16.

And, to all those walking through a difficult time right now, we are lifting you up. ❤️

“And surely I am with you always.” Jesus (MT 28:28)

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Facing Peer Pressure

Jesus’ response to the Pharisees challenging him is so powerful. It’s a great example for our kids on how to face peer pressure. In Jesus’ words:

“I know where I came from and where I am going.”
“I am not alone.”
“I stand with my Father.”
“The one who sent me is with me.”

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