The other night I wearily laid our newborn baby into her bed. She still sleeps in our room and probably will for quite a while. As I pulled back the covers and poured myself in to bed as well, I heard a gentle voice say “thank you for being the mom you are, and for doing all that you do for our family.” That simple, unexpected expression of gratitude meant so much to me. A simple thank you from my husband was like a soothing salve to my weary heart.
I chose this part of life. Actually I begged for it. I plead with my husband and the Lord, for several years prior to now. I wanted another child so desperately it was pretty much all I could think about. I wanted the sleepless nights. I wanted to nurse for hours on end if I needed to. I wanted to dance around the house at all hours of the night in a desperate attempt to soothe a restless infant. I said “I would give ANYTHING to be this tired!” And I meant it. So to be thanked for doing something I expected to do, I’m supposed to do, was a welcome surprise to me.
I’d venture to say that when any of us go above and the ordinary things of life, we’d hope for (dare I say expect) some gratitude. When we do more than what is asked of us, we want people to be grateful, but what about when we’re doing what we want to do, or what we’re “supposed” to do?
Being thanked for doing the things you’ve desperately wanted to do, or the things you’re supposed to do can really mean a lot. To me, being appreciated is a great feeling but my husband’s appreciation was unexpected gratitude. I didn’t expect him to be thankful for all that I had done for our family that day, he does more than his fair share, but it really touched my heart.
My husbands unexpected expression of gratitude really got me thinking, especially with tomorrow being thanksgiving. What all do I have to be thankful for?
There are the obvious, big things to be thankful for:
My church family
The list goes on and on, but what about the things I have to be thankful for, that people might not expect me to be thankful for?
For coworkers who have a commitment to our company and a work ethic that makes my job easier.
For pastors who faithfully serve in ministry even when it seems mundane or thankless.
For volunteers who serve in ministry because they want to, not because it’s their job.
For reliable and consistent babysitters (and friends) that allow us to faithfully participate in life groups.
For the people who sit near us at church that always greet us with a smile.
For the faithful prayer warriors.
For my children’s teachers.
What about God? When was the last time I thanked Him for doing the every day things I overlook? The things I take for granted?
When’s the last time I thanked Him for the things I didn’t expect to be grateful for?
For the times He allowed me to have a broken heart.
For the accident that left me with a broken body.
For the prayers that took time to be answered.
For the prayers that were answered differently than I had in mind.
For the times His answer was no.
For the times I didn’t understand…
When is the last time I thanked Him for carrying me when I thought He was so far away?
As we approach Thanksgiving I want to challenge you to pause and take a moment to think about the unexpected gratitude in your life. Maybe you need to take a moment to thank someone for the everyday things that get overlooked. Maybe you need to take a moment and thank your spouse, children, relatives, or co-workers for the things they don’t expect you to be thankful for.
Maybe you need to pause and tell God how grateful you are to Him, even for the difficult things in your life.
I have many things to be thankful for, even the difficult things.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
In His Love,