Giving thanks every day in the mix of temper-tantrums, dirty clothing, potty training, sleepless nights and prepping meals can be completely transforming. By contributing writer Victoria.
The demands of motherhood feel more overwhelming lately. No more do I have a few spare moments in my day to just sit and be still– something this introvert Mama desperately needs. Instead my moments are met with three little faces looking to me to fill their every need.
Meals need to be made. Clothes need to cleaned. Bottoms need to be wiped. Boo-boos need to be kissed. Sibling conflict needs to be corrected. Spills need to be cleaned. Crying babies need to be held and rocked. Books need to be read. Sweet moments need to be cherished.
Life with three little ones can best be described as a roller coaster of events and emotions. Lots of highs and thrills met with plunging downfalls and twists and turns. It’s chaotic, yet completely delightful all at the same time, but sometimes I’m prone to miss the joy.
I get caught up in the endless demands and never ending to-do lists. I get overwhelmed when I don’t get enough sleep (which is basically every night), and if I don’t have alone time, I start to get grouchy and irritable.
Knowing that this season of motherhood doesn’t really leave room for a lot of sleep or personal me-time, I know that the only way to thrive, let along survive, is to fully lean on God’s strength. He doesn’t lead us into the trenches of motherhood and just leave us here to fend for ourselves. Nope, He loves us and our children too much to do that.
Over the last year God has been gently reminding me to practice choosing gratitude when I feel overwhelmed, exhausted, cranky and void of joy. It’s easy to practice thanksgiving this time of year, but one holiday in November is not enough to practice being truly thankful for all the blessings in our lives.
Recently I read through the book Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. One truth that struck me over and over was that, “choosing gratitude means choosing joy… It’s a choice that requires constantly renewing my mind with the truth of God’s Word, setting my heart to savor God and His gifts, and disciplining my tongue to speak words that reflect His goodness and grace –until a grateful spirit becomes my reflective response to all of life.”
After I read those words, I let them marinate in my soul for a while, and then I opened my journal and I started writing.
Lord, I haven’t been choosing gratitude or joy. I am focusing on what I feel entitled to instead of all the good things You have done for me. My heart has been preoccupied with so many other things. Help me to focus instead on cultivating a heart of gratitude. I want that discipline to sink in and really take root in my life. I desire to be a woman, wife, and mother who chooses joy and contentment in any and all circumstances, just like Paul.
Through that time praying to God and reading that challenging book, three truths were planted in my heart:
- Being a thankful person is a choice.
- Gratitude is learning to recognize and express appreciation for the benefits we have received from God and from others.
- Gratitude changes the way we start the day, spend the day, and look back on the day.
I made a choice to start thanking God every single day— thanking Him for all the big things He has done and will continue to do, but also thanking Him for the little things, too. One verse that I have written out and have posted all of my home right now is Colossians 3:15-17:
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
It seems like these days it’s all the rage to keep a gratitude log, but instead of keeping it separate, I integrate it daily in my prayer journal. Listing out my thanksgivings right next to my prayer requests is one simple act of obedience. Really the two aren’t separate at all.
When I am pouring out my heart to God with my burdens, it is such a joyful reminder to give thanks with the next stroke of my pen. It reminds me that He is, in fact, in everything. I don’t just practice thankfulness in November, instead it has become a standard part of my daily time writing out the Word in my journal and my prayers throughout the day.
Choosing to be thankful and to practice pursuing a heart of gratitude is something that has become a part of my days. It’s been my weapon for overcoming those moments when I feel exhausted and overwhelmed from the daily demands of motherhood.
Giving thanks every day in the mix of temper-tantrums, messes, dirty clothing, sticky floors, potty training, disobedient hearts, sleepless nights and prepping meals has completely transformed my whole attitude. When those thoughts of entitlement or bitterness start to creep in, I stop and thank God.
Lord, thank you for your grace during the temper-tantrums and disobedient hearts. Both my children and I desperately need the Gospel, and it’s through these moments of correction and teaching where our ears and hearts are open to Your truths.
Thank you for the messes, dirty clothing, sticky floors and meals to make because I have a family and a home where we live in, play in, love in and find rest in.
Lord, thank you for helping me and my children through the hard seasons of teething and potty training because it’s a reminder that my children are growing and healthy.
Lord, today is a hard day and I’m completely exhausted. But thank you for the strength to fight through the tiredness to serve my family so that their hearts can be lead to you.
How can you give thanks today and choose joy and contentment?
Other Posts to Help You Grow in Giving Thanks Everyday:
- 7 Attitudes That Can Kill Your Gratitude
- 10 Books to Grow Your Spiritual Life
- 16 Thanksgiving Books to Read to Your Children
- Jesus Cleaned Up a Mess He Didn’t Make Too