Raising Thankful Lepers

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The picture Jesus paints for us of the final days for planet Earth in His Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 is hardly cheery. In this passage He warned His disciples of looming famines, earthquakes, lawlessness, “wars and rumors of wars”, and even martyrdom. These are dramatic and catastrophic events. We refer to them as “signs of the times”; Jesus referred to them in words we moms can better relate to as “birth pangs” or in today’s language, contractions. Again, not a cheery picture, to be sure.

Jesus offers another less dramatic, but bitterly painful sign of His return: “the love of most will grow cold”. Given this particular “birth pang”, it seems the Day is fast approaching. We live in the land of cold hearts we observe in a myriad of painful expressions from “road rage” to murder.

Another way this has manifested itself is through ingratitude and an attitude of entitlement. Many children grow up believing everything is owed to them. They “deserve” a Facebook account, a cell phone, an iPad, a trip to Disney World, a car, a college education, etc. Many adults have also bought into this thinking. In fact, they are the ones peddling this attitude of ingratitude to the next generation. And this seems to be the logical conclusion: if we’re entitled to everything, we don’t have to be thankful for anything.

But those of us who are Christians know this just isn’t true. We aren’t owed anything, except God’s justice. The only thing we do deserve and are “entitled” to is hell itself. The fact is, we owe Christ everything. What we should marvel at is not that we don’t have what the girl next door has, but rather the fact that God has lavished His grace and love on us through the extravagant gift of His Son, Jesus.

Ingratitude is nothing new. Jesus confronted this negative attitude in Luke 17 where ten men afflicted with leprosy sought healing from Jesus and received it. After He sent them off to show the priests they’d been healed, only one returned to give thanks for this miraculous gift. Christ’s lesson was simple; be thankful. I Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

So the task at hand is obvious: we need to teach our kids thankfulness. One meaningful way to do this is to teach them to write simple thank you notes expressing heartfelt thanks for gifts or acts of kindness. When our kids were young, we had them write these kinds of notes, usually the day after they’d received a gift. We made sure they mentioned the gift and the reason(s) why they were appreciative. We also made sure the notes were handwritten. It didn’t take long for this practice to become second nature and they continue it today even though they are in their teens and twenties.

It shouldn’t alarm us that our children aren’t naturally thankful; it’s part of our fallen nature. But we do them a favor when we work to diminish the effects of this destructive attitude in their lives. Let’s not let this sign of the times define our children. Let’s raise thankful lepers.

~Barb

Photo Credit: http://www.inspirationfalls.com/thankfulness-quotes/thankfulness-concepts-2/

Collecting Memories In Marriage

As the season of thankfulness surrounds us I thought of a good reminder that would be a blessing to our marriages:

Collect Memories… Not Things

So often our culture, society, social media, and every advertisement seen encourages, no bombards us with the idea that we need more.  The pressure to pleasure ourselves by satisfying our thirst for more is seemingly inescapable.  Self-centeredness wells up inside of us justifying why we need “that new thing” or when denied we throw a pity party.

I have given into these lies just like everyone else.  It is a very difficult battle to fight, causing strife in my heart from discontentment, leading to contention in my marriage.

However, there are so many meaningful experiences that will last in memory longer than the “things” I so desire.  My pursuit of things takes away from the time and energy I have to spend with my husband and my child.  My heart needs to change.

I want to collect more memories… not things.

Memories that will inspire joy in my heart, ignite passion for my family, and remind me that some of the smallest experiences in life have the greatest impact, such as:

- Breakfast with my husband on Saturday morning as we plan out an adventure for the day.

- Preparing for our son and praying for his future family.

- Walking in the coolness of the day enjoying the fellowship of my best friend with laughter.

- Waking up to my husband praying over me.

- Encouraging my husband with words of affirmation, reminding him that I respect him.

There are so many ways to collect memories in marriage that will last a lifetime.  Memories that will remind you of God’s goodness.  Memories that will unify family as you reminisce with your children.

So in this season of thankfulness, cheer and giving… what memories are you going to collect with your spouse?

- Jennifer Smith   www.unveiledwife.com

photocredit: @unveiledwife

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