Friday, January 27, 2012

How to Give Thanks.

There's been a lot about thankfulness lately.

I'm reading the words of this beautiful book...almost finished and I have an urge to turn to the very first page again after I've read the last and start it all over again seamlessly.
Maybe I'll read it on a loop.

We've been centering nightly prayers around thanking God for our blessings,
consciously stating the things we are most grateful for at the dinner table,
making an effort to notice the good.

Dinner time one night this week almost brought me to my knees...
seeing through the simple eyes of children sometimes will.

Something like this:

"This food is good mom, thanks."
It's Beck...he loves his mama's cooking.

"Thanks, bud. It's so great to be thankful because some people don't have this kind of food.
Some people don't have any food at all in a day.
So we need to show our thanks to God for blessing us."
I was trying to tie it together.
Trying to guide a little mind to bring praise to God.

But he trumped me.

It was this:
"But mom, why are we thankful that we have a lot and other people don't have any?"

A punch to the gut.

Why are we thankful for our plenty...our blessings...while others are wasting away?
We sit around our brightly lit dinner table, inside our bustling, warm homes and blithely give "thanks" to God for the good.
While others...what are their lives like?
I have no clue, because I have never had to live a semblance of a life less blessed.

Why do we get the blessings poured out?
Are we more deserving? More loved by God?
Are we more His than they are?


These blessings given to us were not only meant for us...
they were meant for them too.

"Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required."Luke 12:48

Can I tell you something?
I wanted to pull those three children up from the table, leave the steaming food to cool, pull on coats and mittens, empty our cupboards and head out into the dark night to give.
To give just a little of our much to anyone who wanted it.
To show real thanks to our God for his blessings.

Because, I'm coming to realize that thanksgiving isn't about murmuring a few words of acknowledgement... (although it might start that way)
it's about giving it away.
Pouring it back out.

He didn't give it to us to hoard.
He gave it to us to bless.
...and bless
...and bless.
To be the face of God to some people who haven't seen it yet.

I stammered something about giving thanks and then showing thanks by helping the people with less.
But it was so pitiful. So vague.
I didn't have a plan.
I had no idea how to carry it out with these three little searching souls...
how to make it really mean something.

I kind of left it at that.
While my mind was spinning, they went back to their blessing of a meal and our night plowed on.
Nightly baths in warm, sud-sparkled water.
Minty toothbrushes.
Brightly-colored story books and bedtime prayers snuggled into flannel sheets and down comforters.

I haven't stopped thinking about it.
Wondering how I can fit real thanksgiving into my life and into theirs.
I mean...we have a plan.
A shimmering hope of moving away from here and going where they need us...where we can be the face of God...
But can we do it here? In the meantime?
While we wait?
While life is so busy and the days and months slip by before I can catch my breath?

I don't know.
I think we can.
I'll keep you updated on that.

But if this post and Beck's simple question hits you as hard as it hit me...
you should read Ann Voskamp's book.
It is a dangerously breathtaking look at real gratitude.

...I am torn wide open.


Alicia Marie said...

Good word. I love kids. They get the heart of the matter in seconds.

Lacy said...

Great post, loved it! I will have to read that book, thanks!

[not the] Best Blog Ever said...

"We are blessed to be a blessing," one of our pastors always says.

Your post captures this as well. A great, thought-provoking read. Thank you.

And God bless Beck! Those simple little ones hold the most profound thinking so often.

Lucy said...

This post is very moving, what an amazing comment for your little boy to make..he is obviously made of the right stuff!

I totally know what you mean about how can we give more. I do think you are giving a lot though by bringing up children with good values, and by going into nursing. Don't underestimate the difference those choices make.

[not the] Best Blog Ever said...

p.s. I miss your Bachelor posts, and I don't even watch the show! :)

Jamie Willow said...

I'm not sure why I never commented on this post, probably meant to but one of my kids had me
Anyhow, I think it's beautiful. I love Beck and his smart mind and quick heart. I think you are a great mom to be teaching heart matters and I am taking notes for sure as my own kids get older and we venture into this territory.

love you bunches.