I have to say lately I have not been in an appreciative mode. I've been pondering things that I see as needing improvement in my life, and complaining in my mind about them. This morning I woke up realizing just how bad it had become, and there's a big need for a turnaround. As if God has not blessed me! As if others don't have it much worse! (Even most others. Even people across the street. Even people with more money. Even people with...well, I'd hardly trade places with almost anyone. Probably anyone, if I knew all the facts.)
There aren't very many things I remember about my dad, and the things that I do recall are very random. For example, I remember that he used to say that if you envy someone, remember that you'd have to take everything about their life, not just the one aspect of which you are jealous. He wasn't a believer, but he realized the ugliness of envy and discontent. The other day, Tim was talking about a neighbor across the street, whose father works for an airline--and I'm not sure that Tim was discontent or envying particularly, but he was observing their ability to travel. The family goes on frequent trips to Hawaii and the like. Still, the mother works outside the home, the father commutes to the airport (about an hour one-way), I find the father quite disagreeable, and I wouldn't trade my kids for theirs with a billion dollars thrown in. Just the idea of the mother working was enough to put it in perspective for Tim, and that made me realize all the more how much I'm thankful for being an at-home mom. I don't stay home because we're so rich and can afford it (sometimes we really can't, but we do anyway); I stay home because we've seen first-hand how my working wrought havoc in our lives, and that was just at the beginning of raising kids. My being home has become a priority, and I hope that it will continue.
There are times when I've caught myself being grumbly and started listing in my mind the things for which I have to be thankful. They are many!
1. Jesus Christ saved me. Hallelujah! (This alone trumps any complaint I might have.)
2. I have a kind and loving husband, two children who I think are progressing well, a home, and too many trappings of American life. I suffer from over-abundance, if anything.
3. We have good health. Okay, I'm rather plump and have a weird little bump on my shoulder that's been there for years, and foot problems, but we don't have any big problems in regard to our health. And it's not because we deserve it--we aren't so incredibly fitness and nutrition minded.
4. We live in a beautiful part of a free country.
5. We have an amazing community of believing friends and belong to the most wonderful church around.
I don't think I'll go on. It might sound like I'm gloating or bragging, and I'm not. But slap me if I complain, would you? Any complaint of mine is just stupid and it's because of God's grace that I haven't been hit with a lightning bolt in recent times. God is great...but then I knew that. Really, I did. Okay, one more.
6. God is great! And...you knew that, didn't you? Now go make your list of things for which you are thankful, will you?