Do you ever get the feeling God is trying to tell you something? Lately I feel like the phrase "gratitude" and lessons about it are all around me. One day I read a blog reviewing the book "Choosing Gratitude". I was thinking it sounded like something interesting to pick up. I then went to another blog the same day where the writer was making a list of things she was thankful for as a result of reading another blog about a Gratitude Community. Among other things it had encouraged her to begin a list of 1000 things she is grateful for this year. So at this point gratitude is rolling around in my head. I am organizing the speakers for our women's retreat and was asking one of the women on the team what might be a good topic, she suggested Thankfulness. I knew right away that had to be a topic and asked someone to speak on it. I am looking forward to hearing what she has to say. Finally, I was picking Isabelle up from her Wednesday night church and was handed a flyer about a mom's event they were hosting with Speaker/writer Susie Larson speaking on her new book, "Growing Grateful Kids." It seemed pretty clear I needed to go.
My highlights of her talk:
Model Thankfulness--How often am I clearly grateful, specifically grateful to God on a daily basis? Not nearly as often as I would like to be.
Practice Restraint--She talked about looking for things that have a stronghold in your life, that are taking the place of God in your life. How often do we not appreciate all we have and fill the void in our lives with things or time on computer or whatnot rather than going to God. If she noticed something was beging to have a strongold in her life she would fast from it for a week or two, afterward she found it never had the grip on her that it originally had. I have found this to be true in my life as well. After going a few months without sugar a few years ago I suddenly lost my taste for pop, something that had always been important to me. And at the beginning of this year I spent a week off the computer. While I still think I am sitting here too much I definately feel like its grip is weaker as I see how else my life could be structured.
Take Time to Play--This one particularly struck me. As we have had financial ups and downs over the past several years I sometimes feel like a fraud. I have a hard time enjoying fun activities because I think I don't deserve them. Some days I feel like I should be living in a trailer park eating beany weany's not standing at the park chatting with my neighbors as if I didn't have a care in the world. Yet she makes the point that it all rests on God's shoulders not mine and so I am free to play and have fun. This is exactly where God has put me right now.
Teach Forgiveness--I felt pretty good about this one and didn't take alot of notes but some bullet points were: pray daily for those you can't forgive, recieve fresh mercy's daily, ask God where you are wrong, ask kids for forgiveness when you are wrong, walk through forgiveness.
Give a blessing--She is deliberate about speaking blessings over her children. We shouldn't assume our children know who they are and where they are strong. We need to see their potential and tell them. She also talks about truth telling. Don't tell your children they are the best at everything. When they go off into the real world and find out they are not it will be quite an adjustment for them. We need to be real with them. She also encouraged her children to give blessings and truth telling to each other during periodic family times.
So what to do with all this information? Well at the moment I am rolling it all around in my head along with teaching Isabelle about the Lord. Jake had such a sensitve heart for the Lord from a very young age. It was so easy to teach him about Christ. Yet Isabelle doesn't have that same sensitivity and the methods I used to mentor Jake in his faith are clearly not what Isabelle needs. I am wondering if my opportunity to introduce God to Isabelle will be through creating an awareness of all He does for us each day and thanking Him for it. Learning to appreciate how we are blessed in every day life no matter what happens, good or bad. And in teaching her I bet I just might teach myself as well.