how do you become thankful?

It was a typical evening prayer time.

What are you thankful for? Name five things. 

Pause. Silence. Mumbling. The subsequent five things that were named all had to do with the five school subjects that were finished today. It ws supposed to be a simple end-the-evening routine question. 

I can see how that's something to be thankful for, but there isn't more? 

I was losing patience. Wow! I've been sowing these thankful seeds since they were born and they couldn't come up with more? 

My patient husband, who had been silent,  was invited into the conversation because I was sure that at this point any additional comments from me would only serve to injure, not help. 

We sat with our child, praying over him, asking Father to open his heart.

Eyes to see the gifts. This has been the theme in my life, but it hasn't full taken root in my children's hearts yet. We are all on a journey. 

Speaking promise and blessing over my son tonight, I catch a glimpse of the Father's working in his heart. With tears and repentance, he tells us he wants to be thankful all the time, but sometimes he forgets. 

Those words pierce my heart. I, too, often forget. 

The language of thankfulness. I haven't gained complete fluency in this quite yet, but I'm learning. It's something I yearn for my children to learn, too. They have been given so much and there's so much to be thankful for! But they don't often see it because life isn't all that hard for them now. When you see what could have been, gain a greater understanding of your sin, see the poverty and pain in the world, that helps you be thankful. 

Teaching history the past few weeks I've been challenging my children to ask the Lord to move their hearts when they read history or read current events. Places in the world where people are hurting. You don't have to look too far to see it. It's our choice to be moved by it. 

My husband took our son on an urban trek today. They left in the morning and won't be back until evening. With 5 kuai (equivalent of $0.80) and ears to hear from the Lord, they are out looking for the gifts. I'm sure tonight's thankful list will look a bit different. 

It's not that we can force our children into thankfulness. I certainly am more concerned with their hearts than the words that come out. I can help them see though. I can give them opportunities to catch glimpses into pain and experience things that are hard. 

I slip a sandwich into my son's pocket before he left. My husband has him return it to me. Mommy is a bit soft. Glad my husband is working on helping my son grow into a man. Instead they take the words to their favorite worship song. 

Thankfulness. Seeds that we sow and pray them into being. Lord, bring fruit in my life. Bring it into my children's as well. Remind me when I forget. How much I have been given. The gifts are too many to count. 


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