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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gratefulness



I read a bunch of posts over the last few days about Mother's Day. Some were happy, a lot were whiny. These moms  basically talked about how their husbands and children had not met their expectations for the "one day that was all about them." And while I can see their point about how hard it is to be a mother, the overarching theme that hit me while reading this post was the amount of ungratefulness. Ironically, many of these women were complaining that their children seemed ungrateful of the work that the moms do for their children every day. However, the mothers, by assuming that they were deserving of "praise" or "pampering" by their children, were exhibiting their true hearts of ungratefulness.

Proverbs 31 talks about a virtuous woman, and in one of the verses, it says that her children "rise up and call her blessed." Last week I went to a funeral for a lovely woman from our church, and her children did exactly this. They all spoke of the love she had shown them, of the work ethic she had taught them, and the example that she had been to them by being a sweet, perpetually smiling mother. The praise from her children wasn't forced, canned or expected. It was honest and sincere and came from the heart.

It's noteworthy that in Proverbs 31, the children weren't celebrating their mother on Mother's Day (that we know of). The virtuous woman wasn't expecting her children to praise her. From everything we know of this woman, she worked hard, cared for her family, and had little concern for herself or "what she deserved".

Lover and I were talking the other day about expectations. He hates all events that come with mandatory gifts, because they create an expectation that the person deserves a gift, and the giver is compelled to give a gift. It is much easier for the person receiving the gift to feel as if they deserve the gift, and therefore be less grateful.

It's not difficult to be grateful when you understand that you are not entitled to anything. That there is no guarantee that you will have anything, or receive anything. God promises us food and clothing, and that is it. So, if you have food in your belly (and your cupboards) and clothing on your body, your expectations have been met. Absolutely everything beyond that is given to us, and we should therefore be grateful for it. Make no assumptions that you deserve a healthy family, or even a family, for that matter. Do not assume that you deserve a large home, with a yard and a dog. Do not assume that your husband, children or family should praise you, or that you deserve a day off.

When you have removed the expectation that you deserve something, suddenly everything becomes a gift. The air you're breathing, and the fact that you can breathe easily. The sound of your children playing (maybe even fighting) because you have been given children, and healthy children at that. The beautiful items surrounding you  in your home, and also the home you live in.

Some of the many, many gifts I've been given are:


  • A husband who loves me and wants me to be happy, cares about my needs and cares for me the very best that he can.

  • A family protected from illness, death and divorce.

  • A beautiful home to call our own.

  • Brothers and sisters in Christ that continue to expand my family.

  • My own health including being able to walk, talk, hear and see.

  • The fact that winter is always followed by spring.

  • Friends who support me, uplift me and encourage me.

  • A variety of foods in my pantry, cupboards and freezer.

  • Gas in my working car.

  • Multiple pairs of shoes for my feet.

  • A closet full of clothes.

  • Extra rooms in my house for family and friends


I could go on and on all day. When I stop to list the things I am blessed with, it is truly humbling. Anything I may have wanted to complain about becomes paltry in comparison. Life may be hard, mundane or discouraging, but remember;

"He never promised that the cross would not get heavy, that the hill would not be hard to climb. He never offered our victory without fighting but he said help would always come in time"

5 comments:

jen May 11, 2010 at 7:29 AM  

amen, sister!!

Misi May 11, 2010 at 9:48 AM  

Great post. Absolutely agree. Love and kisses

Kim@NewlyWoodwards May 11, 2010 at 4:30 PM  

I agree to some degree with this post, but I also believe that mothers do deserve praise and I don't really think it's ungrateful to expect it one day a year. I'm not a mom, but I feel like saying what mothers should and shouldn't say is harsh. I also think calling mothers ungrateful is a bit harsh.

I totally respect your opinion, but I think this is also a fine line to being judgmental - and I have seen too much of that in the blogosphere. I hope my own response isn't too harsh. I just felt compelled.

Sara Louise May 11, 2010 at 5:06 PM  

Truly a beautiful reminder of how blessed we are. Just having four children here on earth to raise for Jesus is a tremendous honor and blessing in itself for which I am eternally grateful. Thank you for this reminder that giving to my family is of greater value than getting some temporal trinket on a designated day.

Jennifer May 11, 2010 at 5:09 PM  

Thanks for your input. I wasn't saying that mothers don't deserve praise, in fact I said quite the opposite. I said they shouldn't expect praise, and then sulk when they don't get it. I'm also not calling all mothers ungrateful, just these ones that whined about what they didn't have done for them. My overall point was to not set expectations and to be grateful, not to judge mothers as a group. :-) I really appreciate you giving your viewpoint!

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