26 years have passed since I have been actively engaged in the lives of preschoolers. My “baby” is now 29 and my grandchildren are 4,2 and 1. Recently I had the privilege of immersing myself as the only adult in the lives of a 4 and 1 year old over a period several days. I was assuming the role of their mother, in fact the 1 year old called me mama. My role as a grandmother was in many ways more joyful than my earlier experience as a mother of preschoolers. What was the difference? My attitude….
As a mother I was set into a focused mode of striving to be the perfect mother with the perfect kids and run the perfect household. This cloud of “perfection” was like living in a haze, unaware of the joy in the small blessings before me. Constant “kid” questions were annoyances rather than an appreciative awareness of a “kid” wonder of the world. Messes were discouraged with controlling demands focusing on order rather than on the joy of childhood play.
The pressure of a sense of “perfection” can deflate the sense of joy of the moment.
Grandmother hood gave me the freedom to let go of the striving for perfection and focus on seeking being truly present with my grandchildren.
What shifted for me as parenting grandmother?
The attitude of gratitude….focusing on the pleasure of the small things, thankful for the moment. I discovered that joy is inevitable in the presences of thankfulness.
Thankfulness, to give thanks, to have a grateful heart, to give praise is a state of consciousness. The definition of thankfulness is; conscious of benefit received. Webster’s synonyms include being satisfied and joyful. The connection of joy with thanksgiving is even articulated in the Webster dictionary.
Science has proven that thoughts of thanks improve brain chemistry and health. There is the term Thank Therapy describing a important intervention for depression. Spiritual formation is inspired through the grace of gratitude. The following quote by G.K. Chesterton articulates the value of thanks:
I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
Giving thanks is not an option for physical and spiritual health. It is essential; an intentional (conscious) focused awareness of gratitude for the grace of God in our lives. Scripture speaks to thanks as a daily, continuous process. Here are 20 Bible (ESV) verses regarding the attitude of gratitude. (If you have any other verses to share please comment!)
1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Psalm 107:1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever
Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Colossians 3:15-17 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
James 1:17 (ESV) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (Message)Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light.
Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
Psalm 106:1 Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever
Psalm 105:1 Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!
Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Colossians 4:2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Psalm 118:1-18 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. …
Psalm 20:4 May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!
Psalm 30:12 That my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Romans 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
Isaiah 12:4-5 And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. “Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.
1 Chronicles 29:13 And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.
Philemon 1:4 I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers.
MAY YOU KNOW THE JOY OF THANKS