Monday, February 08, 2010

Living the Thanks

I struggle. In so many more ways than one. But one of my biggest pitfalls is being very thankful internally and falling far short of expressing it externally. This goes beyond the "thank you" we say when we get a gift. I believe we are called to live thankfully. Saying that and doing it are two very different things.

Reagan begged me this morning to put Madison "on the floor" so she could play with her. This three year old begs me to let her play with her sister. And for some reason, I snapped at her. Its more work to put Madison down where she is lose and free and wandering and getting into...everything. Its easier to put her in the exersaucer where she will be entertained and confined and safe. Eventually I give in. I put Maddie down and walk away. And Reagan joyfully entertains her baby sister for the better part of 45 minutes. While I sit in the chair and try to figure out why these little things get under my skin so.

I am so thankful for my girls. I love them deeply, fiercely, eternally. I know there is nothing they could do that would ever take that love away. Its my glimpse of the depth of God's love for me. But I am not God. And in the same breath I say all those deep things of love for my children, there is a "but...". But sometimes I don't live it. But sometimes my patience wears too thin. But sometimes I let the anger flare. But sometimes I forget that love is more than words or feelings or actions. Part of love is living thankfully. I forget to let my life reflect the gratitude I have for the gifts and blessings God has given to me.

To live in thankfulness is to live beyond ourselves. I've been keeping a gratitude journal. I write 20 things in it each week. By the end of the year I should have over 1000. Its not hard to think of things to write. Its not hard for me to tell you what I am thankful for. I can spout off dozens of things easily, quickly...almost carelessly. But living it...that's the challenge.

Living thankfully means something different for every one of us. For me, its putting aside the to do list and the daily chores when Reagan asks to do a craft. Its sitting on the floor in the girls' room watching them play together. Its letting Madison crawl all over the house exploring while I diligently follow behind.

The chores, the caring for the house, the loads of laundry and the meals cooked are all ways I show love to my family, yes. But I'd be remiss if I thought that was the only way. I'd be mistaken if I thought that they'd be able to always translate those "acts of service" as "acts of love". Because often I'm just doing it because it needs to be done. And in the end, I really want my girls to remember me as the mom who was there - the one who sat on the bedroom floor and read countless books, the mom who left a pile of dishes in the sink till they were in bed so that she could play with them, the mom who valued their thousands of questions and attempts at conversations. I want to be the mom who lived her life in thanks for the wonderful gift of the two beautiful children who graced her life every day.

Doing the small things well has its values. But doing the big things well, doing them thankfully, speaks a love to our children that will never leave them.

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