Monday, April 11, 2011


Years ago, I read a book called The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. It's a fantastic book and I highly recommend it to anyone, which is not something I readily do when it comes to tales of the Holocaust. But this book was, for me, so much more than a story of oppression and suffering, though it is full of both. More than that, it was a lesson in humility and gratitude. The way Corrie and her sister were able to endure so well was a clear result of their decision to choose an attitude that would seem impossible in such dire circumstances. They constantly searched each situation for God's hand and always came away with something to feel grateful for. It was not easy for them, but they succeeded because they were so determined in the effort. At one point in the book, they decided to be grateful for the fleas that tormented them in the barracks of the concentration camp, because the presence of the fleas kept the guards out. With the guards keeping this distance, they were free to hold Bible studies with their fellow prisoners, a practice that brought all of them great comfort and a sense of purpose.

It is so easy to feel frustrated with the many little inconveniences or difficulties of our lives day to day, but when we make a decision to look for a source of gratitude, we can bring a swift halt not only to our grumblings, but to all our negative feelings. Sometimes those negative feelings seem so powerful and overwhelming, yet a simple step in the direction of feeling thankful for something--no matter how small--can melt them away so quickly. It really is true that you just can't hold on to both feelings at once. So, with that in mind, here are a few things I am grateful for:

1. fatigue
2. a messy house
3. sore feet
4. sunburn
5. many unfinished projects
6. a big grocery bill
7. too much laundry to do
8. finding sticky spots on my just-mopped kitchen floor
9. not having enough down time
10. spending all day shopping and not getting anything for myself

These are the trappings of motherhood. How can I be truly grateful for my children if I do not allow myself to approach all these things with a wink and a nod? There are many women out there who would gladly endure much more than this for the blessings of being surrounded by the glorious, messy, chaotic joy that only children can bring. So bring it on. There will come a time all too soon when that list will shrink, and I will have to find new things to be grateful for.

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