More than ever, I am grateful for Scripture. For truth. For hope with handles, a faith I can grasp with both hands. God's promises? No small thing. They are what get me up and out of bed, sustain me throughout the day, and tuck me in, safe and sound, each and every night. For His Word, I am so incredibly grateful.
But sometimes? Sometimes I forget. Sometimes, I fail to give thanks. But praise be to God, He always manages to pull me back in and remind me of His goodness. Through a stranger's welcoming smile, or tucked inside an encouraging word from a friend, He reminds me. This week, it was through an unexpected encounter while driving through the city; the opportunity to hand whatever was in my wallet to the homeless man begging on the street. The man, whose eyes grew wide as he held the ten dollar bill in his hand, who lit up like a Christmas tree and shouted from the heart, “THANK YOU!” And then, after he gave thanks, offered to help me.
“I can clean up your yard...I am good in the yard…” he said. After I told him I did not live nearby, I asked for his name. Because I thought I should know it, as much as he should say it out loud. He was named after all, by a mother like me. “Benjamin,” he said. And just before I drove away, I promised, “Benjamin, consider yourself covered in prayer.” Holding the ten dollar bill pressed against his chest he nodded his head and said, “Pray for me.” And then, he thanked me, again.
Gratitude. It is so powerful.
You see, I believe that gratitude is “holy medicine.” I believe it is healing. I believe that being grateful is the antidote to everything. I also believe that if Christ dwells inside of us, no matter the circumstance, we can be grateful. Like Benjamin, homeless on the side of the road. Like Jesus, among friends on the night He was betrayed. Both, in utterly distressing situations, found reason to give thanks.
This message of gratitude should not be reserved for the month of November or Thanksgiving Day, and should be passed on to everyone we encounter, most especially, our children. Sure, we teach them to say thank you, but to understand real gratitude, to fully grasp the meaning of blessing, they need to start with Jesus. They need to encounter Him. In order to give thanks in all things, knowing truth is essential because the reality is, sometimes being grateful is hard.
The Walking With Purpose middle school girls' ministry, Blaze, offers Between You And Me, a 40-day devotional conversation guide for mothers and daughters that is the perfect way to teach our daughters about the gift of truth, about gratefulness that does not depend on circumstance. Written to read together, each day compares a lie of our secular culture with the truth found in Scripture. I have begun this practice with my own daughters, and I love how it allows us the opportunity to journal, discuss, ask questions, and pray. It has been instrumental in teaching my girls to recognize the lie, to learn truth, and to look for the blessings. Whether it is over breakfast before school, or with a bag of chips in bed at night, it is exactly the tool I needed to enrich my relationship with my daughters, as well as with Christ.
As the month of gratitude starts its wind down, and December, in all its madness, is just around the corner, I have been thinking about how we can all hang on to, and continue to pass on, this message of gratitude and truth. And I was thinking...what if we gifted all of our daughters this Christmas with the Between You And Me devotional? What if our daughters gave them to their friends as gifts? What if we passed them on to our mommy friends, to share with their girls? What if we placed it in the Christmas stocking of the new mom, expecting a daughter? Better than a candle or coffee shop gift card, how about we give the gift that has the ability to change lives, and better our most important relationships? What if we make this year the year we give the gift that we can all truly be grateful for?
Know that on this Thanksgiving Day, and every day, I will be praying and thanking God for the blessing of you and the Walking With Purpose community. May we continue to seek the truth, pass it on, and look for the blessings.
And if you would, please pray for my friend Benjamin, a blessing on the side of the road; who healed my own lack of gratitude and taught me what it means to give thanks...in all things.
Your Sister in Christ,
Want to join me in gifting your girls with a Christmas gift that matters? Purchase the Between You And Me devotional here!