In a recent conversation with my fiancé, we discussed the power of a thank you and how significant it is to show appreciation.Gratitude, in my own personal terms, is an expression of sincere appreciation for what has been done for you. We live in a society where so many feel entitled to things and where lack of appreciation is prevalent. Growing up it was a custom in our home to conduct ourselves with what my mom referred to as “manners.” When you’re given a gift or if someone displays a kind gesture a “thank you” was the automatic reply. I’m appalled when I see children and even adults today become offended if when a gift is given it is not what was desired. As if to say without words that the thought behind the gesture is unimportant because what you gave wasn’t good enough.
Years ago when traveling to Honduras we packed simple gifts to share such as candy. The children were so grateful and I was moved by the outpouring of affection and appreciation by something that cost me so little but meant so much to the recipient. In that moment it made me want to give all I had and whatever I had because of the gratitude that was demonstrated.
I’ve learned that the more I’m appreciated for what I give of myself to others the more I want to be a blessing to them. There is something powerful about appreciation that makes me want to open the vault to my heart and give the very best I have to offer.This does not mean I go about my day seeking the approval for what I can do for people whether in my job or relationships however I do take notice to the level of appreciation and reciprocation that comes back into my life. This serves as a test for me to see how much of myself I should invest. In the same token, I have a responsibility to be mindful of who crosses my path each day and how they have served me. Am I returning the favor of honoring people who have helped and blessed my life?
I truly believe that everything we do in life is a seed and will produce a harvest. I desire to live a life filled with good things, so then, I have to “plant seeds” that will yield good fruit.
Ways to show appreciation:
- Our relationship with God
“For God so loved the world that He GAVE His only begotten son…” (reference to John 3:16). God gave us the ultimate gift by giving us Jesus. We can show our appreciation of this gift by living a life that honors God!
- Our relationship with our family
Ladies, let’s practice this first in our homes. Let’s not become so common in our relationships that we take them for granted. How would our husbands feel if when he takes out the trash we say (genuinely) “thank you”? Or what if when we catch our children doing something kind, we acknowledge them with a thank you for doing the right thing?
The grocery store clerk-it is not difficult to offer a smile and a thank you to those serving us in public. What about our servers at a restaurant? Let’s be kind and show our appreciation not only with our words but also with a good tip! These are hard working people and they deserve to know that what they do is important but more so who they are as a person deserves to be recognized and validated.
I believe the more we become aware of our blessings our attitude of gratitude will become like a magnet and warmly welcome more of God’s goodness in our lives!
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I’m starting to feel like God is dealing with me in a certain way on purpose. That way is through the reality that no matter how many years I’ve lived, or how many times I’ve gone through self-improvement processes, I will never ever come to a place where I can say, “I have arrived.” Believe it or not I view this as a good thing. Just when I think I have a portion of my life all figured out for once, other areas are revealed within me to encourage continuous change. As soon as I conquer impatience, my attitude needs adjusting. When I get my attitude in order, my emotions start going all over the place. Once I wrangle all of my wild emotions, I make a comment that offends someone. Again, life is a continuous process of improvement. The moment we stop improving is the moment we stop living.
A quote I’ve used numerous times before, “The only thing that is constant is change.” (Heraclitus) With that being the case, I want to make sure I’m on the front end of change because usually I’m on the back end. You know when things start adjusting and you’re sitting back scratching your head trying to figure out how or why? I’d rather live my life in a way that change feels welcome because let’s be honest, it’s going to take over whether I let it or not. Ready your heart and your mind for people to change, jobs to change, scenery to change, and for you to change. It will save you lots of time being hurt or offended and/or being the one is who constantly hurting and offending others. It’s okay to adjust. Growing up, maturing, or simply altering your mindset is a good thing. Every little tweak on your character is creating a more fabulous you!
As we come into spring it really has me thinking of the new season of parenting I am entering in. My oldest daughter is in her pre-teens and going into middle school this fall. There is a rollercoaster of emotions that I have been experiencing as I raise this precious daughter. I am emotional about her being so independent where she doesn’t need me as much as when she was a little girl. With that, her approaching puberty and will she be okay when that “girl time” comes?
I question myself if I have prepared her to stand firm on God’s word and know His truth. Will she be ready for the peer pressure she will face and can she make the right decisions to go against the grain of what others are doing? All these questions and more make me feel so inadequate as a mother but I realize I am not doing it alone as my heavenly father will guide my steps and show my husband and I how to parent in this next season. He will protect her and Holy Spirit will give her that discernment she needs to make the right decisions. There comes a time where we need to let go and allow God’s work in our children. We can’t hold their hands every moment or cushion all their falls or failures.
This new season of life brings me hope in knowing that this is a time where God is blossoming her into a young lady and to see your child’s faith lived out is such a miracle in itself. I have learned to keep that open communication so she can come talk to me about anything. These conversations are so precious as your kids get older because you talk about life and concerns they have and you can share your experiences and bond in a deep way. Also having your home always be that safe haven where your kids come to and can lay their burdens down and always want to come home!
I want to embrace this new season of life with my daughter so I can see what God is doing and not be distracted and enjoy it because I know it doesn’t last long. Take the time to enjoy each season with your child and don’t hurry it, but soak it in, because in the blink of an eye it goes by fast as I am learning that!
I once met a woman who was a pastor counselor. Not just a pastor who did clergy council, but a bona fide, licensed minister and licensed therapist, degrees and all. When I asked her why she decided to be both she told me a true story of her life. Many years prior to her practice, her husband went missing. Years later, he was sighted, and approached by someone who recognized him. When asked where he’d been and if he was okay he let that person know that he simply wanted to leave and start over.
This caused such pain to this woman that she sought God for ways to help others in their time of trauma and devastation. Using talk therapy, she started a dialogue with her clients getting them to open up and share their story. She used her pastoral training prescribing Bible verses and spent time praying for her clients because according to her, “Jesus is the healer.”
Years have passed since I met this precious woman and still I think of her and her story often. I think about what I would have done if this had happened to me. So many people know the pain of divorce and live in the aftermath of a broken family. Many do not make it out without some serious scarring of the heart. Some don’t make it out at all yet this woman more than made it out alive, she was thriving. There have been times that I’ve stared trauma in the face and felt like throwing in the towel, and then I remember her. I remember that if God could carry her through, then surely He can carry me and comfort me so that one day I too can be of comfort to someone else in their time of need.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
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