Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mom, what does gratitude mean?


I learn so much from my four year old.

from silly bandz to scooby doo... to the latest apps and games for an ipod

I learn things from Austin every single day.

Several days ago as Austin and I were running errands around town, I noticed the ugly beast of selfishness rearing its ugly head from the back seat.

"What are you going to buy me from the store, mom?" Austin asked matter-of-factly.

"Toilet paper!" I replied quickly.

"Toilet paper??? I can't play with toilet paper!" Austin stated loudly from the backseat.

"Of course you can play with toilet paper," I replied, "But I would prefer that you not play with toilet paper. It would sure make a mess for you to clean up!"

"But mooooommmmm..." and the whine started.

And I stopped the car.

And he stopped the whine.

"Why did you stop the car, mom?" He asked with a little bit of Godly fear starting to come into his day.

"Austin, I stopped the car because you do not have a heart of gratitude. Your behavior is unacceptable, and if you cannot show gratitude towards the things that I have already given you, then we will not go to the store at all. We will immediately go home and start packing up your toys and donate them to other children who don't have any toys. Do you understand me?"

"I do have a gratitude heart, mom!" He started crying. "I will have gratitude!"

And I turned the car back onto the road - towards the store for toilet paper.

As we walked up to the store from the parking lot, Austin looked at me with big eyes.

"Mom, What is gratitude?"

As we walked into the store, we talked about having a thankful heart. Thanking God and others for all the blessings we have received. Telling Jesus thank you for all the wonderful things that happen every single day in our lives.

And we bought toilet paper... and I completely forgot about our conversation.


Until this morning.

Following a beautiful service at my sister's church, a man in his thirties sat down at the grand piano and started playing an offertory song. The music was mesmerizing, but the melody... it was the melody that stirred my heart.

Give thanks with a grateful heart.
Give thanks to the Holy One.
Give thanks because He has given Jesus Christ, his son...

And suddenly, tears filled my eyes.

"Stop it!" I told myself. "Do not get choked up over a song you learned in third grade!"

But I was choked up because I was so convicted.

"Emily, you have not had a grateful heart." I sensed the Lord's prompting in my spirit. "You have been whining and complaining about all the things that have happened over the past year. You have not been thankful."

And it is true! The Lord has redeemed my marriage from the pit (in a year)! I am more in love with my husband than ever before in eight years of marriage. God brought my marriage back from the dead. In every sense, he figuratively did a working of resurrection power in my love for my husband (and vice versa).

And, in in the most literal of senses, God has brought my dad back to life! I will never forget walking into Dad's hospital room a few days after the transplant and honestly wondering if he was still alive in the hospital bed. He looked so weak, so wounded, so small. My dad... my hero dad was taken to death's door... and now he is back.

Yes, Dad still has multiple myeloma. Yes, dad looks like he has been to death's door and back (sorry, dad). But, I get to sit in the living room and talk to him. I get to see and hear his testimony daily about what he is learning about God through cancer. I get to have my dad. And while I hope that it is for another 40 years, I have my dad back today.

And I have not been having a heart of gratitude. Have the trials been difficult? More than words will ever express. But, would I do this year all over again?

I hesitate in my answer. I want to be honest.

For what I have learned about Jesus. For what I have experienced about his love and intimacy.

The answer is yes.

And I am so grateful.


Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
Colossians 3:16


3 chicks and a dude said...

Thank you for sharing your sweet testimony! You are such an encouragement! Miss having you around, but I'm so glad God has restored your marriage! (btw...Averi missing hanging with Austin too!).

Rosangela said...

I happened to visit your blog and could not resist reading your post! In fact, I could not stop reading it! Marvelous! It made me think! We have to thank Lord for every single moment in our lives!

Karen said...

oh, sweet friend ... thanks for the reminder! Love you! I am grateful for the opportunity to journey alongside you again ... and see God do amazing things!

Sherry said...

Until I saw your time-line from your previous post I had forgotten ALL that has taken place this past year. Am overwhelmed reading it all but am so thankful that God has redeemed and made so much beauty from ashes and restored something that in the moment seemed broken beyond repair. You are such an inspiration and such a great encourager. I see God using yours and James' testimony to reach into and provide hope and healing for so many.

Oh and yes... I love this Austin story. As always I love your mommy stories and your example you set forth.

Miss you my friend! :)