“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name." Pslam 100:4. Pastor Geri spoke this past Sunday about how easy it is for us to be thankful for the various blessings we all received over the past year.
“However how easy is it to be thankful for the trails and hardships?”, she stated to the congregation as I silently added “Does teething babies and temper tantrums count?”
Pastor Geri did have a point. How often do we get on our knees and thank God for allowing another hardship or another storm? I never thanked God over this last year for my daughter. I was thankful that I was no longer pregnant, but that was about it. First there was her birth. I STILL need therapy over being twice induced and pushing out a ten pound baby with a failed epidural. She never took a bottle, a pacifier, or a tippy (until at 11 months, she decided bottles weren't all that bad). She also shrieked herself to sleep each night, and insisted on doing everything herself. Did I mention she has strawberry blond hair and her stylist who watches her on occasion mentioned to me that red heads are really blonds with furious tempers and this includes strawberry blonds?
It was also hard to be thankful for the antics my busy son had pulled on me. I never found the right words or time to thank God for a strong willed, hyper balled, boundary testing, push Mommy to the limit two going on three year old son! Looking back, I was never thankful for when he oil painted the dog, ran away from home, sent my casserole dishes sledding down the stairs, rubbed blue sparkle tooth paste on the walls, slammed a hole in the closet door, body slammed his infant sister, getting stitches in his lip, or that he was waiting in time out every Sunday and Wednesday night for us.
I did however, thank God constantly for my oldest child. Going on 10 years old, she was and still is a blessing daily for distracting her siblings and making them smile.
Pastor Geri also touched on verse James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy my brothers (and sisters) whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I felt convicted of my negative attitude as God gently whispered to me what He intended with these trials. During the process of setting boundaries, reinforcing rules, rocking an inconsolable child to sleep, God was chipping away at the stubborn streak in me. He was molding my rebellious and controlling tendencies. More than once this last year I was on my knees crying like a baby telling Him I couldn't take any more chaotic moments. Slowly and painfully fruit was produced. Instead of being stubborn, rebellious, impatient, independent and a screamer; I became patient with my children, dependent on God and my friends, I found myself on my knee's each day, and screamed less! Don't get me wrong, I'm still as high-strung as they get. Believe me, my friends who are in message therapists, and occupational therapists are still challenged by all the knots they find in my neck alone!
During worship I heard God gently say, “How else are you going to relate and understand these women and young moms that I will be bringing to you? I sent my son to walk in your shoes so you would know that He understood your trials, your pain, your joys, and to bring you back to me.” As these words passed through my spirit, I was in awe of how these moments of madness were and are affecting others.
Life on planet Mom this last year has been more than just one trial, it has been one non-ending trial. I had been waiting and holding my breath for this stage to pass. After this moment of reflection and thanksgiving this past Sunday, I came away with a new perspective on my moments of trials. Granted, my moments are not as serious as someone battling cancer or a crumbling marriage, but I will praise God in each storm my children may bring just the same. So with that said, I'm thankful for each woman that crosses my path who relates to my parenting issues. I'm thankful for my friends whom I can lean on for a break or advice and playmates. I'm thankful for groups like MOPS where we can all lean on each other. I'm thankful for the multiple bags of Dove Chocolate my husband has brought home on those rough nights. I'm thankful for Scrubby Bubbles, bleach, and Magic Erasers. I'm thankful for being able to think outside the box to challenge my son's strong will. I'm thankful for solid foods and Tori wanting to eat them. I'm thankful for my friends, Pauline, Mandy, Bea, Audra, Shelley and Georgie for helping me at the drop of a hat! I'm thankful for naps and bedtime. I'm thankful that each day is a chance for a do-over. I'm thankful that I can be a kid with my kids. I'm thankful for alter calls and every chance to wipe the slate clean. Most of all I'm thankful that not one trial crosses my path without going through God first. And to know that He is there with me, every step of the way.