Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude

This post is a little different than most, because I'm going to get a little crafty with you.

In our house, having the children do chores was starting to become time consuming, burdensome, and a trigger to much irritation and anger. So I stopped forcing them.

Now before you freak out thinking that I'm not teaching them responsibility and so on and so forth, I stopped them for awhile to think about and reevaluate why we were having them do chores and where we had gone wrong or what we had been missing in our teaching.

This month I have been trying to be intentional in thinking about all that I am thankful for, and as a part of that serving my family as a response to my appreciation for having such a blessing. Having stopped the children's chores (well, not completely), naturally, all that work fell back on me, so I was taking the opportunity to have a better attitude myself in doing them.

This made me realize something - we were teaching our children about responsibility, but not gratefulness. That's what was missing. Doing chores is not just about learning to be responsible, it's about being a good steward of the things God has blessed us with. But if I want them to think about taking care of our house and their things as an act of stewardship, I first must teach them to appreciate what they have been given! (That's the light bulb that went on in my head).

What does this mean for chores? Well, I've changed the system. We no longer have "chores" that are assigned to be done. We now have what I call "Thankful Acts". I made up cards with our chores, each has a poem that reminds them to be thankful for what they have and the act that shows appreciation.

There are acts they are all expected to do and then there are others they can choose from. Those that are not chosen, I will do (at least at first) while we continue to teach and encourage them to have attitudes of gratefulness.

One of the great parts about being a parent is that I learn so much in my efforts to teach them. I am so thankful that God laid it on me to take a break from the madness of trying to force them to learn responsibility to realize how much more important it is to teach them to be grateful for God's many blessings and that responsibility is how we show that, and in the process He worked on my attitude about serving my family.

"Whatever you do in word and deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." - Colossians 3:17

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hurricanes in the Home

Recently, Hurricane Sandy blew through the east coast.

Not long before that a hurricane blew through our home. This hurricane was caused by a cold front of bitterness colliding with a warm front of anger over the deep waters of our marriage relationship.

Waves of emotion crashed down. Tears rained for days. Thundering shouts of anger, lightning strikes of hurtful words.

The storm got so bad, I wanted to evacuate, but eventually decided to ride it out.

Then there was a loss of power.

Well, not really, because the truth is, I never had the power in the first place. (Matt. 6:13)

Thankfully, our power didn't actually go out during the actual storm, because by that point we were already in clean up mode. Literally. My husband is a landscaper, so the storms meant no work for him, so being holed up in our house, we embarked on a major house cleaning project.

This project involved going through every room in our house, clearing out the clutter, cleaning the room and carpets, painting dressers, and while we were at it - washing all the laundry in the entire house.

Now, I LOVE when we do projects together. I'm not really sure my husband is in the love stage when it comes to this. Honestly, I don't blame him, it always ends up in an argument. A big argument.

This time was different. This time we didn't argue even once. We were patient with each other, encouraging, and when I started to get tired and whiny and wanted to quit - Joshua was comforting and encouraging. He held strong, working day and night to paint dressers, sift through belongings, clean carpets and even helping keep up with the laundry.

It. Was. Amazing.

As much as I hate going through these storms in our relationship (this would not be the first), I love what God does through it. It's not just that we got through a huge project together without arguing (though you have no idea how HUGE that is), that just represents some of the ways God has been working on us.

Oh, and God is doing big things in the heart of my husband who not only endured Hurricane Barbie, but has been lovingly bringing me back to where God wants me.