I preach gratitude. I KNOW it can make or break your day (or night). It can change your perspective. But I don’t think any of us are immune to sometimes forgetting to practice what we preach.
Tonight was my night.
Let me tell you—I was having A NIGHT. Like, the kids are at each other’s throats, I’m trying to make dinner with a baby who just wants to be held and nurse, I have a cold, I almost set the kitchen on fire because of said baby situation, there’s no chocolate in the house when I desperately need it, and the farmer was home from work for one minute before he said he had to leave again go plant wheat.
Now mamas, you know what it’s like when you have had a long day and you are counting down the minutes, the SECONDS, till your husband walks in the door from work so you can, oh, I don’t know, pee for the first time in hours, BREATHE, maybe take a shower since it’s been two days….and then no, no, and nope. And there’s STILL no chocolate.
I was feeling no joy.
So this mama did not have her proudest moment. Throw in the fact that said husband was supposed to stop at the store and get ingredients so I could make a salad for a funeral dinner tomorrow (guys—we live 25 miles from a grocery store that has the needed ingredients), and I was now a touched-out, smelly, ANGRY mama. I said a few choice words (not in front of the children at least) and then put myself in time-out in the bedroom. And again, I closed (ok, slammed) the door so the children wouldn’t see me acting like…..a child.
After a few minutes in tears on my knees on the floor, I got up, channeled my own mother—who parented alone for most all of her parenting-young-children years (my parents also farm)—and went out and fed the children a delicious meal and then we all showered and it was time to put the kids to bed.
Fast-forward through the marathon that is bedtime, and after making a salad out of what I had from our garden and in my pantry (who knew??!?), I did something I have not done in months—put in a movie. It was one my sister brought to my house, saying how good it was. So I finally put it in. Have you heard of it? “Miracles from Heaven.” I’ll just tell you right now—watch it alone with a box of Kleenex, because you will ugly cry through the entire movie.
Spoiler alert—the movie is based on the true story of a young girl suffering from a rare disease who is miraculously cured after surviving a terrible accident.
It was like God knew exactly what I needed tonight (um because of course He did.) I was instantly humbled. Which is exactly how I should be—God commands us to be humble. It is, after all, how we can be submissive, gentle and patient. If we are full of pride we cannot do God’s will.
James 4:10 says “ Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
So, this movie brought me back to my knees, humble before God, thanking him for my healthy children, and all of the riches I have. I’m certainly not talking money. I am talking about all of the things I have that money cannot buy. My terrible night suddenly did not seem terrible at all. I thanked God for my healthy family, my cozy house, the baby asleep on my chest, the farmer who provides for us. Maybe I had gotten too prideful in my “I can handle this” attitude.
So although I temporarily forgot to practice gratitude, I most definitely came right back to it after watching this heartbreaking but miraculous story.
And speaking of being lifted up, when talking about making the movie, Jennifer Garner, who plays the mom, said “As I was growing up, my mom was so intent on us finding joy in small things. She said, ‘If you don’t have the ability to find joy in a flower opening, or in a meal that you love, or in a conversation, then you won’t have joy in life.’ It’s saying to open yourself up to the idea that there are miracles everywhere, all the time.”
I say take that a step further and thank God for those things that bring you joy. It took a movie to remind me to change my perspective.
So, the next time I am in a mommy time-out on my bedroom floor, I will make it a point to be thanking God for the small things, instead of dwelling on the small things that I think are big joy-stealers.