What’s in your mouth? Don’t hold the dog’s tail to ride down the hallway. What’s stuck in your hair? Let’s not kick the cat in the face. Don’t lick that!
I never imagined how all-consuming raising a tiny human could be. If you’ve been around a toddler long enough, I’m sure you’ve dealt with some of these same statements. Despite how some of these sound humorous, raising little ones comes with many difficult moments as well. From the newborn sleepless nights to difficult nap schedules. Days of fussing and crying that we cannot figure out how to stop. Postpartum recovery that never seems to end. Realizing we cannot do it all and struggling through how to balance our priorities. In the midst of these trying times, it can be difficult to remember to be thankful or even see what there is to be thankful for. We can get so caught up in the stress and the mess that we let our hearts harden in our selfishness and angst and forsake a heart of gratitude to the Lord.
Learning to maintain a thankful heart while raising a baby has been a very hard lesson for me to learn. Being a mama has not come easy for me but I am so thankful to the Lord for bringing me this far on this journey He has prepared for me. I want to share a few spiritual and practical ways that have really helped me continue to praise God for His faithfulness through this season.
Practical Ways to Maintain Thankfulness
- Renew our Minds
It is so easy to get caught up in the lies in our heads and see them as truth. I’m not good enough. I can’t get enough done. I’m a failure because this isn’t how I planned my life would go.
However, Philippians 4:8 gives us a better model on what we should dwell on: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. We can ask ourselves if our inner dialog is true, pure, lovely, etc. This will help us align our thoughts with the truth of the gospel and therefore generate a greater atmosphere of gratitude. I would encourage you to also surround yourself with a community of believers that will speak truth into your situation.
Having strong, fellow believers in the trenches with you and the influences of those who have gone before you are such an encouragement. Sometimes it takes someone else reminding us of the truths of the gospel for us to realize where our thoughts are at and then redirect them to greater gratitude to Christ.
- Rediscover our Purpose
When we’re believing lies and stuck in our own selfishness, we forget how great a blessing children truly are. Scripture explains in Psalm 127:3-4 that children are a heritage from the Lord. God has entrusted them to us to guide and disciple and that is such a gift! Our mission as believers should be to live the gospel life and disciple others along the way. Who better to be called to disciple than our own children! When I take the time to really let this sink in, I am grateful for this humbling opportunity that the Lord has given me.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
By being in a continual state of communion with God, we can give thanks to Him and call out to Him throughout our days for help. This constant communication can help us redirect our thoughts to Him and maintain a heart of thankfulness throughout any situation.
- Exchange Stress for the Peace of Christ
Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
When we embrace the peace of Christ and allow that to rule over the stress of our lives, it is easier to be more joyful and thankful. When we have a heart grounded in God’s peace, we see how we truly have so much to thank Him for despite how crazy our lives can seem.
It is much easier said than done, but the ability to find true rest in Christ is vital.
Matthew 11:28-29 explains how we can give Christ our burdens in exchange for His rest. What better way to experience the peace of Christ and reflect on Him with a thankful heart than to find our rest in Him. Rest is the most coveted concept when you are raising a little one. The world can give us all kinds of tips for self-care and rest but we still usually feel empty and exhausted afterward. We should have regular times planned where we rest, but also rest in Christ through surrendering our cares to Him and worshipping Him in that. One thing I’ve found restful I can even do with my daughter is to take walks and pray. When I pray out loud, I’m able to give my cares to the Lord, thank Him for all He’s done, and teach my little girl how prayer works. It’s important to not just seek rest in an activity, but in Christ. This rest aids to show us even more things we have to be thankful for.
At the end of the days of madness, we still really do have so much to be thankful for. May we root our hearts and thoughts in Christ so that our children will see Him in us as we maintain a heart of thankfulness to Him.
HBC COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANT
Morgan joined the HBC staff in 2017. She loves to be outside (especially at the beach or anywhere on the water). She also loves to write, eat ice cream, snuggle with her polydactyl cat, and take walks with her family.