I’ve found myself saying this pretty much her whole life so far, but Adele is at a really fun stage. She is able to express herself fairly well for a 19 month old and her vocabulary is exploding. While she is learning so many new words, we have also been trying to teach her some manners to go along with them. “Please” and “Thank you” being some of them. Instead of “MELK!”, we gently instruct her to ask politely with a “Please”.
We were at the dinner table a few weeks ago, and Adele accidentally dropped a piece of food as she was handing it to me. It made a bit of a mess. Artie and Adele had just cleaned up the kitchen floor the night before, so with a sigh (in response to the mess) and a grunt (because of my belly being in the way of reaching down) I reached down to start picking up pieces of food. Artie got up and got a paper towel to wipe up the residue. While both of us had our hands on the ground tending to the mess, Adele said,
“Thank you, Mommy. Thank you, Daddy.”
We both looked up, looked at each other, looked back at her as she smiled at us. Oh, how that made my heart swell with love for her! Up to this point she’s been like a parrot, repeating the words she hears. But in this moment, Artie and I hadn’t said a thing. Unsolicited, those words came out of her mouth. Who knows if she actually knew the meaning of what she said, but it was quite a special moment and the mess on the floor was long forgotten. There is something good for the heart to give and receive thanks.
The joy and pleasure I got out of that moment carried me for days. Why did it feel so good? By her saying, “Thank you, Mommy” it acknowledged that we had done some thing for her and she recognized it. When she said our names, she directed her gratitude at us, the ones who had served her. It also created a positive emotion for her. It caused me to reflect on my own giving of thanks to the One who has done so much for me. Is this how God feels when we acknowledge him and give thanks to him? Our thanksgiving isn’t just an acknowledgement of the gifts, but a recognition and love of the Giver. The Bible admonishes us to do this and gives us examples all throughout:
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1 ESV
Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. Psalm 30:4 ESV
Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 106:1 ESV
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 ESV
What about thanksgiving in suffering? When life is really hard? When you are a couple of weeks away, maybe just days from saying goodbye, in this life, to one of your children? While there are many emotions I am feeling in these final weeks of pregnancy, when I take the time to give thanks to the Father for what He has done, I am filled with a peace and a confidence that He will continue to do the very things He has done and been doing and carry us through what lies ahead. There is MUCH for me to be thankful for and He is worthy of giving thanks to.
Thank you, Lord, for opening my eyes to a real hope – one that I don’t deserve.
Thank you for giving us Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, our high priest who can sympathize with our weakness, our Savior and Redeemer, the One who has made eternal life with you possible.
Thank you for giving me your Word that is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Thank you for the faithful people, from old times and new, who have suffered well and faithfully followed you.
Thank you for the mysterious way you use suffering and hardship to bless us and grow us.
Thank you for tangibly displaying your love to our family through the body of Christ, the church.
Thank you for the kindness and generosity of so many, even strangers.
Thank you for giving us strength and endurance thus far.
Thank you for giving us Arthur, he is such a beloved member of our family. Thank you for using the smallest and weakest among us to do big things. Thank you for letting us take care of him for this long, a point we were unsure we would get to.
There are also hundreds of people I could individually thank for the many things you have done for us. If I had the time, I would list each of you out here in this blog post. If you have reached out to us in any way, whether just a simple text message that you are praying or whether you have given a meal or sent a package – Thank you. My heart is full of sincere gratitude for the kindness you have shown us in these past few months. We would not be where we are today, grieving with hope, without you.
Whatever you are going through right now, I hope you can take the time to express your gratitude. Both the things you are thankful for and who you are thankful to.