Thursday, March 26, 2009

Gratitude, Part One

I've come here a lot before and confessed things, just tried to unload in this place and get things off my chest. Once I confessed a life-long addiction ... to books. And today I'm coming with another huge addiction, this one just as safe as the first though it is not nearly as long lived.

I am addicted to podcasts. For a short time, I even had my own. I don't podcast on my own any longer, but I do still listen to several different podcasts, soaking up what there is to learn, lessons from godly teachers and people in the know.

Today I was listening to an old show (trying to work my way through lots of those lately), and it was an interview between James Dobson and Zig Ziglar, both amazing speakers and quite motivational. Well, Zig happened to mention his "wall of gratitude", and it got me thinking. What's a wall of gratitude? What purpose does it serve? Why have one?

Well I leave you to answer the last of those questions on your own, but the answer to the first question is both simple and self-explanatory. Zig has this wall in his office, and on it he has posted photos and notes about the people who have had great influence on his life and on him as a man in today's world. It's a reminder to be grateful for who and what we are given, and to remember the memorable people in our lives. A wall of gratitude might mean nothing to you, and you may not want to do one ... but the idea really touched me. So I don't have a specific wall in my home that I can dedicate to this, and as a stay home parent, I don't happen to have an office wall available either, so here's who'd be on my wall, and why.

1.) GOD takes first place here. He's always been a part of my life, even when I was running from him as fast as I could. He's always been looking out for me, and looking back I can see that though my life was troubled in so many ways, I really came out all right. And God gets all the credit for that, for being there to mold me through all that I've gone through. For instilling an almost unshakable hope in me that no matter what happens, it'll be all right in the end. For holding my hand when I needed to be steadied, for catching me when I fell, for wiping my tears when there was no one else who cared. For sending people into my life who did care. And for sending others who took part in teaching me to become who I am today. But mostly? For finding me worthy. For coming here in human flesh, for limiting himself so that he could gain a better understanding of me as a human woman, for being willing and loving enough to take my place on a cross, for laying down his life to allow me access to God. Just for who he is, and who he was, and who he will always be.

2.) Then there's my daughter, Teenybop. I learn daily from her about who I am, and about who I am not. She says things to me or about me sometimes that point out how hard I try to be a good mother to her ... and other times? She says things to me, and about me, that point out how much work I have left to do before I really achieve the goal. Some days I don't want to play, but then she reminds me every time that I do take a few minutes to hang out with her, just why there is so much joy to be had in motherhood. Some days I don't want to talk and just the sound of her voice screeches in my head and I desperately crave silence ... but then she reminds me when I listen ... she gives me a glimpse into her world and her views that remind me of what it was like to be a child, while also showing me what a sweet, kind-hearted and mature little girl she really is. And truly, I am not the gift here. She is an angel sent to me from God, to remind me, to teach me, to help him mold me, and to give me an understanding of his perspective. He came here to understand me, and he sent her to help me understand him, a father of disobedient and often ungrateful children. He hurts when we reject him, he hurts when we are wrong, but he hurts too, when we suffer for our wrongs. It's on a greater scale, but I think of it as being like when I have to spank my beautiful little angel daughter for her misdeeds ... and then go in the other room to cry and beg God to keep leading me. Only God hurts more, and has no one to ask for help. But it's why he sent her, to bless me, and to teach me. I can only imagine the lessons this child has in store for me, and I pray with all my heart that I am successful in my stewardship of this loaned child he has placed in my arms.

3.) My dad. I am so grateful for my earthly father's presence in my life. There have been ins and outs, there have been good times and bad times, but my father taught me so much about how to treat other people. He treated me as a child like I was nearly a full grown adult, because I tended to think and act like one. I was very mature as a child (in most things), and could hold very adult conversations with him about career dreams (both mine and his), family issues, school friends, boys ... anything. I have a greater understanding of him now that I have Teenybop, who is more like a fifteen year old than a five year old at nearly any given moment. But he handled it well, and I was raised feeling both loved and respected by my father, while also knowing and respecting his authority. It is now my job as a parent to do for my daughters what I feel my father did for me ... In many ways, he showed me what God is like. Strong and not to be disobeyed, but loving at all times and ready to step in and save you when you need it. If you ever find this (and I'm sure you will) ... Thanks Dad. I love you.

Well ... there are more people to be listed here, but this requires more thought and consideration ... so I'll see you at Gratitude, Part Two!