Caleb: Mommy, we forgot James the Red Engine!
Me: You don't have James. You mean the one at the store?
Caleb: Yeah, we need to go get James; we forgot him.
Me: We didn't forget him. We just didn't buy him.
Caleb: Why not?
Me: Because we don't need him.
Caleb: Mommy, we forgot Emily.
You know that feeling that you get when you walk away from something at the store and just feel like you will always regret not buying it? It's similar to the one you get when you go to a new friend's house and realize that she has the space, clothes, furniture, neighborhood (we can all fill this in differently) that you have always wanted. It's been over six years since I lived in a third world country, washed my laundry two towels at a time, shopped daily for my bread in the market, and worked with college students who had fewer clothes than I had brought over in my two suitcases. How do I remember that I have enough... more than enough?
My oldest son wants every train he sees. He dwells on them, asks where they are if we don't buy them, remembers he doesn't have them days later. It would be easier to teach him contentment with what he has if his mother were content with what she possessed. Oh the riches that I possess!
After the birth of my second son (our baby turned one yesterday!), a friend told me to read Ann Voskamp's blog
, which then led me to her book One Thousand Gifts
. I read it, need to reread it, need to be reminded of the gifts God has given me. If I'm going to preach thankfulness to my sons, then I must live thankfulness. If I expect them to recognize God's grace in their lives, I need to open my eyes to His abundant gifts in my own life.
As a recovering (okay, trying to perfectly recover) perfectionist, I grapple daily with the fact that I will never arrive
. I'll never have it all together, nor will my children. We're all just fumblingly trying to grasp the lesson of the moment that God has for us. Funny how my children's lessons line up so beautifully with what I myself need to learn.
I want to walk in obedience, in thankfulness, in joyful submission so here starts my list. It's not grand and will often be grammatically incorrect, but it's my first step in teaching my sons thankfulness... learning thankfulness myself. Remembering and recording the gracious gifts of my God.