Discussing gratitude with you all isn’t new, but yesterday’s sermon on gratitude prompted today’s post. Because of the sermon, I was able to respond differently than I have in the past to what could have been disappointments surrounding Mother’s Day. I’m truly grateful!
Our Pastor, Sammy Foster, spoke on the fact that gratitude is essential to our relationship with God and therefore is the only way in and out of his presence. Jesus is King, and therefore deserves our gratitude for all he’s done, yet, feelings of entitlement hinder our gratitude. We can’t be grateful for something we think we deserve.
“Our gratitude begins where our entitlement ends.” Sammy Foster
That thought came home later in the day when I needed it.
I have three sons – one by adoption and 2 by marriage. As I’ve shared before, none of them asked me to be their mom, and all of them came to me with memories of a mom they knew and wanted. For each, my becoming a part of their lives only brought greater pain, because I “replaced” the mom they wanted and lost (either by adoption or death). Hence, Mother’s Days are difficult for them, and therefore for me. I’ve put my heart and soul into being there for each of them – playing the “Mom” role, while at least for Gary’s boys, just hoping to be seen as a “friend”. I get it, but it’s not easy for any of us.
I was truly blessed by so many as Sunday approached. Family and friends sent many Mother’s Day greetings via text. My Mom and sister-in-law sent beautiful cards, along with a gift card. Saturday, Gary took me to “our” restaurant. Then we walked around town, while he recounted our beginnings, and how grateful he is for me being in his and his boys’ worlds. All this while enduring pain from his recently sutured shoulder. It was a wonderful time together! Sunday we took Evan to church, and although he was having a hard time, tried very hard to be pleasant. Later, our oldest son and his girlfriend came over to do their laundry, and on their way out the door, wished me a Happy Mother’s Day. It too was a very pleasant visit.
However, during the day, I saw a FB post from a family member who’d been lavished with gifts from her kids. I spoke with a friend who’d been lavished with flowers from her daughter and special gifts from friends, knowing this was her first Mother’s Day without her son. Sadly, the green monster of envy silently crept in. “I’ll probably never get gifts on Mother’s Day from my children.”
Quickly, the sermon from the morning invaded my thoughts, and the Holy Spirit spoke tenderly, “The only gift Evan could give was to show you kindness. And how often do you thank me for those weekly laundry visits, commenting on how much they mean to you? Just because today has a label, should the visit mean any less?” And finally, “Your willingness to obey and be there for each of these boys will one day be rewarded by me in far more lavish ways than any earthly gift could.” In addition, I had already lavishly received so many “gifts” of love and thoughtfulness through the weekend from friends, family, and Gary!
I was caught with ingratitude smeared all over my face! Yet, because I chose, by grace, to listen and respond quickly, ingratitude truly lasted only moments instead of hours. Also, because I listened, I can look at all the gifts I received and truly be thankful. Finally, because I responded rightly to the Holy Spirit’s promptings, the visit with our son and his girlfriend blessed me, and they left with smiles.
Responding to God’s promptings toward gratitude can turn a difficult situation into a joy-filled celebration!
I’d love to hear how you have been prompted toward gratitude lately!
With love and prayers,