Sunday, October 2, 2011


Ongoing gratitude.

It's easy to be thankful once. Like, right when something wonderful happens. Right when the vows are being said. Right when the baby lets out its first cry. It's easy to give thanks in those moments.

But then there's ongoing gratitude. The kind of thankfulness that doesn't let up. The kind of gratitude that is just as present on Day 100 as it is on Day One. Rare, perhaps. But really, really important.

I keep thinking about this lately because my daughter is so good at ongoing gratitude, and I want to learn from her. Often when she gets dressed she pauses and says, "Thank you for buying this shirt for me, Mommy. And thank you for getting me these pants." She thanks me for the toys I've given her and the food I've made her. And not just the first time, but often thereafter.

Maybe it's excessive, perhaps it's unnecessary. But it keeps gratitude fresh in her heart, and that's never a bad thing.

Because it's not too difficult to be grateful on your wedding day. That isn't much of a stretch. It's easy to acknowledge the blessing of your spouse when everyone's dressed up in tuxedos and satin. But perhaps it's a lack of ongoing gratitude for one's spouse that is at the root of many a divorce.

And it's easy to be grateful for a newborn child. Before the 1,200th diaper has been changed or the temper tantrums kick in, it's really not too bad! But an absence of ongoing gratitude for our children is what leads us to believe our children are burdens rather than blessings. We begin to forget that we've been entrusted with God-made, glorious people to raise up, and rather we begin seeing them as the ones who stand in the way of _______________ (fill in the blank--More sleep? Fewer stresses? More ME time? 80% less laundry?)

And last but not least, what about an ongoing gratitude that Jesus did for us what we couldn't possibly do for ourselves? How would your day or mine unfold differently if at the front of our minds was the cross of Christ? I can tell you that this very day of mine might have gone differently if my mind was saturated with thoughts of ongoing gratitude for the fact that I have been shown unfathomable mercy and grace. But nope--I was thinking of a million other things today--the least of them, gratitude. And it showed. But after a time of worship, of reminders of what my God has done when I deserved it least, there was gratitude once again. And my mind was clear to know how to rightly act and react once gratitude was restored.

Ongoing gratitude.
For our jobs. For our homes. For our food. For our churches. For our families. For our friends. It's ridiculously important. And yes, I am trying my best to learn that from my 3-year old who seems to get it much more readily than I.

Be joyful always, pray continually.
Give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you
in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18


  1. Wow! Thank you Thea Nelson! And thank you Lord for speaking through this amazing woman! I have to go and be grateful now...

  2. first, your new space looks terrific! TERRIFIC.

    my daughter emilie is a lot like aila (sp). she has always been grateful. i agree, let her thanks increase.

    i loved your perspective here. that we are thankful when baby is born, but burdened by diaper 1,200.
    it wasn't until i began "entering his gates with thanksgiving in my heart" for my children every single. day. that i lived in pure joy for them.
    and that joy affects them in such a beautiful way and is returned to me 100 fold!

    now, i have to go update your link on my sidebar.