My children had finished with school for the day, so I sent them outside to play. My boys love being outdoors, and they had been happily playing for about an hour when I called them in to do some chores. Their responses ranged from crying to asking to stay out longer. (Of course, my child who cries when he’s disappointed is very good at producing a “heartbroken” cry over little things.) While this response is not always the case in such situations, the scenario plays out often enough for me to have shared a reminder similar to the following many times: “We need to be grateful for the good things we’re given instead of complaining about when the good things are over.” These conversations sometimes also include “Do all things without murmuring and disputing…” (Philippians 2:14) and “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thessalonians 5:18).
“I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.” Psalm 9:1
I encounter this challenge enough that I’ve mulled over it quite a bit and also lamented the behavior with other mommy friends who deal with similar reactions. Recently, God reminded me again that in so many ways my behavior to Him is often the same as my children’s to me. A friend recently posted the following, “We need to be more aware of what God is actually doing than frustrated that He’s not doing what we think He should.” At least for where I am in life right now, this resonated with me as saying the same thing I’ve been telling my children. I don’t label my thinking as complaining or ingratitude the way I label my children’s behavior, because it’s in my head. But in some ways, that can be more dangerous because it just doesn’t “look” or “sound” as ugly.
I’m so thankful when God gives me these reality checks, because it’s very easy for me to take one little step at a time down the slope of wrong thinking. I’m glad for little corrections that prevent greater heartache later. The same morning God brought this to my attention, I opened my Bible to Psalm 9. Verse 1 says, “I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.” The phrase “with my WHOLE heart” (emphasis added) struck home as I remembered that God is always at work for my good. He is kind. I may not understand why I have to “go inside to do chores,” but I can rejoice completely in His good gifts and trust Him to accomplish His gracious will.
Written by Audrey Beth Roland. This article was published in the Winter 2015 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine. She and her husband Daniel currently live in Colorado Springs, CO with their now six children.