Monday, November 28, 2011


If you are in the Facebook world you may have noticed that there were lots of posts about thankfulness in the month leading up to Thanksgiving. A few of my friends made it their goal to post something they were thankful for every single day. I loved that-- and found that it affected me, my thoughts being drawn to what I was thankful for as well. Funny, but no matter how old I get and how often I hear a message on thankfulness, or preach one myself to my children, I always benefit from the reminder. There is a huge difference between taking time to give thanks and a lifestyle of thankfulness.

A Lifestyle of Thankfulness

In his book, "Strengthen Yourself in the Lord," Bill Johnson speaks of a lifestyle of thankfulness, a lifestyle where I place my focus on what God has done and what He is doing now, rather than focusing on what He has yet to do. I have learned in the last few years what a difference this approach makes. As adoptive parents we are often confronted with difficult realities, right? In another post on the adopted child's foundations I spoke about God telling me that "you need to be in this for the long haul." Partnering with God to transform orphans into Sons and Daughters is not a process that ends with adoption-- it is the work and love of a lifetime! When we place our energies and mind space on thanking God for what He is up to now and remind ourselves of what He has done in the past, we totally shift the way we deal with these difficulties.

Good Gifts

One of the reasons this "works" is that all of God's ways are Good, so thinking about the Good Things He has done and is doing aligns our thoughts with Him, rather than with the difficulty at hand. 
"So, my very dear friends, don't get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle." James 1:17
Indeed, I have found Him never to be fickle in His dealings with our family. He is constant, kind, merciful and mighty. When God gets involved in a difficulty with your child you are sure to get pure goodness from Him, no tricks or games. And I find that by making the choice to thank Him for what He is doing, I am in the powerful place of being in agreement with God.

Mindful and Alert

It simply becomes hard to stay in a place of discouragement when I am mindful and alert to the love and goodness of God that has been so evident in the history of our family. I remember how God called us to adoption, how our children have grown and healed over the years, how some of the serious issues we faced years ago are no longer problems-- all pretty amazing realities for us.

"Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always); Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]; Thank God in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you who are in Christ Jesus." 
1 Thessalonians 5:15-18

There's probably a long list of concerns you have regarding your child, but the list of things to be thankful for is always longer. Often an act of our will, often an act of faith, may our choice to live as a people full of thanks release power into our parenting. 

Penny Praises

I love the story of George Mueller, a nineteenth century evangelist who devoted his life to orphans, who clearly had learned to live a lifestyle of thanksgiving. He wrote, "Expect great things from God, and great things you will have. There is no limit to what He is able to do. Praises forever to His glorious name! Praise Him for everything! I have praised Him many times when He sent me ten cents, and I have praised Him when He has sent me sixty thousand dollars." The story is told that Mueller was believing God for the finances to build an orphanage when a young orphan boy approached him with a few coins, an offering to help. Mueller's response was to give glory to God, choosing to thank Him and recognizing the money as significant, rather than focus on the tens of thousands lacking. These "penny praises" are ours to give,  in faithful anticipation for the day when we experience the fullness of God's promises in the lives of our families.

And I'd like to end this post by saying that we at Hope at Home are deeply thankful to God for the opportunity to serve. Our team is meeting tonight and will spend time in prayer for you. It is an honor to share with you what God has so freely given to us. Grace and Peace be with you and with your families!

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