Be sure to download a Gratitude ABC printable at the end of this post to help your family practice gratitude!

“ I hate 2020. This is the worst year of my life.” 

These works came out of my nine year old daughter’s mouth recently. 

I feel for her. I really do because, although I am such an introvert, truth be told, there are things that I am missing right now too. As she cried and complained, I realized that these hard times needed to be met with some serious thanksgiving. Some searching of hearts. Some renewing of minds so that we could go forward praising for the victory. 

This year has been a year of coming home. Of learning to simply be. Of searching for truth and goodness even in the darkness.Of being still and knowing that He is God. He is in control. 

 I often remind myself that if it were not for the darkness there would be no opportunity to see the stars shine. What if this is a blessing in disguise? 

So what are we doing right now? To fight sorrow and bitterness, to combat these hearts that are hurting and lost? When we feel isolated and so alone we remember, God is with us and all things work for good to those called according to His purpose. We pray for strength and for wisdom. We reach out to one another and we offer a smile and a kind word (because we can because we are not wearing masks). Gentle eyes and a smile can go a long way in making someone’s day just a little bit better.

Count your blessings: 1, 2, 3. This is how we are doing it. Strengthening our faith and opening our eyes to see the many blessings that perhaps we have too long ignored or taken for granted.

At first it just started with naming some things we are grateful for each day. At least three. But after a few days I realized we were really stuck – not that it’s bad or wrong – but let’s get past the automatic list that comes to mind:

“Thank you for Mommy, and Daddy, for our pets and our house. Thank you for our friends. Thank you for toys and dolls and screens and pizza.”

Yes! We do need to be grateful for these things – We also need to see beyond these things. How can we encourage our kids to really see those blessings in their life? Perhaps we do not realize what a blessing it is to have air to breathe, clean water, eyes and ears that see and hear – If we look around and open our eyes there is so much goodness that God provides each day. 

My kids think I am nuts sometimes but they are really good sports so we determined to count our blessings through the alphabet. We read through the scriptures that talk about the value of being thank full. We talked about what it means to guard your mind and your heart. What does God have to say about the thoughts that we think? 

A, B, C – What if, just for fun, we started each day naming things that we are grateful for, beginning with a letter of the alphabet? This could be a fun activity for all of us! Some days we even turned it into a little version of I Spy gratitude style. When we were just struggling to come up with things it helped to “spy” things nearby. I spy my watch; I spy my doggie. I spy colorful leave on the trees and fluffy white clouds in the sky. I spy chocolate coconut milk and apple cider donuts. Have fun as you look around and see the many blessings in your life. 

The letter A was pretty easy – apples, Alex, animals, adam’s apple – the next day was the letter B – bunnies, bananas, band aids, brothers – You see where we are going with this. Each day was met with the opportunity to really see what is before us and what a blessing it can be. 

Philippians 4:8 tell us that it is for our good to “think on those things that are true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable.” These are the things we need to think on. (Phil. 4:8-Teaching Our Kids Positive Thinking)

Some days it is a real challenge and other days there are so many things we are thank full for that we just keep adding to our list all day long.What a fun way to end each day, reviewing the many gifts which we have  It matters when we see things as they truly are: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.” (James 1:17)

Some letters have been easier than others. We have not yet made it to U or X. I thought for sure that we would get stuck on I but (duh mom) ice cream. It is funny how we see the hearts in our children as we bless our way through the alphabet. What do they love? What do they see in their day to day life? It all matters. 

Where is our heart? Does our heart ache for the things of God? What we desire matters and as 2020 progresses I find myself checking my heart and my children’s hearts. Because what is there matters. “Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

There is power that comes from being able to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:8)

We want above all else, to be in the will of God. We want to have the heart of God in every situation. Search our hearts.

Now is the season to exercise these muscles of gratitude. What changes we can make in our hearts and minds, in our physical and spiritual health, when we take the time to give thanks to the Lord for He is good He is merciful forever. If we want to be people who shine the light of Jesus we need to be those who are seen encouraging and rejoicing even in 2020.

Let your light so shine before man that they see your good works and glorify your Father. 

Matthew 5:16

Don’t for get to download!! Gratitude ABC’s Free Printable

See also this Lesson on Matthew 5:16- Teach Them to Be the Light and this post on 5 Bible Lessons for Thanksgiving.

Meet Guest Blogger, Jennifer King

I Am …a homeschool mama of four wonderful, very busy children, ages 5-15. Every one of them so very unique in design. It’s busy in our home – its loud – kind of messy – and very crazy. I am a born again believer, baptized in the precious name of Jesus Christ, filled with His Holy Spirit. I believe in power of His name . I am a wife – growing – with my wonderful husband. Learning the joys of submission, and being the help meet I was designed to be. Striving to live a life as a meek and gentle spirit.

https://www.worthabowedhead.wordpress.com

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