Lesson Four: Live with a Thankful Heart

Habits are the threads that weave the fabric of our lives. What we value we repeat over and over. We value clean healthy teeth so we brush our teeth multiple times a day (hopefully). We like to eat so we visit the grocery store often or at least send our husband there often. Thankfulness is a habit that produces a strong vibrant thread that weaves a masterful pattern in our lives. A lack of gratitude undermines the integrity and strength of our life fabric. It leads to depression and bitterness.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

 Psalm 28:7

Thankfulness isn’t automatic. It is a habit we must cultivate. When Cliff, my husband of thirteen years and daddy to my three little boys, died it was easy to focus on our loss. It was true that we had lost the most authentic and stable part of our lives. However, when we focused on our loss we forfeited the blessings of remembering what we had. The boys and I decided to PURPOSE to be thankful and remember the good times. We posted signs around our house reminding ourselves to be thankful for the time we had been given and not to be bitter over our loss. We cultivated thankfulness. It helped us muddle through our grief and find our way to acceptance and joy.

June 2006

Thankfulness has enriched our lives. We take time to notice God’s blessings. Long before Cliff’s illness he jokingly told Micah and Caleb that he was leaving them an inheritance. Of course, being normal kids they were ecstatic. Cliff solemnly called the boys to the back porch and pointed to the yard. “Micah” he said, “I am leaving you the dirt under our pool.” He then turned to Caleb. “Son, I am leaving you the leaves in the yard.”  The boys laughed and jumped on Cliff and they wrestled around as only boys can do thinking that their dad was the funniest dad ever. Sometime after Cliff’s death, the boys took me out to the yard and reminded me that Cliff had promised them those things and then we spent time talking about all the other things he had also left them as an inheritance. He left them with a love for God even when things don’t turn out like we planned. He left them with joy even in overwhelming circumstances. He left them a love for family and complete acceptance. He left them with a desire for excellence knowing that average isn’t good enough. He left them a strong foundation of Bible knowledge that they have passed on to Lucas and to others. He left one of them looking just like him, one of them with his sweet joyful heart and the third with a little bit of both. He left them the knowledge that God is good and faith is rewarded. He left them with memories of how to truly love their wives as they watched him love me. He left them with a passion for ministry and a desire to serve God. Last but not least, Cliff left me with Micah, Caleb and Lucas. How can I not be thankful?

Link to series prologue post: http://wp.me/pFsxL-1z

Still Choosing Faith,

Evona

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