I used to think I was a naturally grateful person. Gratefulness is not something I struggled with growing up. My parents raised me to believe that because I am a sinner, I’m undeserving of the life I was given. But through God's grace and Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, I could live freely! As seasons changed in my life and I became busier and full of stress, there were days when that thankful mentality would fade away. That is, until the day my mom gave me a book; One Thousand Gifts: A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp.
In her book, Ann shares her own struggle of cultivating thankfulness in dark days and everyday challenges. She decided that instead of fighting through the challenges of her circumstances, she was going to embrace each moment as a gift. She uses a gratefulness journal each day to write down three things for which she is grateful. It could be as simple as witnessing the sunrise on the drive to work, or as big as the blessing of a child. I’ve personally found that using a gratefulness journal helps me to be more aware of the endless ways God is working in my life. I’m able to recognize the physical blessings he puts right in front of me that I so often ignore. Gratefulness helps all of us realize that we always have more than we deserve.
While reading Ann Voskamp’s blog, I came across a guest writer named Jessica who posted "5 Ways to Raise Grateful Kids" on her blog The Mom Creative. She also recommended a book with a similar focus called Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch. These are great resources to developing a thankful mentality in ourselves and in our kids. In a world full of instant gratification and self-promotion, we all need to proactively pursue gratitude. At the end of the day, it’s the only thing we can give back to God in response to all that he has given us.