“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Over this Christmas holiday, my husband and I traveled back to our home town where we stayed with his family for a couple of days. I soaked up every sound and smell I could. This year it felt a little different being there. Since we have been gone, returning and experiencing the same things we did before somehow didn’t feel quite the same.
Usually we were just 5 minutes down the road, and the drive over to “Mamaw and Papaw’s House” wasn’t that big of a deal for the kids. But this year was different. The anticipation I felt from both of my littles was electric. “Is today the day we get to go??” -over and over! The day finally arrived and the hour and a half drive down to Monroe was full of excitement and chatter of what they would do and who they would see. It was such a happy time.
Our big family party came and went and I couldn’t help but reflect on the blessings my children have. The noise was incredible. -I think my ears are still recovering from the constant buzz of conversations, children playing, and someone randomly bursting into laughter. Yet that noise told of something deeper. Connections. Love. Appreciation. Memories.
So many in the family are doing different things now. What was once a few families with many children (and I mean MANY – my husband’s family alone had 10 children!) are now many more families that are growing and bringing even MORE children. Some are pastoring, some are in military, some are college, some are in missions, some are teaching, and many sweet ones are home with their babies.
It would be easy to compare ourselves with each other and see how our value may be greater or smaller than others’ based on what we are doing or where our financial status may be. But God says we are not wise to do that, “… but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” (2 Cor. 10:12) But rather “..we are labourers together with God..” (1 Cor. 3:9) There is so much more harmony among families and the body of Christ when we pull for each other. It encourages our faith!
While we were there that week, our baby decided she had the courage to learn a new skill – climbing the stairs. It first started with just the two small stairs on the landing from the dining room into the big living room. I was comfortable with that – the height of the top, should she fall, wasn’t very much so I allowed it. Her determination was strong and before long she wasn’t satisfied with the two little stairs. She turned her sights to the bigger ones.
I was in the living room and heard what sounded like little hands clapping and an ever-so-sweet voice say, “yay!” Then silence again. Suddenly, the clapping again and the tiny “yay!”
I thought it was so odd so I started looking to see where she was. Sure enough, she had made it halfway up the stairs going to the second story. This mom was terrified. But my little baby was so happy to see that her mom had come to see her progress. Her clapping and celebrating got even louder. Up the next step she went. The soft tiny voice was now a resounding “YAY!!” It was contagious so I celebrated with her! I began clapping my hands and copying her happy voice.
Motivated now by her audience, she went up the next step with ease – only one left until she reached the landing! What a feat for such a small little baby! By this time, the noise of our celebrating brought two more people from the rooms where they had been playing to investigate what was happening. They were shocked to see their baby sister had made it up the stairs and she was so excited to see them. She celebrated again by clapping her hands and squealing with delight. Her brother and sister came down to hug and praise her for how much she had done.
Wow. I was struck. How many times do we see a brother or sister in Christ on our social media pages celebrating the blessings of God in their life and we give in to a feeling of jealousy, bitterness, or maybe even anger? We hear word of a family member who gets a new promotion, or is able to purchase a new car and instead of being happy for them we recluse into our own pain and shut them off.
Even deeper, how do I treat the small victories and blessings God sends my way? Can I praise Him alone? Without anyone cheering me on?
Praise produces faith. Praising God for blessings demonstrates the faith to believe they came from Him. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)
If a brother is blessed, praise God!
If you’re struggling to reach the top and feel you will never get there, praise Him for each small blessing and clap your way up the steps.