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Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

Fabulous Family Friday–The Enemies of Relationships

Friday, October 21st, 2011

I had intended these to be a bit closer together than 2+ months!   I had written about the first enemy of relationships in August, here.




The second enemy of relationships also begins with an “E”, and I think it’s probably even worse than the first one.




I’m speaking of Expectations.




That could be a book all by itself!




Truly Expectations can kill a relationship–with God, our husbands, our children, friends, church family…..




In my own life I have found that lack of gratitude is usually linked strongly to this monster.   Once I start feeling I am owed something, I don’t see the many efforts others go to to bless me, and then I expect it, then they feel they can’t ever do enough for me…..ay yi yi!  What a horrible downward spiral it becomes!




Then I become bitter, lack gratitude and express it even less, and here we go again! :p




STOP!  I want to get OFF!




I can remember a specific time in my prayers for my husband, where I was praying Godly, Scriptural things….but my spirit was becoming more and more bitter.  I was comparing him to my idea of a spiritual leader, and in doing so, was missing his unique gifts and abilities God had placed within him while focusing on what I perceived were his weaknesses.  Of course I wouldn’t want him doing that to me!  But as often happens when we let this monster grow, we don’t think about that part.  It actually all stems from pride.




Thinking that we are not doing the things others are “guilty” of.    Of course I’m not judging…I’m not ungrateful….I’m doing what I’m supposed to do….  (ack!)




And this pride doesn’t always stem from just an “I’m better than everybody else” attitude….usually it is rooted in having been on the other end of the “expectations” ideal—someone had unrealistic expectations of us (or we of ourselves) and that insecurity fuels perpetuating the same monster through the generations.








It’s time to slay this monster!




I honestly don’t know what made me finally get sick and tired of my way of  “praying” (or was that complaining to God?!), but I do remember one day finally writing “PSALM 62:5″ in HUGE letters across my “prayer page” for my dh!




“My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.”



I honestly quit praying all those things.  Even Scriptures.  I just prayed, “Lord, make him the spiritual leader YOU want Him to be.”




That was all I prayed for a long time!




As I’ve realized more and more Abba Father’s love for me, and His acceptance of me based on who I am in Him vs. what I do, I’ve been able to not only let go of unrealistic expectations of myself—but of others as well.




Some time ago–again, I’m not sure exactly when, I started praying Scriptures for my husband again.  But this time, my focus was different.  I wasn’t praying for him so he’d be the kind of spiritual leader *I* thought I needed so I could be comfortable and happy.  I was praying for him to be what God wanted him to be so he could fulfill God’ s call on his life…..and be fulfilled by doing so.   Of course that could only benefit our family.  Much better than forcing my dear husband into a mold he didn’t fit into!  (And that didn’t benefit anybody!)




This has spilled into other areas of relationships as well.  I quit expecting my children to act or be a certain way so I could look good, or because I thought that’s what a good Christian family should be.  I started saying “thank you” a whole lot more and praising God for the wonderful gifts they were to me.




I would say that the biggest antidote to expectations is gratitude.  I have suggested this before, but I’ll do so again–start a gratefulness journal.   Write down at least one thing you are grateful for each day.  You could even write three things–one thing you are grateful to God for, one thing you are grateful for in your husband, and one for your children (or even one for each of them!).  It is amazing how focusing your eyes in a different direction affects your heart and attitude–and then of course your words and actions!




I remember as God was teaching me to lay down my expectations, we were trying to sell a pop-up camper.  We had already dropped the price and didn’t want to go much lower.




We had lots of lookers but no takers.  Then one day, I came home from some errand, and Dallas told me he had sold the camper!




Of course I wondered how much.  He had come down even further on the price, but I felt peace about it.   He later told me he felt total freedom, that I wasn’t going to make him feel badly about dropping the price.  He specifically said he could tell I didn’t have expectations of him to do things a certain way.  Wow!




Yes, I was disappointed we had to lower the price, but I had total confidence in his judgment in this.




It was equally freeing to me!




Many times we try to hang onto control, either fueled by the fears and expectations or resulting in them.  Either way, once we learn where our true trust must lie (in Him), and quit putting it on those around us, we free ourselves and them to be who God created them to be!




I have found that our Lord’s ideas are far better, wiser and infinitely higher than mine!




I’ll write more about this, more specifically how this enemy can affect our relationships with our children.




If you have also been working on slaying this monster, please share what has been helpful to you!


Counting My Blessings

Monday, July 25th, 2011


1. A cool overcast day to pick blueberries

2. 60 lbs. of blueberries picked–about halfway! :)

3. A beautiful tiger swallowtail butterfly on pink wildflowers

4. Fragrant, pink wild roses growing along the ditch

5. Sweet blueberries to taste as we pick

6. Children enjoying the “tunnels” the blueberry bushes make

7. Memories of picking here for 10+ years

8. Feet getting drenched with the dew

9. Finding the jewel weed

10. My 12 year old daughter saying she’s glad she was born into this family, and…

11. …that she always wants to live close to me (are there any rewards greater than this?!)

12. God’s sign of Promise










May you find His symbol of promise in the smallest details of your life today


count your many blessings!





Marvelous Mommy Monday–*Smile*!

Monday, January 31st, 2011

We had a wonderful time with our friends on Friday!  And then got to go to a baby shower Saturday–so much fun!

Now for Fabulous Family Friday–on Monday! ;)

There is a song we sing called “The Smile Song”:

Every day in this world, there are people that I meet.

I walk up, shake their hands, and they see

The kind of person that I am by the smile that I wear.

I am blessed by the smile Jesus gives me.


A smile, a smile to make this life worthwhile;

A smile, precious smile  Jesus gives me.

And someday I know up to Heaven I will go,

Where I’ll thank Jesus for this smile He gives me.

 ~The Smile Song, Author Unknown, Adapted by Janna DePue


How important is a smile?   VERY!

There are several verses about a cheerful or merry heart in Proverbs.  Here are a few:

“A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” ~Proverbs 15:13

“All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.”  ~Proverbs 15:15

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”                ~Proverbs 17:22

Scripture tells us where a smile comes from–the heart!  And how can we have a merry heart?  By focusing on all Christ has done for us!  And allowing Him to live in our heart–and permeate the rest of us, too! ;)

Just recently I had a friend at church comment how our girls are always smiling.  I have received that comment/compliment frequently!   Often the moms will tell me how they just don’t really smile a whole lot.

Now, I don’t smile all the time, either!  But, I would say overall, that I am a cheerful person and smile and laugh a lot with my family.   If we’re not careful, we can get so focused on all that needs to get done, on what’s wrong with our spiritual walk, or our husband, or our in-laws, or the world…..that we let these things steal our joy.

Look again at the verses quoted above.  All refer to a “merry heart”.  But what does that mean?

It means you will become what your heart dwells upon.  If you dwell on all that’s wrong with the world (or your family, or your homeschool, or you), then that is what will “show”.  Remember this kids’ song?

“If you’re happy and you know it, then you’re life will surely show it….”

As Christians, all the more should joy and gratitude show through our lives.  And maybe that second part is the key–gratitude.

It is hard to be joyful or have a merry heart if you are not grateful.  If you think life has handed you a bad platter, then it’s easy to go through life with a chip on your shoulder, and hard to see how you can be a blessing to others because you are, ultimately, self-focused.

We are Christ’s ambassadors, reflecting His heart and His mind to the world.   There is no room for self-focus in that!  Jesus was never focused on Himself.  He always was in tune to the Father’s will.  We have that pesky sin nature that makes it a bit more difficult, but it is really a continual choosing of where you will focus your thoughts.

I am doing a wonderful study called The Mind of Christ, by T.W. Hunt and Claude King.  (I am doing the workbook, not just reading the book.  I highly recommend this workbook!  It was recommended to me by a dear “cyber-friend”, Asha!)  Here is a good quote:

I had spent most of my life unconscious of the process of thinking.   Little of my thinking was controlled by my will….

Then our thoughts often lead to actions–godly thoughts to godly actions, wrong throughts to wrong actions.


The mind of Chrsist was not disordered but ordered.  He controlled His thinking in such a way that only godly actions came though His life.  This is one reason you and I need the mind of Christ.

  ~The Mind of Christ, p. 36

We need to purpose what we will think and dwell upon. Then we will find our heart lighter and more merry, which leads to the “cheerful countenance”!

In Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ book,  Choosing Gratitude, Joni Eareckson Tada writes a convicting foreward.  You can read a few paragraphs on the sample front flap at CBD.  Here is a woman who must have everything done for her—and yet she is grateful.  I haven’t read much of the actual book yet, but just the foreward is enough to give you an attitude check!

I would challenge you to focus on gratitude–to God, to your husband, to your parents and in-laws, and to your children.  Let go of some of the things that are keeping your “countenance” from being “cheerful”.

And really, just focusing on our wonderful Father, Bridegroom King and Comforter is enough to make us grateful!

As you let go of the things cumbering you about like Martha, you will find a song in your heart and a smile on your face—and your family will start reflecting it back to you and to others!


I found this blog, Heart of Virtue,  when looking for an audio of The Smile Song, and I thought she had a delightful post–enjoy the post and her pictures!  (Maybe when everyone is well and gets their voices back, we’ll do a video of The Smile Song since I didn’t find any! ;) )

A smile, a smile–yes, a smile from a grateful, merry heart DOES make this life worthwhile!