One sure thing that living with children will do for you: it will make you thankful for the small things.
I live with a little boy who often declares that today is “the best day ever.” He doesn’t say it because he’s getting a new toy or because he came into a bunch of money. Usually it’s because he is about to go down a slide.
I get into a posture of prayer and thank God all day long for the big things: a roof over our heads, my children, my husband. But, it’s rare that I even think to stop and thank Him for the small stuff. Actually, if I’m being honest with myself, I rarely even consider the small stuff gifts from God. I think of them as pleasant bonuses, maybe. I might stop to think about how happy I am that something happened, but how often do I really stop and thank God for all of His blessings, great and small?
Tonight Emerald reminded me how sweet it is to remember God’s goodness at every turn. Her big sister gave her the holy grail of toddlerhood: bubble gum flavored Chapstick. She carried it around before dinner, putting it on over and over, completely enamored with her “lipstick.” She brought her Chapstick to the dinner table. She’s two, and we’ve been working on teaching her how to pray at meal times. She has always waited for us to give her the words, which she repeated. But, tonight Chad asked her to pray, and she took off with it and prayed all by herself.
She thanked God for her food, and then she thanked Him for her Chapstick. Twice. By the time she said “Amen” I was wiping away tears. Not because she prayed by herself, which was precious, but because she recognized in her little two year old heart that the blessing of the bubble gum Chapstick came from God.
I cried because it reminded me how important it is to recognize what God is doing, which is everything.
How much do I miss? How many little kisses and hugs from God do I brush off because I don’t stop to think about and tell Him that I have not missed what He is doing? How much more gratitude would exist inside my spirit if I made it my mission to be aware of God’s hand on the little things?
Emerald didn’t eat the food she thanked Him for. However, I’m pretty sure she ate a fair amount of bubble gum Chapstick. She went to bed tonight with her Chapstick stashed safely away for more applications tomorrow. Then she went right to sleep with a perfectly moisturized smile on her face.
And, I’m thankful for that.