By Grace Alone

The real life struggles of a Christian mom

Unthankfulness July 1, 2009

Do you know how many times my children have opened their dresser drawers and exclaimed, “Clean clothes!  Washed, dried, folded and put in my drawer!  Way to go, Mom!  Thank you!”

Zero.  Usually, all I hear is, “When are you going to wash my Transformer pj’s?”  Sound familiar?

When I read Jerry Bridge’s chapter on Unthankfulness (see previous post on his book Respectable Sins), I realized that I must look the same way to God as my kids do to me.  God has done so much for me and continues to sustain me every day, and I seldom stop to thank Him.  God has rescued me from guilt, sin and death by delivering me from the domain of darkness and transferring me to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom I have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13-14).  He has blessed me in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3).  In addition to spiritual blessings, He has given me every ability or skill I have, a loving husband, three healthy children, friends, a home, possessions, food . . . everything I have comes from Him.

How often do I thank God for my mini-van?  For the ability to go to the store when we run low on food?  For the privelege of gathering with other Christians openly every Sunday to hear the Word of God preached?  It is not often that I exhibit a sincere attitude of thankfulness.

I read an article on happiness recently in Good Housekeeping magazine.  It said that when we buy something we want, we have a high level of satisfaction, but only for a very short time.  We quickly become used to having that item around and take it for granted, and our sights turn to the next item we want.  This is so true in my life.  I remember last year, when I desperately wanted to replace the ceiling fan over our dining room table with a beautiful chandelier.  Finally, I got my chandelier, and I loved it.  For about a week, I looked at it all the time and felt happy and thankful.  Now, how often do you think I still notice my beautiful chandelier?  Pretty much never.  Rather than being thankful for what I have, I turn my attention to that sofa I’d like to replace.

Jerry Bridges reminded me in this chapter that my unthankfulness is a sin.  Sound harsh?  It’s true.  In Ephesians 5:20, we see the command to give “thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Bridges writes, “Failure to give Him the thanks due to Him is sin.  It might seem like a benign sin to us because it doesn’t harm anyone else.  But it is an affront and insult to the One who created us and sustains us every second of our lives.”

Bridges also writes about giving thanks in ALL circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  This is a personal challenge for me right now, as someone I love very much is facing a battle with cancer.  I found comfort in Bridges’ discussion of this topic, encouraging us that giving thanks in difficult circumstances can only be done by faith in the promises of God.  We can only obey I Thessalonians 5:18 because we know Romans 8:28 is true:  For we know for those who love God all things work together for good.  In the midst of heartache, we can thank God for the good we know He can accomplish through any circumstance.


Being Mindful of God June 19, 2009

Filed under: spiritual growth,Uncategorized — Marissa Henley @ 9:44 am
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Our Sunday school class is studying “Respectable Sins” by Jerry Bridges.  I highly recommend it.  His basic premise is that, as Christians, we condemn “big sins” such as adultery or abortion, but we tolerate certain “respectable sins” in our own lives, such as worry, gossip, discontentment, pride, worldliness, etc.

The first so-called respectable sin Bridges discusses is ungodliness, which he defines as “living one’s every day life with little or no thought of God, or of God’s will, or of God’s glory, or of one’s dependence on God” (p. 54).  He writes, “Let us then seek to be as mindful of [God] as He is of us.”  This was very convicting for me, as I fear all of these chapters will be.  Psalm 139 tells us that God is extremely mindful of us.  He knows our every action, our every thought.  He created every cell in our bodies.  It makes sense that the creature should be just as mindful of the Creator as the Creator is of her.  But looking at my life, I see that I fall short in so many ways.

It is easy to be mindful of God on Sunday or even during the 15 minutes that I may or may not carve out of my day in order to not look stupid this Thursday at Bible study.  It isn’t hard to be mindful of God when life’s crises bring you to your knees and you know you have no answer but Him.  But it is oh so difficult to be mindful of God when my child has disobeyed me for the 300th time and it isn’t even 9:30 a.m.  Or when my three-year-old still won’t use the potty.  Or when the baby is screaming, the boys are fighting, and dinner still needs to be made.  And then hubby calls and says he will be late . . . almost never does mindfulness of God enter into my reaction at that moment!  And what a difference it would make if I were living in those moments with more awareness of God’s presence, His glory, and my dependence on Him.