Heart Pondering

The ponderings of one Christ-following mom on raising preschoolers

Sacrificing “thank offerings” for our children October 31, 2010

Filed under: Emotions,Materialism and entitlement,Mothering role,Prayer — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 11:17 pm

I’m four months pregnant with our fourth child (not sure I’ve mentioned that yet, but if I haven’t you won’t be too surprised if you’re a regular reader here), and lately I battle a fair bit of fatigue.  I slept terribly on Friday night and yesterday woke up feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.  It had been a long week, and as hunting season just started my husband was out for the morning, so I was on my own with the three kids.  That plus preparing for a full weekend – Halloween today and our eldest’s fifth birthday on Monday – and I was a crank.

The two bigger kids bickered considerably throughout the morning,the baby refused her morning nap, and when my husband returned I begged off our son’s 11 AM soccer game (he took all the kids) so I could go back to bed.  As I lay down I felt God prodding me.  All I wanted to do was crumple into a heap of  moodiness and slumber.  But, as God pointed out, I was riddled with thanklessness.  In my mind I was rehearsing all the frustrating things about my life and home and family, feeling completely sorry for myself, when in reality He has given me blessing upon blessing.  Here it was, the five-year anniversary of my becoming a mother, and all I could do was internally whine.

So as I lay down I began to thank God for my son.  I pictured his birth, remembering the doctors who delivered him and the visitors who came to the hospital room.  I called to mind his baby-hood, his marine-style crawl and playfully scaling our golden retriever – whose name was his first word.  I thought of his one-year birthday and then his two-year, and with each memory I thanked God for his life and who He is making this small person to be. Before I started this prayer exercise my perspective was focused on my son’s annoying behaviors of the morning – his entitled attitude, his unkindnesses to his little sisters.  As I went through my thanksgiving prayer exercise, though, I rehearsed his abundant good qualities and the infinite blessing he is to me and our family.  And, too, I thought about how God loves me… That even though I’m too intense and I talk too loud and have terrible posture and fail daily in my efforts to keep an orderly home (among numerous other failings), God overlooks all that and adores me. His love for me is excessive, forgiving, long-suffering, and doting.  How could I love my son any differently from how God has so lavishly loved me?

And by the time I fell asleep my self-pity had abated and my right perspective was restored.

We have a healing God, a God who will pull us out of our destructive selves and give us His objectivity and perspective as we look to Him.  But getting there requires effort on our part; in fact, it requires sacrifice.  The Old Testament references “thank offerings” frequently, an offering the Israelites would make to God to demonstrate their gratitude for His mercies in their lives. They were actual, tangible sacrifices at the altar – an intentional act of thanks that cost them something.  And I often think of that.  So often we don’t feel thankful…  We don’t, and our kids sure as heck don’t.  Instead we feel wronged and self-absorbed.  We frankly don’t want to lay down our petty grievances and self-pitying mindsets; we feel entitled to them. We are so quick to lose sight of the blessings and mercies the Lord has showered down on us so extravagantly.

But the Psalmist says, and may I learn to follow his lead every day of my life, especially as I mother:

He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me,

and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.”

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4 Responses to “Sacrificing “thank offerings” for our children”

  1. Molly Says:

    Thanks for posting Susan! My brain is too tired to truly comment right now but my heart wants to say: I love you and how you love your kids and how you love our Lord! 🙂

  2. Amy Murgatroyd Says:

    Wow did I need this today! I’ve been seriously in need of an attitude-adjustment myself this week. Thank you so much for the convicting message…I have a host of thank offerings to offer up right now!

  3. I am having the same thoughts as you Heartpondering. Just today I was reading in Psalm 107 and came across the thank offerings mentioned. Needless to say it caught my attention big time, to the point where I am now on the internet doing google searches on the topic.

    I think it is a fantastic topic that so many of us need to hear, and be reminded of on a daily basis. I found that traditionally thank offerings went hand in hand with peace offerings. The offerings express our peace with God, reliance on Him, and resolve before God.
    The sacrifice must cost something, and is traditionally shared in a festival setting. The sacrifice is to be offered with your whole body, soul and mind with the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

    I found a lot of good information, and am planning what to do with it. I feel like I need to make a concrete thank offering, and document it. I have not come up with any great ideas of what I will sacrifice, but I want to be creative about it. I am thinking Thanksgivings is the perfect holiday for just that type of thing, to get the aspect of sharing.

    Thanks for the space to share 🙂 It was not on topic for my travel blog.

  4. Jeane Says:

    Dear Susan,

    First of all, thank you so much for making time to visit my blog and leaving me a comment. It made my day!

    Secondly, I am so thankful you did primarily because I got to come to yours!!! What a gem! I could completely ‘get’ everything you were sharing….and I gather we have a bit in common, including a Golden Retriever who our children climb all over (ours are probably two of the most long-suffering dogs. Ever!). Congratulations on your fourth baby! My last pregnancy (which was my fourth full term) was by far the hardest on my body, as I was not only carrying twins, but mothering 3 little ones age 3 and under. It wasn’t pretty. 😉

    I certainly will be a returning reader.

    Warmly,
    Jeane`


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