Noelle Kirchner, M.Div., is a Presbyterian minister and mother of two boys. As they wrestle on the floor, she enjoys wrestling with her manuscripts. She writes for Huff Post Parents, the TODAY Show Parenting Team, and has been a repeat guest author at in(courage). You can find her on her blog, where she writes about faith and parenting, and on Twitter and Facebook.
As mothers, it can be hard to escape the barrage of constant requests and find time to clear our minds. It can be hard to give proper attention to our own needs, like eating or getting sleep ourselves. When you compound that with the necessity of meeting life's challenges that inevitably arise along the way, it's easy to worry and get overwhelmed.
That's why something strategic happens when we gather for mealtime at my house. After wrangling my littler one into his seat, having lengthy discussions with my older one about why we aren’t having candy before the meal, and reminding both of my boys to put their food down until we’ve blessed it, we are ready! We say a prayer, and then we go around the table and say three things that each of us is thankful for. Every day.
I’m trying to foster a grateful heart in my family. Thanksgiving is the best antidote to worry and anxiety (Philippians 4:6). It's therefore an important life skill. I recently read that anxiety is on the rise in our country, with the depression rate growing by about 20% per year. Couple that with society's increasing pressure on our children to excel, and there is a dangerous crucible. Teaching our children the value of thankfulness is a way of grounding them. They are more inclined to see the larger picture of God's grace and orient themselves accordingly.
A spirit of thanksgiving doesn't just equip our children to be stronger on life's journey, but it frees us up as moms to better enjoy our own. I have heard many experienced parents say that the days go by slowly but the years go by quickly when raising children. Even though the days can be slow - and frustrating and draining at times - they are also filled with beauty. I want to nurture a heart that doesn't miss out on the good that God has brought into my life.
I am convinced that a spirit of thanksgiving is the key difference between being a mom who is surviving versus a mom who is thriving. It’s a difference in perspective. When we are able to praise God without ceasing, no situation can get us down. We can use our strength to meet life's challenges rather than wasting effort in anxiety or worry. And we can better enjoy the present moment all the while. A Christian who knows the power of thanksgiving is an unstoppable force. And a mom who knows it - well, she's the kind of mom I want to be.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING from Vocational Mothering! If you liked this, I encourage you to check out last year's Thanksgiving post. Also, are you new to this blog? Don't miss a post by subscribing by email on the homepage and receive a FREE PRINTABLE of the five scriptural promises to live by today!