My friend Nicole of Nikky’s Strength and Weakness, is blogging every day in the month of December about gratitude. She got this idea from another blogger, Jodi Aman. You can check out both these ladies via this link. Jodi reminds us that when we focus on being grateful, it makes us feel more positive about our own lives, and this is a good thing for all of us! I’m currently reading One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp*. Ann turned her whole life around when she accepted the challenge to list one thousand gifts God had given her. After a while she understood the truth of Psalm 22:3:
[God is]… holy, enthroned on the praises of [His people].
In other words, the more we praise, the closer we are to God, and the more we raise Him up in our hearts and lives.
Jodi encourages us to thank someone every day in the month of December. She also challenges us to write a handwritten note once a week. I searched my heart for whom I should write my first handwritten note to, and decided upon my mom. As with many moms and daughters, our relationship has not been perfect. I have not always appreciated her, or often thanked her for the things she did right. So, this required me to humble my heart. Also, a good thing for all of us! So, here is my letter to my mom:
Recently, I have been thinking about all the ways you have blessed my life. We have been cleaning out our girls’ room to make it into a guest room. In the process I have come upon tangible signs of all the ways you have touched my life and the lives of my girls as they grew up. I saw the dresses you made for them to be flower girls at my sister’s wedding, and even the little matching dresses you made for their dolls. I came upon the summer pinafore dresses you made, and the matching skirt and vests you made for the girls. I walked into the room we have for our grandson, and saw the baby blanket you knit for him.
Then, I got out our Christmas decorations, and there was the Christmas tree skirt you sewed for us, not to mention many Christmas tree ornaments you have given all of us through the years. Next I came upon the beautiful nativity set you gave me one year. When I make our family’s favorite Christmas treat, yes that’s right, it will be your recipe for Creme de Menthe Brownies!
Thank you for driving me to (and paying for!) every type of activity any girl could possibly have wanted to try… ballet, gymnastics, baton, girl scouts, drawing lessons, pom poms, swimming . . . etc. etc. Thank you for encouraging me to get a college degree, even though you never had the chance to get one.
Thank you for being room mother for my class every year in elementary school. I can’t count all the Halloween and Valentine’s Day parties you planned, or how many cupcakes you baked. Thank you for putting up with my sassiness when I was 13. Thank you for taking care of me whenever I was sick, and for coming to stay with me when each of my children was born. I don’t know how I would have gotten through those first weeks with newborn babies without you there Mom!
Even more than these things, though, I am grateful for the life lessons you taught me. From you I learned to be a hard worker, to have compassion for others, and to be a loving mother to my kids. I learned that honesty, persistence, patience and forgiveness really count in life. You showed me by example how to be a good cook, and to run a clean, organized home. You taught me that sometimes, what a mom wants and needs must come second, and her children’s needs must come first.
All in all, I don’t know where I’d be if it weren’t for you Mom. You are the reason I am the person I am today. I am grateful, and I love you so much.
* Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are (Grand Rapids, MI:Zondervan, 2010)