Taking the time to be grateful

This week is half term for us. It should be a manic time, with me juggling my workload with two exuberant children who want to get out and do things. But yesterday my kids were picked up to have a little ‘holiday’ with my parents. They were so excited – and secretly I was very relieved as I have a huge pile of work to get through. I know there are probably loads of you out there that would do anything to have a bit of time to yourselves, and that is how I feel quite often too. However, this morning I’m totally on my own – my husband was out for a breakfast meeting before I got up so, for the first time in years, I’ve got ready and had breakfast on my own. And, to be honest, it’s been quite hard. I have a pull on my heart, as it feels like there is something missing. I’ve been singing worship songs at the top of my voice to stop feeling lonely. Now I know this will pass as soon as I get my head down and get on with work, but I just felt that I needed to stop and let myself really experience how I’m currently feeling rather than rushing on. God seemed to be nudging me while I was preparing breakfast. We are embarking on the HTB Worship Central course tonight with our worship team, so I am speaking all about how central worship is. I’ve been looking at how worship is what we were made for – but when I started feeling the pangs of missing my children this morning God spoke to my heart in a way I wasn’t expecting. He simply whispered a reminder that that is how I should feel whenever I don’t get a chance to speak to Him. It really challenged me as I thought of how busy I normally am each morning – how I rush from one thing to another and often don’t even notice that I’ve not started the day connecting with Him. I hope I can remember this pang for a long time, and what it stands for.

It is true that often it isn’t until we don’t have something, or someone, that we realise how much it/they mean(s) to us. Having had a few weeks of my children being ill and still trying to keep on top of my deadlines, I was really looking forward to a few days of being able to get on with work without interrruption. I am still exceedingly grateful for the time my parents have graciously given me this week, but being apart from my children is making me realise how much I miss them, and how grateful I am to God for them. I am desperate to hold them, to tell them I love them, to play their silly games that often drive me insane – and they’ve only been gone one night! But it wasn’t until they went away that I felt the full force of how I feel about them – and I am quite overwhelmed. I think God longs for us to slow down and take stock regularly – to actually be calm enough to take in our surroundings and learn to live with a heart of gratitude, being thankful for what He’s given us – but mostly for His presence with us day by day.

A friend of mine started the year challenging the group of mums we meet up with to keep a thankfulness diary – to write down at least 5 things we are thankful for every day. I started off very diligently, and found that doing it at my desk just before I started working really lifted my spirit and helped me to view my day differently. It gave me positive eyes as I looked for the good in things, rather than getting bogged down straight away. I wonder – how do you make the time to be grateful?

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