Hearts of Thanksgiving in Seasons of Grumbling

Hearts of Thanksgiving in Seasons of Grumbling | Christine M. Chappell | Faithfulsparrow.com

It was one of those days that took every ounce of gut-wrenching, teeth-clenching, tongue-biting endurance I could muster. You know the kind–when the kids start their day with grouchy complaints that never quite seem to taper off as the hours tick by.

As the night sky fell upon bedtime, I sat on the floor and rubbed the back of my sweaty blonde son who lay bundled in bed. With one exhale, I let out the longest of toddler-rearing sighs and reveled in the silence. In that moment of quiet, I began to pray over my children, thanking the Lord for them and for making it through another chaotic day of motherhood.

However, it wasn’t long until a conviction draped over me like a wet blanket. Through my prayer, the Lord uncovered an ugly habit which had taken hold in my heart: I was only grateful because my day of grumbling had finally come to an end.

Shocked by this truth, I recalled how my lips let loose their gripes nearly every moment of the earlier hours. As my children vocalized their grumpy dispositions through tantrums, arguments, and melt-downs, I had answered every one with a grumble, gruff, or complaint of my own.

Initially, I felt proud to have mustered up prayers of gratefulness and blessing over my children. As they slept, my house and my heart finally filled with peace. But my spiritual pride quickly came crashing down as I realized my thankfulness grew purely as a result of my return to comfort.

And sadly enough, I sang God’s praises only due to the still.

As I sought the Lord’s clarity about this conviction he had so rightly given me, I came to this verse in the book of Exodus:

Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord. {Exodus 16:8 ESV}

The Israelites had been grumbling over their lack of food, blaming Moses and Aaron for the rumble in their stomachs. But just as they blamed their desperate want to be the fault of the brothers, I blamed my children for the fault in my attitude.

The Lord had begun to awaken my heart to the hole in its thankfulness.

I’ve come to understand a heart full of thanksgiving cannot flourish alongside a mouth full of grumbling. Even so, our Father provides the power and wisdom to change by his Word. Through careful reflection, the Holy Spirit encouraged me with three verses to meditate upon as I pursue genuine, non-circumstantial gratitude in my everyday motherhood.

I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the LORD, am the one who does these things. {Isaiah 45:7 NLV}

I’d do well to remember that daily moments of trial, testing, and turbulence are allowed by the Lord to help me grow up in Christ.

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,” {Hebrews 12:28 ESV}

Being thankful for the biggest thing—my salvation by faith through grace—is paramount to sustaining sincere thanksgiving during the challenging moments of motherhood.

But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God. {Psalm 50:23 NLV}

My active choice to exchange grumbling for gratitude is a worthy sacrifice which favors God’s glory instead of my own.

At the end of the day, my reward for the hard labors of raising toddlers may well be a house full of peace and quiet. But the Lord doesn’t desire my heart’s thankfulness to be dependent upon it. As I learn how to conquer my grumbling in exchange for more praiseworthy fruit of the lips, may my pride be cast aside, my tongue be bridled, and my gratitude be rooted deep in the cross.