by Chantal Graupmann
Thankfulness is on my mind as the calendar month changes from October to November. As the holiday rush begins, it is easy to lack true gratitude while we go about our merry way of checking off items on our to-do list. Our lives become so cluttered and busy it can be a challenge to stop and remember God’s plan and all he has done and continues to do in our lives.
In the midst of military life, we are often dealt circumstances that (if we allow) can rob us of our thankfulness. It is not always easy to be thankful for God’s many blessings when a loved one is away for the holidays or we are in a new place without familiar comforts, family, and friends.
True feelings of gratitude stem from our deliberate perspective on thankfulness. Psalm 24:1 reminds me that I need to put God at the forefront of my thoughts:
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”
If my mind is not focused on God and his blessings, I will be thankless. As I look toward the busyness of the holiday season I wonder how I can foster a right perspective.
How can I be sure to be full of thanks when it is so easy to choose otherwise?
1. Spend time with the Lord
This is always the easiest way to correct our thoughts and perspective. God has given us the gift of prayer and supplication for a reason! This tool is always available to us, yet we often do not use it as we should. Ask the Lord to help you in this area; He will show you exactly where you should be placing your focus.
2. Meditate on Scripture
There are many passages in scripture that can help us to understand gratitude on a deeper level. Psalm 24:1 is helpful for me, but another scripture may be better suited to you. A simple word search can help you find these passages.
3. Keep a journal
Write a daily list of things you are thankful for. The ability to look back and recall reasons to be thankful can be a helpful reminder on the hard days when gratitude is lacking.
I pray that each of us takes the time to remember the true gifts and blessings we have been given by our Creator. As the hustle and bustle of the season gets underway, take time to seek Jesus. A deliberate perspective of thankfulness will make the season all the more rich and full.
Chantal Graupmann is an Air Force wife and mother to two children. She is striving to serve women in the midst of motherhood and military life, and is passionate about building community. She loves finding time for DIY projects, experimental cooking, and travel.
Editor's Note: On this Veterans Day, we'd like to express our sincere gratitude for all those who have served in our country's military. Thank you all for your tremendous sacrifice and bravery, and for serving our country in such a big way.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
The table is set with Grandmother’s China. The kitchen is filled with the delectable smells of turkey, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie and baked apples. The men are watching football and the ladies are chasing kids out of the kitchen. Sound familiar? This is the Thanksgiving I’ve always known, until last year. Our family spent Thanksgiving standing in long lines at Disney World making magical memories for our children that none of us will ever forget. I felt beyond blessed to be there but it just didn’t ‘feel’ like Thanksgiving. A phone call was all it took to put things into perspective.
For my husband, every holiday is an occasion to celebrate ‘Thanksgiving.’ Whenever friends and family call to wish him a ‘Happy Birthday, Father’s Day, Veteran’s Day and ‘Merry Christmas,’ his response is always the same, “It’s great to be CONUS!” A reality check every time I hear him say those words, it still warms my heart that he is thankful for the things we often overlook. In his thankfulness of being “CONUS,” I’m reminded that we have so much to be thankful for; he’s state-side, with family at home!
Never mind my grandmother’s China or the pumpkin pie, my husband reminds me of what is most important- our love for each other and the quality time spent with our children. This Thanksgiving I am not only going to be thankful that he is home, but I am going to be thankful that HE IS thankful to be home. I am thankful to be loved by a hero, and to be on his list of things that he is thankful for. I am thankful for the opportunity to love a warrior and to be loved by a warrior.
What are you most thankful for?
Are there any people in your life that help you keep an attitude of ‘thankfulness’ despite your circumstances?
What is one thing you can thank God for today?
Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of my husband. Thank You for filling his heart with so much love for me and our children. Thank You for the special times we spend together. Bless and protect us when we are apart. Open my eyes to see the blessings all around me, and the ones I take for granted too often. Amen.
Heather Tabers is the wife of a wounded warrior and the mother of five children. She is also currently a full time student, a specialty cake baker, and a volunteer with the VA Public Relations office. She writes about her life and her faith to encourage other women on her blog, Wives of War.
by Mary Parker
We’re all busy, right? Sometimes in our culture, we wear our time management like a badge of honor. And I’ve been known to keep up with the best of them – between life as an Air Force spouse, working full-time and teaching part-time, staying fit, fostering relationships with friends and family in Alaska and back home on the East Coast, I’d say I qualify. I sometimes struggle with this as a pride issue, but I enjoy juggling multiple commitments.
Being busy isn’t a bad thing, and when we’re pursuing the things God wants us to, we can find untapped happiness and fulfillment. But when God gets left out of the picture, problems can really start to infringe on our time, and every other aspect of our lives.
This has happened in my life more than once. Deadlines pile up, and amidst pressures (many of which are self-inflicted) to follow-up on emails, make dinner from scratch, craft Christmas decorations, and walk the dog, God gets left out. Then I wind up on the kitchen floor, exhausted and delirious because I’ve stashed the milk in the pantry…again. After all God has done and continues to do for me, it is easy for me to forget that He is with me always.
When my husband is TDY, I seek God eagerly and fiercely because I consciously put Him first, as I should every day. Seeking God actively, reading His word, and listening for His voice in my life, for just 10 minutes at the start of the day provides immense peace and blessing over all the minutes of the rest of my day. So I’ve resolved to spend time with God every day in this manner, giving Him the first minutes of each day He blesses me with.
Jesus, knowing the hardships of humanity, beckons us to spend time with Him:
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-29).
I find I have a steadier head throughout the day when I consciously remember God is with me. I am quicker to see other people through God’s eyes, and offer grace. I am slower to frustration and anger when I accept that this is a “light and momentary trouble,” and I am more apt to love others fully when I meditate on God’s love for me, and His commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself."
I encourage you to look at your alarm clock as a daily date with God – a time to spend in His love and comfort, and allow Him to prepare you fully for the day ahead!
Questions for Reflection:
*How much time do I spend seeking God every day?
*Are there activities on my to-do list that I put before God?
*How can spending time with God affect my mind, body and
spirit throughout the day?
Mary Parker is an Air Force wife who works as a public relations writer. A South Carolina girl at heart, she and her husband have recently relocated to Fairbanks, Alaska. Mary spends her spare time honing exercise and cooking skills, and is a self-proclaimed DIY addict. You can read about how faith and hope shape military family life, and check out Mary's latest projects at her blog, Mary's Mischief.
Written by Laura Moore
There are certainly times in our lives we forget all that God has given us and we need to be reminded. At least that’s true for me. It’s easy to forget the gifts while we are concentrating on the many things that seem to be going wrong. Sadly, we’ll find there are always things wrong in this world and in our lives.
As military spouses we are placed in situations that can be hard to thank God for. How do we give thanks when a spouse misses another birthday, when our best friend down the road moves across the country, and we feel utterly alone?
I’m not saying it’s not going to be easy. But I want you to know that peace does come to the woman who kneels before God and starts thanking Him and acknowledging His hand over her life.
Throughout scripture we’re instructed to give thanks. Thankfulness should be the language a Christian speaks best, for we have so much to be grateful for! Our attitude matters in this choice to give thanks or keep on talking about everything going wrong. I’m kind of an expert at pointing out problems, but it reflects after awhile and I get tired of my own complaining! We are always given a choice, and lately I’ve been trying hard to see where God has shown His love. It makes me a much happier person to focus on Christ rather than my circumstances.
Ephesians 5:20 (NIV)
…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our God not only calls us into a relationship but He also pours out blessings through the simple things all around us. Whether it’s the sun peeking through the curtains, a view of golden and red leaves spread across the trees, or even a warm hug from a friend- these are blessings God pours out for us, His children.
Here is my challenge for you during this season where everyone is encouraging us to give thanks: Grab a pen and paper and jot down some of the little things you see where God is working in your heart, or showing how much He cares for you. Begin to open your eyes today to the small gifts around you, and thank God for them.
I will start by letting you know how grateful I am for you--that you have landed on this article and that we get to walk through this military spouse role together as we both figure it out.
In what areas of my life do I struggle to give thanks?
What holds me back from living a life of thanksgiving?
What are three blessings I can thank God for this morning?
Lord, thank You for all of Your blessings in my life. Even when I can’t see them- or choose not to- Your steady hand continues to provide for me. I pray that You would change my heart today toward a posture of thanks. Open my eyes to see the beauty You’ve placed all around me, so that I might give thanks to You. Amen.