Want to add more moments of gratitude to your day? Hillary Ibarra offers some ideas.
We can keep a gratitude practice and model it for our children, not just in November but throughout the year. Then, even when battling weariness or our own bad attitude, managing a chaotic schedule, feeling burdened with frustration or discouragement, or while facing hardship, we give gratitude to God.
It’s hard to catch the glint of the rising sun if we’re facing the wrong direction. Gratitude can turn us around to welcome the fresh rays of sunshine provided by Our Creator. A few precious moments in that light make an enormous difference.
Here’s a few simple gratitude ideas for your day.
Offer a morning prayer
During the Covid lockdowns, I went to drive-through confession. For penance, the priest told me to thank God each morning for my husband and children, because they were the ones I was challenged to get along with during that time.
I still do this. Before thanking our Father for my family, I thank Him for His Son Who died for us and for His Holy Spirit Who remains with us. I add gratitude for our home, my husband’s job, our health, and our guardian angels. Some of these gratitude prayers I offer on the way to school with my middle schoolers, hoping they will learn to begin each day by thanking God for their blessings. These prayers travel with you, and they can be brief: offered in bed when you’re reluctant to get up, while fixing school lunches, over breakfast or a quick cup of coffee, on the commute to work, or while walking the dog.
Keep a favorite gratitude Scripture in a busy place
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
A post-it note with a beloved Scripture at your desk, on your bathroom mirror, or on the fridge – wherever it’s most likely to catch your eye – is effective. Or you can print several gratitude verses on a lovely sheet of paper, frame it, and hang it by a door. If you’re crafty, you can create your own gratitude sign with your children for a family Thanksgiving craft project.
Shift your focus
There was a season of motherhood with my little ones when I became resentful about all the tasks I had to tackle, some of them repeatedly, each day. Often, I felt underappreciated in this work, too. I was weary and stressed and frustrated. I am not sure why or how - though it was probably by the grace of God – but I began to view this work and my ability to do it daily, thanked or not, gratefully. I thanked God for my health that allowed me to do multiple demanding tasks while caring for my children; how amazing that I could accomplish so much on so little sleep! My focus shifted to the good, and it helped.
Shed the guilt and share
I struggle with guilt knowing I live a happy life, not lacking what I need, while some of our neighbors are suffering terribly. Does God want me to feel guilt about the life I share with my family? No, but He wants me to care for those who are suffering. I have told my children, “If you’re truly grateful for what you have, you’ll share.” I believe this absolutely. And sharing increases gratitude as you realize yet again what you have and what you have to offer others.
Pray before bed
I truly need a moment to ask God’s forgiveness for my failures and to thank Him for all the good in the day, no matter how tired I am. I thank Him for simple, happy moments I recall, or for huge blessings like a visit with my childhood friend after 26 years and the days our family spent with my husband’s out-of-town brother. Sometimes my gratitude is redundant, like thankfulness for my family’s safety and for God’s love and grace and mercy. I bask in the sunshine of His faithful love and complete goodness as I reflect on His perpetual gifts to us.
Gratitude prayers do not need to be complicated or always habitual. They can be succinct and spontaneous. Gratitude is a few words of praise as you feel the breeze in your hair, watch the sunlight dappling the autumn leaves, bask in the smile and hug of your child, or hold your spouse’s hand. Give a shoutout to your Heavenly Father in those moments when you feel thankful! He blesses us daily. He gives us everything, and we lift our hearts in gratitude to Him.
Copyright 2021 Hillary Ibarra
Images: Canva Pro
About the Author
Hillary Ibarra is a happy wife and mother of four. She is the author of The Christmas List, based on the miracle of one childhood Christmas Eve, and is a freelance humor writer and copywriter. Jesus, her family, playing guitar, admiring trees, and baking bring her joy. You can learn more about her on HillaryIbarra.com and at Faith and Humor by Hillary Ibarra on Facebook.