How Parenting Helped Me See God Clearer


I shoved my wallet back into my purse for what felt like the gazillionth time.

“Do you want the receipt in the bag or with you?” The teenaged girl waved a long paper with a chipper smile.

“In the bag’s fine.” Didn’t matter. I’m bound to lose it anyway.

My husband scooped up the bag and we shuffled our bags as well as our two children out the over-populated store.


Okay take the above scene, read it six more times, and that’d be our past Saturday.

Like most parents, school shopping consumed our weekend and a slice of our moola, but I discovered something during those exhausting hours that illuminated my image of God.

I was walking with my child bags in hand. He was preoccupied with what he wanted to get in the next store. Meanwhile the circulation to my fingers was dwindling from the heavy bags…not really but you get the point 🙂 So I waited. And waited.


Finally, I asked my son. “Are you happy about what you just got?”

“Uh huh.”

“Are you appreciative?”

Realization dawned on him. “Oh yeah. Thank you.”


Later on, we had almost an identical conversation. Him looking forward to the next store, forgetting the one we’d just left. Again, I waited and then had to prompt him.

I encouraged my son to be thankful, but not for my own gain. I wasn’t on some “ego-trip” requiring the appreciation of a young child. In fact, it wasn’t about me. At all. I desired him to be thankful for his own heart, his own character. Then realization struck me like a million shots of espresso. That’s how God is. Praising Him doesn’t change Him, it changes me. I’m the one who benefits when I give thanks. Being appreciative cultivates my heart, weeding out the complaining and sowing in the seeds of peace and contentment.

How often are we as Christians unthankful? In essence, we’re not trying to be unappreciative, but mostly looking ahead, preoccupied with what’s next in our day. Yes, life gets busy! But even in the hectic moments, I encourage you to whisper some gratitude to Him who whispered breath into your lungs. Your heart will thank you for it 🙂


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