I had a moment about a month ago. It was 10:30 on a Thursday night. I was exhausted. The kids were sick, and had been sick for what felt like months. Nathaniel was upstairs, reading and writing. He'd had to stay up late the last four nights, trying to get his last papers finished up for the semester, and I missed him. I was grouchy because I was staring at a sink of dirty dishes that needed to be washed. And since the dish fairy doesn't visit our house, well, ever, I needed to do them. And I didn't want to. I had three stacks of papers that needed grading, and I didn't want to do that either. The next day was a work day, and all I could think about was how unfair all this was. All I wanted was to crawl into bed and to wake up to a clean house, well kids, graded papers, and a husband who didn't have to stay up late working.

And then, it happened. It was one of those times where you step outside yourself and it's as if you're looking down on your situation. What I saw was an ungrateful person, standing there complaining about a blessed life. 

I have absolutely nothing to complain about. 

Bottom line: 
I am saved by grace. Christ died so that I might have life. No other words needed.

I have an amazing husband who helps so much. He stays up late so that he can spend the evenings with us. He encourages me, brings me flowers, loves me even in my too-frequent grouchy moments. He supports me in so many ways. 

I have two wonderful kids that bring us such joy.

I have a house, two vehicles, amazing friends that build me up, a job that allows me to work part-time at something I love, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

So my word for 2014 is gratitude

When I have the worst attitude, when I find that my priorities are all out of whack, these are the times when I have the least amount of gratitude. Part of becoming more like Christ is living outside of myself. For me, this means I need to actively focus on what I am thankful for. This is a practice I want to develop in myself. I want to choose gratitude

Instead of focusing on what I don't have, 
or what I wish were different, 
or what I wish I had more of, or less of, 
I am committing to a year of 
practicing gratefulness.

A life of gratitude doesn't mean that there won't be problems. It doesn't mean hiding the hard things under the rug. It does mean a shift in perspective and a willingness to look for the good in a situation. This is what I want to grow in this year. I desire to see beyond my first reaction. I want to learn that in everything, God is already there.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phillipians 4:6-7, ESV 

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