Friday, November 21, 2008

Gratitude for All Things

“And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments” (Doctrine and Covenants 59:21). Clearly, the Lord expects us to be grateful and to recognize that everything comes from him.

“And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more” (Doctrine and Covenants 78:19). If we recognize the Lord’s hand and receive all things, whether blessings or trials, with a thankful heart, we will be made glorious, perhaps even exalted.

My sister-in-law is a great example to me of someone who is grateful. She sends out thank you cards for everything. Each year after we’ve presented the Primary Program, she writes a note to all of the Primary kids expressing her gratitude for their presentation. She even writes thank you notes for birthday cards she receives and for thank you notes she receives. She is so thoughtful and always expressing her gratitude. She amazes me.

What one person may see as a blessing another may see as a trial. Being the mother of a large family has blessed my life immensely. I’ve always wanted to be a mother and to have a house full of kids. However, I have met many who think having so many kids would be a trial. I’ve been told that I’m crazy, that I’m selfish, and that I’ve contributed to the overpopulation of the world (that’s one of my favorites because I live in such a rural area that we can literally drive in some areas for several hours before we see evidence of people). Most people shake their heads and tell me they’re happy they don’t have to care for so many children. To them having a small family is a blessing. For me, a small family would’ve felt like a trial.

Every day I am thankful, and honored, that Heavenly Father chose me to be the mother of my youngest son who has Down syndrome. He is a miracle to me and I can’t imagine my life without him. I knew many years ago that he’d come to my family and have no doubt he’s part of my eternal family and has as much purpose in this life as anyone else. I have never been angry or upset that he has Down syndrome. I have always just been grateful to have him in my life, as I am to have all of my children. Yet, there are those who’ve told me they would never want a child like my son. People feel like having a son with DS would be too great of a trial for them. So while I am so thankful and happy to have him in my family, others would not be grateful at all.
Since I lost my mother more than 35 years ago, I have always been so thankful for the opportunity to be a mother and to have time with my children. I’ve outlived my mother by more than 15 years and each day of each of those years, I’ve been so grateful to have that time with my family and be able to give my children what I never experienced.

I know there are things that I would see as a trial rather than a blessing. I see people who deal with things I couldn’t handle, and they do it with thankful hearts. While gratitude may be in the eye of the beholder, perhaps, one of life’s greatest lessons is to learn to be grateful for everything, including our trials. A loving Heavenly Father sees and understands far more than we do. We simply need to acknowledge his hand in all things and be thankful for all he’s given us.

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3 comments:

Trying to Stay Calm! said...

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing! I am new here! What a great blog :)

Rebecca Talley said...

Thank you!

Tristi Pinkston said...

There's a family in my ward who has a daughter with a disease that will eventually take her life. Rather than spend their time wailing (like I would) they spend their time cherishing every moment they do get to have with her. The amazing thing, they had another daughter die from the same thing a few years ago, and so they know what's coming, and yet they don't feel sorry for themselves. They take each day as a blessing. I hope to someday be able to see my trials that way. It just amazes me.