Building A Thankful Family

I am honored to have Lizzy from Life As Lizzy sharing with us a fall tradition for the family.  My friend Lizzy is an extraordinary wife who has a huge heart for God! Below is a link back to her personal blog where you can find out more about her story, including her diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension.

Lizzy writes:

For the past few years we started a tradition at my house.

It starts on November 1st. The writing of thankfulness on little note cards. Each child writes their own and so does dad and mommy. They go up on the wall, a Thanksgiving Tree. Growing each day, blossoming with leaves of thanksgiving notes. This tradition has changed things in our household. In my marriage too.

The act of thanksgiving has become the center of our household. What use to be called “Beddie-Bye-Bye time” to two little ones has become a family prayer time. Plopped in pajamas over our bed we start the ending of the day by sharing what we’re all thankful for. To end the day with thanksgiving begins our sweet prayer time. The kids know it well. One by one, we all take turns. And after we have all heard of our days journey’s with smiles and joyful hearts, we step into a prayer time filled with purpose for the next day. The Lord never ceases to prompt us on the going-ons of our weary hearts and this prayer time opens the doors to transparency in all our hearts. We feel safe here. In this moment of family time that can never be replaced by anything else. The reward of looking into each others wants and needs as the prayer requests come forth is exquisite. Even in the voice of a giggly little five year old. In all her innocence and sweet spirit she asks for health and food for the needy. It amazes me how God can become so real during this time.leaf thanksgiving-tree

And it all started with a Thanksgiving tree tradition. This craft that was just another craft shared by fellow moms at a local moms group. Little did I know or even realize at the time how much it would impact my home, my husband and my children.

Then the kids began to laugh as daddy wrote down what he was thankful for. Day 12, I think it was. I wondered what it was that they were laughing at now. Once I started reading all the notes on my wall, I realized that my husband had been writing the same thing every single day. “Well, that’s creative,” I thought. So the kids finally said, teasing him, “daddy always writes the same thing! He always says he’s thankful for his family.”

That night he reminded me that that wasn’t all he was thankful for. Of course he was thankful for many more things like home & food, but every day when he picked up that pen and started to write what he was most thankful for, he realized that he was MOST thankful for having us all there, with him.

He took me back to that night. When just a few days earlier I had been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. He recalled that I had been preparing a baby and a toddler for bed. Changing diapers and rubbing on lavender lotion after their baths. We had received a delivery that day. This machine. A big heavy oxygen machine. As I placed the nasal cannula into my nostrils and turned on the machine, the noise overwhelmed the room. It was loud. But I needed to sleep with it on all night long. News of lung disease came as ironic considering I had never even smoked before. But sometimes the curses of life become the biggest blessings you’ve ever hoped for. A Romans 8 thing.

For God makes all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.

And I was definitely called. We were both called as a couple in marriage.

He re-told his side of the story, as he remembered sleeping next to his thirty-year-old wife. Just a few weeks ago she had been young and vibrant, working part-time and on her way to Nursing school. Now, in the still of the night, darkness loomed along with the beckoning of this loud oxygen concentrator machine. He pondered if he’d be left a widow with two little children to care for.

The ups and downs we’ve been through these past five years as a couple have changed us. But those same ups and downs have gotten us to a different level of commitment and transparency in our communication as a couple. So when you ask my husband what he’s thankful for, he will always answer the same. His priority is us, second to God. And no car or house or degree or credit score will ever take away his sleep at night again, as long as he has us. And even though he knows our nights together might be numbered, he is making the most of it by cherishing every single evening that we have been given to pray together, in our pajamas over our bed, as a couple, as a family. To give thanks for all the opportunities that those struggles bring. Because we count it all joy when struggles come our way. We know that when our faith is tested our endurance grows bringing perfection and completion in our lives, as it says in James one.thanks

We’ve learned that as a couple our responsibility is to teach our children that our marriage reflects the wonderful love story of God. It is an opportunity to show how great His love and power is and that no matter what the struggle, we can grow closer to our Savior by simply turning to Him for complete guidance. My marriage reflects the making of treasures in heaven by living with our priorities set straight in the will of The Lord. Submission to Him, means acknowledging that our lives are not ours, but His to use. Everyday my husband and I make a decision to be each others gifts by serving one another in love and humility. We are not perfect but that doesn’t mean we don’t strive for it in our marriage. It’s a hard daily process to be reminded that the road to life is narrow but by participating in this Thanksgiving tradition it has helped us keep our priorities clear as we acknowledge everyday the many blessings He has poured over us.

~ Life As Lizzy

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