Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Gratefulness & Guatemala

I don’t want for a thing. Not a single item.

I’ve been known to spout lectures to my kids about how they need to be grateful and appreciate what we have – every single last thing.

But gratefulness isn’t just about things. Gratefulness is an attitude, a perspective. Yes, all the things are part of it because that’s the kind of world in which we live.

Gratefulness goes far beyond the things and takes root in our hearts. {Tweet that.}

My husband, oldest daughter, and I went to Guatemala last year. {Read more about that here.} We spent a week there, helped build some houses, and distributed wheelchairs, clothing, and food. And that one week spent in a foreign land almost eight months ago has rocked my own world.

While building houses there, the beginning was a concrete slab. The middle involved metal walls, a roof, and a couple windows. The end result was a sturdy, blue-painted house that far surpassed these families’ previous housing.

Yes, the houses were blessings that I’m sure spurred gratefulness in these Guatemalan families. How could they not? But I’m not sure the houses were necessarily the intended result. The hearts of the people – the ones who call Guatemala home and those of us serving – are what ultimately matters.

Sure, those families are better cared for because they have a roof over their heads, but I pray they know the love of Jesus in a new way too. We gave them food, but did they realize we really wanted to give them love that truly nourishes. Absolutely, God cares for our physical needs, but he yearns for our souls. {Tweet that.}

I’m still feeling the effects of that one week. That trip spurred on a couple new friendships and offered a new perspective. In any given moment, I appreciate my life and my things while longing for a simpler, less cluttered lifestyle.

And I understand gratefulness in a new way that I’m praying overflows onto my kids.

“The very thing most parents long to give their kids – a grateful heart – is destroyed in our attempt to simultaneously give them the world. It’s hard to have both because true thankfulness is experienced when we first understand we are missing something. And that’s hard to teach when we are trying to give them everything. When we have everything, we are thankful for nothing. When we have nothing, we are thankful for everything.”

It’s nearly impossible to live the American dream and long for God’s Kingdom at the same time. But the everlasting kingdom is better than any fleeting dream, so that’s what I want to hold onto here in the middle of it all.

I’m excited to join Britta Lafont for her Meet Me in the Middle Project during Lent, when I’m going to slow down and notice the pieces of life I bypass in a rush. Find all the details about the Meet Me in the Middle Project here or reference Britta's introductory post.

#ThreeWordWednesday friends, I'd love for you join in Meet Me in the Middle by linking up there and here, but the weekly #ThreeWordWednesday link up is open as usual even if you're not participating in this Lenten project. I'm always so glad y'all are here.


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