I am the second oldest of 14 children, all from the same mother and father … those were the days. Not foster or adopted, not step or blended. Just good old-fashioned Catholic. My mother taught my siblings and me the power and value of having a grateful heart. I’d like to share a warm childhood memory of a special lesson my mother taught me.
I grew up in the era when you got free light bulbs each time you paid your electric bill. That really was a different mentality towards customer relations. Often we were not able to pay the bill, remember – 14 kids, so we were always short on light bulbs. I recall, seems like most of the time, when we had only one light bulb for the entire house. During the early evening hours that bulb would burn in the kitchen … the center of our family activity.
When bedtime came around, we had a ritual. My mother would reach up, and using her apron to shield her hand from that hot bulb, she would unscrew it, bring it upstairs, and put it in the hallway. As she reached up to get the bulb in the kitchen, all her little children (like chicks clinging to the mother hen) would gather around her, grabbing onto her house dress, and begin the shuffle to and up the stairs in the dark.
During the journey on the steps I vividly remember my mother teaching us how grateful we should be because we had a light bulb. She told us about all the children in the world who didn’t have one, and so that began our bed-time prayer. “Dear God, thank You for this light bulb.”
My mother had so many reasons to be sad, depressed … to complain, be frustrated or jealous. But she never complained. My siblings and I were so blessed to have a mother who believed deeply in God and taught us all from an early age that the seeds of depression will not take root in a grateful heart.
What kind of lenses do you use to see the light bulbs in your life? Are you grateful for what you have? Or do you feel entitled to more? More money, better health, bigger house, better looks, more control, less pain, less stress, more breaks. You control your lenses, but it takes discipline, practice, and intentionality. Know God more and you will have His lenses.
Today, take account. Seriously sit down and write a list of the many blessings you have … big and small. It is so easy for us to become complacent and start to take God’s care, grace, love, provision, and sacrifice for granted. Make the effort and decision to put on Godly lenses that allow you to develop and maintain a grateful heart. Your decision, choose well.
Dear Father God, I am so spoiled. I have everything I need and yet I always want more. I always seem to find something to complain about. Forgive me, Lord. Help me today and everyday to focus on all the blessings You’ve given me, especially for the adversities that you lovingly use to grow me. Thank You for the shelter of my home, for a bed to sleep in, and for all the light bulbs in my house. I know that gratitude enables me to perceive You more closely and more clearly, and to rejoice in our love-relationship. I know, Father, that I will never be in control of all my life’s circumstances … but I relax in the fact that You are in control … and for that I am eternally grateful. I pray this and all prayers through our brightest Light bulb, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When I am afraid, I will trust in you.