How to Leave a Legacy of Joy
"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it would be enough."
Recently, our family and friends gathered to witness the marriage of my niece. It was a joyous occasion and I had a chance to catch up with lots of old friends. In the course of the evening, I had no less than four conversations with people who told me how amazing my 87-year-old mom is. People who know her or interact with her are so impressed by her energy, her friendliness, her desire to help others, and her positive attitude. I often tell them that she gets up every day and decides right away that it's going to be a great day. She rarely complains, she's always up for an adventure, and she befriends most everyone she meets. She is a prime example of living out Colossians 2:7 which Paul writes,
"Let your roots grow down into Him and draw up nourishment from Him,
so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught.
Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all He has done."
My parents raised six children on one income and often didn't know how they were going to make ends meet. But they learned the meaning of budgeting, doing more with less (and less with less!), basically whatever it took. They each lost a parent at an early age and they mourned the loss of a stillborn infant and a 2-month-old baby. But they didn't get "stuck" in their grief and they continued to believe that the God who loved them wanted to "prosper them and not harm them, and give them a hope and a future." Psalm 30:11-12 says,
"You have turned my mourning into dancing, you have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!"
I have fond memories of plenty of dancing along with lots of joy in our home.
Do you understand how valuable it is to teach your kids to be thankful? Do you realize that it starts with you? If you can face difficulty with hope as opposed to despair, then you show your kids optimism and faith. If you start each day with a smile on your face and a desire to be kind, be joyful, or serve someone, you teach your kids that each day is a gift, and you have the ability to choose how you're going to spend it.
If someone asked you to name thirty things you are thankful for, could you do it in a heartbeat? Can you rattle off your blessings because you have thanked God for them over and over?
Philippians 4:6 says,
"Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done."
Do you do that? The passage goes on to say,
"IF YOU DO THIS, you will experience God's peace,
which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand."
Want peace? Thank God!
If this is an area you can improve on, start now! It is never too late to "count your blessings" or teach your kids to do the same. You will be doing yourself and them a huge favor that will change your life and theirs. I have witnessed children in other countries who own very little in terms of material possessions and yet they have joy and peace in their lives. They have learned to appreciate the start of a new day along with a meal and a glass of clean water. When I think of this, I am challenged to correct my bad attitude or my scarcity thinking and live in the abundance God has blessed me with!
If you need help in this area, start a journal and list everything you're thankful for. Make a daily list of blessings you think of and blessings you experience. Whether it's the ability to put gas in your car - you HAVE a car! - or shoes on your feet, learn to stop taking what you've been given for granted.
"Give thanks to the Lord for he is good! His faithful love endures forever."
We have so much to be thankful for...write it down and pass it on to the next generation - everyone needs more gratitude in life. Then, like my 87-year-old mom, you will leave a legacy of living a joy-filled, blessed life that others will marvel at.
What about you? What do you have to be thankful for? How about starting that gratitude journal now, or even better, making what you are grateful for public! You can post them on our Facebook page @PTLB.LifeIsRelationships, or you can email me at email@example.com and I willI give a shout out on your behalf. I look forward to knowing how God is working in and through your life. And remember, your greatest life is just ahead.b
In His service,
Need Gift Ideas?
Books make great gifts, especially for those somebody's in your life that need God's encouragement, wisdom, and strength in their lives. PTLB has many resources to guide your loved ones on the path of faith, in printed or ebook format. Some of our favorites are the Breakfast with Solomon devotional series on the Proverbs, Delighting In God, Delighting in Jesus, and our many books on prayer. For new believers, or those who need some solid answers about the Christian life, we recommend Gil Stieglitz's newest book, Foundations: Building a Solid Christian Life. And when you purchase PTLB books and resources, you are supporting our mission in helping other Christians engage and strengthen their faith. Visit our online store at www.ptlb.com or go to Amazon.com. We appreciate your support!