Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
Sometimes when I read a book, I discover myself trying to be like the author. It’s probably some kind of disorder, but I choose to live in denial. Right now, I’m reading a book called A Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Wonderful book about living in a state of gratitude to God. Ann is a farmer’s wife in Ontario who home schools six children. She writes prose that smells like sweet-smelling poetry. Just beautiful.
So, due to my disorder, I decided that I need to be like the farmer’s wife from Ontario.
My first foray into her world was to have a nice sit down dinner with my family, something we don’t do enough and a practice I honestly want to do more. I don’t live on a farm with organic everything, but I decided having homemade soup at my dining room table was good enough. I dug through the closet and found three placemats that matched. I made the table look picture perfect with candles. Just like the farmer’s wife.
When Noah and John saw my offering, they both remarked, “Why are we eating at the table?”
I was undeterred. I didn’t tell them about the farmer’s wife, but I said this is a goal for us in 2012. Noah.“Us?” Me. “YES, us.”
We sat and talked a bit about our lives and our upcoming dream vacation. Everything was wonderful.
Then I announced. “I want us to go around and say one thing we are thankful for.”
Noah sighed. “Really? Why?”
This reaction didn’t fit into my fantasy. I glared at him. “Because I want us to have a family moment.”
“John, why don’t you go first?”
John said, “Give me a moment.”
We pause in silence. Except for the loud and obnoxious sighing of the almost-teen.
John apparently was about to speak when I said, “Okay I’ll go first.
Noah jumped in with, “You cut Dad off.”
I glared again. “You, boy, shut up.”
Yes, I said this. No, I’m not proud of it. The Ontario farmer’s wife would never do this.
Sweetly I continued and said what I was thankful for. John followed. I looked at Noah.
“Noah, what are you thankful for?”
“Shut up Boy.” He said this, mocking me and pointing out my obvious failure as a mother.
I did what every Godly mother (and I’m sure the farmer’s wife) would do in this situation. I felt my blood boiling and I said, “Well, you should shut up, boy! You are being disrespectful and I am just trying to make a nice moment. Now TELL US WHAT YOU ARE THANKFUL FOR!”
Silence. Noah began retreating into his cave. John and I can tell when this happens. John tried to help.
“Noah, remember Saturday? You got a gift?”
“NO, JOHN, don’t help him!” Once again I stared at Noah. The absurdity of the situation was not lost on me. I envisioned myself on the floor beating up my son while telling him to say what he is thankful for. But my pride wouldn’t let me back down. (I wouldn’t ever actually hit him, of course.)
“Noah, either say one thing you are thankful for or you are going to take a bath and go to bed immediately.” It was 6 p.m.
Noah shrugged. I told him to leave the table, take a bath and go to bed.
John said, “Robbie, Noah’s 12 and his natural language is not gratitude, but he does say thank you all the time and every night when we pray he says thank you to God for something. Why was it so important to do it now and here?”
I stared at this man who obviously hasn’t read the book. “Because!” I changed the subject.
After his bath and before bed, Noah called out to us and told us what he was thankful for.
Last night was one of the many times I’ve made mistakes as a mom. Last night’s mistake was obvious to me now. I tried to be someone I’m not and I tried to make my family something they aren’t. Nothing wrong with gratitude and cultivating it. I still adore Ann’s book. But I am not Ann. I am not a farmer’s wife in Ontario and I don’t home school six kids.
I am a system’s analyst’s wife living in Denver. And I do have the privilege of raising one boy. A magnificent, chocolate-eyed boy. This morning, God’s mercies were brand new and I arose to forgiveness for my many sins. When I apologized to Noah he said, “Mom, I’m sorry. I was more in the wrong than you.” Yep, God’s compassions came to me through the morning light and through my son’s words.
Noah said thank you for breakfast as he usually does. When he walked out the door to the bus, his last words were, “I love you, Mom.”
God’s compassions never fail and His forgiveness is never late. And He made each of us exactly who we were meant to be. For that, I am truly THANKFUL!