Celebrating God’s Hidden Gifts

Celebrating God’s Hidden Gifts

Can I tell you something crazy?

I’m not a fan of summer. (Sorry, Olaf.)

Oh, I love the change in our routine. I enjoy the slower pace, the grilling out, the extra time for hanging with family and friends.

But I don’t like the heat. At all. I hate getting sweaty. I dislike slathering up with sunscreen. I nearly cringe at coating everyone with bugspray. If it weren’t for my kids, I’d probably stay indoors most of the summer. In fact, I even have difficulty enjoying our beautiful Southern springtime because I’m dreading the onset of summer.

Crazy, I know.

My oldest made a comment recently which stopped me in my tracks, causing me to take a long look at how I’m spending my mental, emotional, and even spiritual energy. She said that, while she doesn’t like being hot, she loves the feeling of stepping out of the heat into a cold house.

Such a little, everyday thing. But she celebrates it as a built-in happy spot in the middle of her hot, summer day.

I wonder…how many of God’s gifts are hiding in my everyday?

When days are hard, when difficult seasons are long – are there grace-filled blessings in the middle of the struggle which I walk right past because I’m focused on what I wish wasn’t’ there?

Like gems hiding in plain sight, God’s kindness is all around us (Psalm 31:19).

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18

This short little verse implies that, in every situation, gifts from God are present for which we can be thankful.


We’ll never face a moment where His grace is absent.

In every situation He’s working for our good (Romans 8:28).

Woven through each day are tokens of His affection and reminders of His kindness – even when life is at its worst. We don’t readily see these things, but if we ask, He’ll show us how He’s surrounding us with His love.

What are you facing today that’s uncomfortable? Maybe your struggle is more than uncomfortable. Maybe it’s downright gut-wrenching. Will you join me in asking God to open our eyes to His gifts in the middle of it all?

May He show us where He’s working and teach our hearts to celebrate His good gifts– even when it’s crazy hot outside.

How do you take note of God’s goodness? Comment below to join the conversation!

Thank you, God, for Everything

Thank you, God, for Everything

“Thank You, God, that we got to have waffles for breakfast. Thank You that we played Uno today. Thank You that we went to Pop and Tutu’s for dinner. Thank You for my jammies and my stuffed monkey and my pillow and…”

I stifled an impatient sigh as my five-year old prayed back through her day, giving thanks for both big and little blessings. Her prayer must have delighted God’s heart, but for this weary mom, it prolonged what I had hoped would be a quick goodnight.

By bedtime prayers each evening, I am done. Ready to tuck everyone in, hoping they don’t boomerang too many times for another sip of water or help with a scary shadow or one more trip to the potty. My to-do list is usually still running and I long for some down time before heading to bed and starting all over again tomorrow.

Sometimes it takes a kindergartener to give perspective on life’s truly important details…

“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).


In every situation, every single day, we’re surrounded by expressions of our Father’s loving heart. It’s easy to get distracted by my next responsibility and miss the beauty of the moment. I tend to focus on what I want or need from God, while forgetting to notice the many things He’s already given me. And sometimes, life is just really hard. Gratitude is the last thing on my mind.

Yet God calls us to give thanks – He knows it does our hearts good. It turns our focus heavenward and deepens our love for the One who loved us first.

As we embark on this holiday season, let’s determine to cultivate thankfulness – not just for one day in the middle of two hectic months, but every day. Here are a couple of ways to practice gratitude together as a family:

  • Play the Alphabet Thankfulness Game

Sometimes while driving between lessons or errands, we play the Alphabet Thankfulness Game. Starting with A, we call out things we’re thankful God has given to us: apples, bunnies, cars, Daddy, etc. It’s a fun way to remind ourselves of God’s abundant goodness.

  • Record your blessings

Set out a journal or a basket with index cards and pens. Encourage family members to write down things for which they are thankful any time a blessing comes to mind. Our family uses a special “Blessing Box” – it’s currently sitting on my grandmothers’ hutch. In addition to dropping in cards describing out blessings, we also include prayer requests (and we try to remember to record how God answers).

In every season, Our Father delights in being good to His children. Every good thing comes from Him. Let’s ask Him to help us recognize His blessings and lead our children in cultivating a lifestyle of gratitude.

The Blessing Box: Cultivating Gratefulness All Year Long

The Blessing Box: Cultivating Gratefulness All Year Long

“I’m writing a note to God,” my preschooler announces proudly.

Blessing Box Inside

She thoughtfully scribbles her message on a 3×5 card, then opens the hinged lid of our ”Blessing Box” and adds her note to the jumbled mess of index cards. It looks disorderly, even confusing, but to me it’s a beautiful mess. 

Each of those mismatched cards is a record of something important to us – a three-year old’s note to God, a list of things we’re thankful for, a prayer request and its subsequent answer.

I wish I could say we are systematic in adding cards to our blessing box. I wish I could tell you how often we take it out and read its contents. But, alas, this busy mama is far less organized and consistent than I like to admit.

Despite my unfulfilled great intentions, however, there it sits on my grandmother’s hutch in our bustling dining room—a constant reminder to count our many blessings, an ever-present invitation to recall the faithfulness of God.

We add to it at random. We open it up and read on occasion.

Like the other night when my oldest daughter put the box on the table before dinner. She gave each of us a blank card and instructed us write something for which we are thankful. Then she passed around the box for us to drop in our card and pick out another to read aloud.

Or the other morning when the kids and I all had bad attitudes and needed to reflect on God’s good gifts—our family and friends, an air-conditioned home, clothes and shoes, food and clean water, and the fact that Jesus loves children (my three-year-old’s contribution). Our focus shifted as we remembered the good things we’ve been given.

Or that season a while back when money was tight and work was slow. I recorded a very specific prayer request for provision and was thrilled to record God’s answer the very next day.


Many a memory is preserved in our treasured blessing box.

Do you have a place to record things for which you’re thankful? In case you’d like to create your own blessing box, here’s how we did it:

  1. Choose a box – I picked one that fit our décor, because I planned for it to have a permanent home in a prominent location. I love the hinged lid because it’s easy for little hands to open (and can’t get lost!)
  2. Stock up on pens and index or thankfulness cards. — We keep these in a nearby drawer so they’re always handy when we have something to record.
  3. Get everyone involved — Our family knows that anyone can add to or read from our blessing box at any time.

This has been a great tool for us in cultivating gratitude and making memories as a family.

How do you count your blessings? I’d love to hear — please leave a comment below!

Giving Thanks when Things Aren’t Perfect

Giving Thanks when Things Aren’t Perfect

by Meredith Mills


What does the perfect Thanksgiving look like to you?

christmas-583369_1280I think of Norman Rockwell’s painting Freedom From Want – all the family gathered around a beautifully decorated table laden with once-a-year favorites. Sweet smells, pleasant company, happy hearts.

But real life isn’t always that perfect, is it?

Just last week, we had a “Thanksgiving Feast” with our homeschool co-op. I should have known it wouldn’t be a perfect Thanksgiving when my car refused to start that morning. My hubby, mom and dad were all out of town.

Thankfully, a family friend was working from home that day and came over to jump my car. It ran long enough for us to arrive at co-op, dying once again as I turned it off the in the parking lot.

Thankfully, I had all day to figure out what to do next.

As I took our feast contributions to the kitchen, I realized I’d forgotten the two-liter soda I was supposed to bring.

Thankfully, a friend would be joining us later in the day. I sent her a quick text and she agreed to pick up the drink for me.

Festivities were scheduled to begin around noon, so I hurried to our abbreviated classes. A few hours later, I looked up to see my daughter’s face in the door. She mouthed the words, “We have a problem!”

Her costume had ripped, and she needed me to fix it. I had neither a sewing kit (who knew a mother should carry one in her purse?!) nor the skills to mend it well.sewing-kit-1468262_1280

Thankfully, another sweet friend offered to run home and get hers for me. And thankfully, my visiting friend had just arrived and is quite skilled in sewing. She fixed the problem in no time.

We enjoyed a delicious meal and an adorable program with more little pilgrims and Indians than I’ve ever before seen in one place. Before the program started, my friend texted her husband and asked him to come look at my car saying, “He’s pretty handy with cars.”

Thankfully, he knew just what to do. While we watched to our little ones perform, he jumped it, drove it to buy a new battery, installed the battery and brought the car back.

Later I found yet another friend washing my dishes in the kitchen when I forgot to pick them up after the program. Thankfully, she overlooked my forgetfulness.

As I returned home in my recently-repaired vehicle, I thought about the precious gift of friendship. It was a rather imperfect day – car troubles, costume troubles, memory troubles (not to mention the flu bug that hit that night!)

But my God supplied my every need…using my friends. His people were His hands and feet to me that day – sharing Jesus’ love in very practical ways.myGodwillsupply

Perfection isn’t often experienced outside of fairy tales (or Norman Rockwell paintings). And sometimes things are much worse than a day ridden with frustrations and forgetfulness.

But, as my daughter reminded me after my husband’s car wreck several years ago, “There’s always something to good” for which to be thankful. Because our God delights in lavishing love on His children – and in bringing good out of imperfect circumstances.

So this year as we celebrate Thanksgiving, may God help us see His abundantgood gifts. May we savor His kindness and enjoy the people with which He’s surrounded us.

For what are you most thankful today? Please comment below!

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Daily Bread Provision

And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” Phil 4:19 (Amplified Bible).

Do you ever catch yourself worrying about the future? Sometimes it happens before I even realize it. I am anxious and uptight and fearful about something that’s not even a need yet. It will be a need, for sure. Tomorrow. Or next week. Or at some unforseen time in the future. But I’m already stressing out over it.

I like to think I’m just planning ahead, but really I’m worrying ahead.

Lately God has been teaching me about His “daily bread provision.” I personally like it when He provides well in advance of my needs. But I’m learning that He often doesn’t work that way. Jesus taught us to pray that God would provide our daily bread (Luke 11:3), that He would meet today’s needs.

And if I stop to think about it, all of today’s needs are met. We have food and clothing and shelter and so many other things – today. I have grace and wisdom and strength to handle the problems and situations that come my way – today. And tomorrow He will be just as faithful (Phil 4:19, above).

But sometimes I’m not worrying about a need. I’m just discontent over what I don’t have. Like that remodeled kitchen I’ve been planning for years. Or that robotic vacuum cleaner my floors so desperately need. 🙂 Or more alone, quiet time. Or…and the list goes on.

In Hebrews 13:5 we read, “Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.'” The motivation behind contentment, the reason for not worrying about having more, is God Himself. He is with me. Enough said.

There are plenty of other promises that He will take care of us, but it all boils down to Emmanuel. God is with me.

The promise-keeping God. The all-powerful Creator. The God who owns everything. The One who has infinite riches in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:19). The God who commanded ravens to feed Elijah (1 Kings 17:4) and rained bread from heaven (Ps 78:24-25). Who made water flow from a rock (Ex 17:6) and kept the widow’s oil jug and flour jar from running dry (1 Kings 17:14). Who multiplied five loaves and two fish to feed over 5000 people (Mark 6:37-44). That good and faithful God is with me. I am His child and He loves me. He delights in giving good things to His kids (Matt 7:11).

Second Peter 1:3 reminds us where our focus should be. “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” In God’s realm – outside of time – all that we need for living and being godly is already ours (past tense).

We can rest in His provision and focus on knowing and loving Jesus.

What are you worried about today? How does “God with you” meet your need today?