In 2004, a tornado hit our house and nearly knocked it down.
Okay, not a literal tornado with swirling, wind-fueled debris brought on by adverse weather conditions. Rather, it was one of my own wind-fueled words brought on by the dangerous combination of too little sleep and too much frustration.
And maybe too much caffeine.
When I cup my hands onto the windows of our families’ life at that time, I see more specific things fueling my storm, things such as:
The stress of caring for three little ones largely by myself while my husband worked crazy long hours.
Loneliness because I had not yet been able to make friends in our new place of residence. (This was during the “desperate woman seeks friends” era.)
And the clincher: a strong inability to be thankful.
And so the storm within me simmered and brewed until that fateful Sunday afternoon when a surprise rainstorm blew through town and doused our plans to visit an outdoor festival. My husband, always having more work to do than time to get it done, announced he would use some of our extra time at home to wrap up a project. And that’s when my disappointment at not getting to enjoy family time outside and my frustration over facing another afternoon like all the others rotated tighter and tighter ’til I threw a fit of epic proportions.
With arms waving and face steaming, I yelled:
“That’s it! I hate this ridiculous house in this ridiculous state where it rains and snows way too often and for way too long! Was it *really* asking too much to spend one day outside as a family?! I’m tired of having to do ev-er-y-thing around here and getting next to no help and I’m only one person and what. am. I. supposed. to. do?”
Cue the screeching-to-a-halt sound effect and four pairs of wide eyes staring at the tall girl who had obviously lost her everlovin’ mind.
The stare off only ended when baby Faith began crying.
I followed her move and burst into tears as I ran to the shelter of the bathroom.
For the record, my husband is a fantastic co-parent who isn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves and delve into the daily job of dad. My fit came as a result of something needing changing in me. All too often I let my feelings be the boss of me, and the result was a hardening heart that slung careless words throughout the walls of my house…and into the hearts of my people.
The weight of this realization fell on me, and as I slumped down the bathroom door, the words from Matthew 25:23 came as I exhaled:
“You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.”
However, the Lord used it to ask me a question:
“Kristen, if you will not be thankful for a few things, why should I give you many things?”
His words got my attention.
And His words gave me the encouragement (and incentive) I needed to begin rebuilding my heart brick by brick, gratitude by gratitude.
And therefore rebuild my home brick by brick, gratitude by gratitude.
With a refreshed resolve to begin remodeling my house this way, I quickly saw how thanksgiving words become helpful words not only for me but for my family.
The truth is God rains down blessings on us in abundance, and He showers us with showy grace. Taking the time to acknowledge that grace for what is rather than grumbling for what isn’t built a whole new family dynamic.
And more than that, it remodeled the heartbeat of the home.
“Remodeling a home often begins with just one who is willing to pray, believe God, persevere, and be personally remodeled. Just allow God to rebuild you. . . Thankfully health can be as contagious as sickness.”
~ Beth Moore, Feathers From My Nest
Gratitude breeds encouragement. Encouragement breeds a contented heart and soul. When the people inside a home are content – regardless of circumstances – the cracked, crumbling walls of the home turn into complete, commemorating walls, a protected shelter for all living inside.
I wish I could say I have never thrown a fit again, but that wouldn’t be even a little true. However, the fits come fewer and farther between, and I call that progress.
What is present around you? Pick it up, hold it in your hands, and tell God thank you for it.
And just see how little time it takes for you to have a remodeled heart . . .
which is the fastest route toward a remodeled home.
What I’d love to know from you: How has gratitude positively affected your mood? What are other ways you’ve learned to ward off an ugly fit?
Kristen Strong, writer at Chasing Blue SkiesLeave a Comment