The other day I wrote about the Lord asking Hagar, "Where have you come from and where are you going?" There is something very beneficial to our souls to reflect and remember where we once were. Part of living a life of gratitude and thanksgiving is to look back at some of the hard times.
My kids like to remember things and often remember more vividly and more honestly than me. Kids don't have a filter or don't really know all of the circumstances surrounding a situation. One day, as we traveled down the road in the car, on of my girls recalled a time in our family when I was an avid couponer and dumpster diver. I learned that many people threw out their Sunday papers and I could forage through the dumpsters at the recycling center and get extra packs of coupons.
From the back of the car, my kid snickered a bit. She said, "Hey mom, remember when you'd go to the recycling center and climb in those dumpsters to get newspapers for coupons? That was fun wasn't it?" As tears pricked my eyes and burned my nose, I muttered, "Yeah." I struggled at this moment because my kid thought her mom was being eccentric - she thought it was some hobby I was in to like scrap booking or Bunco.
In that moment, I had a choice to make. Through tears, I looked in the rear view mirror at her face and I said, "You know, Mom didn't really want to do that. But Mom was able to get enough coupons to be able to afford groceries because at that time in our life, we really couldn't afford groceries."
I looked ahead and took a deep breath. I was ashamed to tell my kids this fact of their childhood. I didn't want them to think less of their mom and dad for struggling financially. My kid looked out her window and just said, "Oh. Well that was pretty cool that you knew how to do that." My other daughter chimed in and said, "Remember how you used to teach us how to cut with scissors by cutting out the coupons?"
That was it. They were not embarrassed or ashamed of their mom. They pointed out my resourcefulness and how I always found a way to turn something into a home schooling lesson. I was afraid of sharing this difficult time in our family but they had nothing but fond memories.
Today, I don't have to dumpster dive for coupons. Times can still be tight but we are blessed beyond measure, we are able to give generously, pay our bills on time and accomplish projects around our home. This doesn't mean there won't be difficult times again, but I remember where we once were and how faithful God was to bring us through it. I also learned that my kids are more grace-filled than me when it comes to remembering. As a mom, I can beat myself up over hard times or times when I thought I did a bad job.
As parents, I believe it's important to be honest with our children when sharing the past with them. It's an opportunity to show them how the Lord has worked in their life and to show His faithfulness. Psalm 138 is a great psalm of thanksgiving. It reads:
I thank you, Lord, with all my heart;
I sing praise to you before the gods.
I face your holy Temple, bow down, and praise your name because of your constant love and faithfulness, because you have shown that your name and your commands are supreme.
You answered me when I called to you;
with your strength you strengthened me.
All the kings in the world will praise you, Lord,
because they have heard your promises.
They will sing about what you have done and about your great glory.
Even though you are so high above, you care for the lowly, and the proud cannot hide from you.
When I am surrounded by troubles, you keep me safe.
You oppose my angry enemies and save me by your power.
You will do everything you have promised;Lord, your love is eternal.
Complete the work that you have begun.
My kids needed to know that when I called on the Lord, He answered me, even from the inside of a dumpster.