An Encouraging Word about Gratitude

Meet Haley Dumpe, my delightful friend and guest blogger. Haley is a young wife and mom whose countenance shines with the presence of Christ in spite of Multiple Sclerosis. I know you’ll find encouragement in her words. Please leave a comment and check out her website “Letting Go.”

http://haleylettinggo.blogspot.com

Haley Dumpe, Guest Blogger

Multiple Sclerosis is not who I am. I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. I love teaching, learning, creating, encouraging, and spending time with precious friends and family members. Jesus is the very breath I take. He is my Savior, my strength and my song. Posted on my blog are my honest thoughts on how MS does not define me, but it did change my life forever. Life is so hard, but God is so good. I pray you’ll find encouragement for your heart in my post.

Confession: I struggle with jealousy.

My kids were home two days last week because of the snow and ice. I am tired. Don’t get me wrong–it has been really fun! I am so glad my kids were home because of snow days. We didn’t have much snow, but it was enough for them. They threw snowballs, built a mini snowman, and even practiced sledding down the hill. However, as I watched them from my wheel chair, I became really bitter. I looked past all the many blessings and just looked at everything I did not have and wanted. I tried to make a list of things I could be thankful for instead of wallowing in my pity (although I really wanted to wallow).

My Gratitude List

  1. I have a wheelchair that allows me to go outside and watch the kids play in the snow. 
  2. I have children who wanted me to come out with them and waited patiently until I got in my chair to play in the snow. 
  3. My children were healthy enough to run and play outside, and most of the time, they had a really good time with each other. 
  4. My husband is very hard-working and has a good job that provides us with a house that keeps us warm on a cold day. 
  5. Our house also has big doors for wheelchairs and ramps… it even has cabinets with drawers that pull out and are easily accessible! Our house really is amazing… talk about God‘s provision!  

Sometimes I get so tired of watching life from the wheelchair, and I want to stand up and do! I have so many things to be thankful for, but I can quickly look past that and focus on all the things that I want or think would make my life better.

Isn’t it easy to get focused on all the things we want instead of all the blessings that we DO have?

I play a game with my kids called “Count Your Blessings.” They roll their eyes (especially my 10-year-old), but begrudgingly they play it and end up in a better mood. Each person only has three seconds to name a blessing. I normally keep them going until I see smiles on their faces instead of grumpy looks and arguing that could ensue.

Guidance for Gratitude

In Philippians 4:8, God’s Word tells us “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” In Colossians 3:2, it says to “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

Whether we are with our spouse, our children, or coworkers, we choose the tone for our life. We choose our own attitude and our focus. Are we going to choose an attitude of gratitude or an attitude of grumbling and complaining? Who do we reflect to others? Do we reflect Jesus Christ or ourselves? My prayer for each of us is that as we start each day, we make a conscious decision to set our mind on things above and begin to look more like Christ as we reflect Him to others.

Won’t you share a comment? Haley would love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading,

Jeannie

Bible verses are from ESV.

22 thoughts on “An Encouraging Word about Gratitude

  1. Haley, thanks for being so honest! I love the “count your blessings game” idea for children and adults!

  2. Haley, your choice to choose gratitude has and will continue to have a powerful positive effect on your children’s perception of God. He is a loving Heavenly Father Who can be trusted all the time, especially when His answer to fervent, continuous prayer is “…My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness…”( 2 Corinthians 12:9)

  3. I needed to read this! Thanks for your candor. It helps put life into perspective… Count your blessings and don’t take anything for granted!!

  4. Dear Ms. Haley,
    How I enjoyed your post young lady. I’m not confined to a wheelchair with MS, but I too have thrown far too many “pity parties” for myself. As I’ve gotten older, the maladies of age and the frivolity of youth has caught up with me. I often lament all the things I can no longer do (walk long distances, exercise without nitroglycerin, skydive, canoe, hike, and work a full day on the ranch). Your post reminds me of the importance of playing the “Count Your Blessings” game, if only with myself some days. I think of all the things I’ve lost and sadness can overtake us. But then I think of all I’ve gained through Christ and recognize how much better my life is. God’s blessings young lady. Will be subscribing to your site very soon. And may God richly bless you Ms. Jeannie for introducing us to this enlightening young woman.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Thank you, Jim. The aging process isn’t fun, but it does remind us of the blessings we have. Haley’s post encouraged me. I’m thankful you and others found it inspiring as well.

  5. Thank you, Haley, for this sweet and honest post. Love that you encourage your children to count their blessings, as you’ve obviously mastered this and know the benefit of doing so. This is my favorite line and a pertinent reminder to me: “we make a conscious decision to set our mind on things above and begin to look more like Christ as we reflect Him to others.” Blessings!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Julie, the line about making a conscious decision spoke to me as well. Thank you for leaving a comment for Haley.

  6. Thanks so much for sharing Haley! I think God must want Philippians 4:8 and Colossians 3:2 stuck in my head because I just read them not ten minutes before reading this post. Our minds are a battlefield where the enemy wants to drag us down. We fight back with prayer and thankfulness (Philippians 4:6-7) and intentionally focusing on truth instead of lies. God keep our minds set on You!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Joanna, I’m so glad you saw a repeat of the verses Haley included. Your description of how we are to fight is perfect. Thank you.

  7. Sweet Haley,

    Thank you for this much needed reminder to focus on gratitude instead of my many wants and complaints.

    I am going to play the count your blessings game with myself!

    Thanks again for reminding me I am in control of my attitude which in turn teaches my children how to act.

    Much love to you!!!

  8. “We choose the tone for our life.” What a great post! We could all benefit from focusing on what we have instead of what we wish we had.

  9. Haley and Jeannie, I’m guilty–I also look at the things I don’t have and will get upset (even bitter) about my supposed lack. What a beautiful and uplifting post you have shared! I love the game of blessings that you play with your children. As I’m sitting here at the computer, I closed my eyes and named a series of blessings. Thank you for reminding me to look at and be thankful for the bountiful blessings God bestows on a daily basis.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      I’m thankful the post spoke to you, Katherine, as it did to me. Counting our blessings is refreshing and sharpens our focus on our heavenly Father. Thank you for commenting.

  10. Haley,

    What a beautiful way to teach your children important wisdom for life. By making gratitude a game, you’ve made it fun for them. 🙂 Thank you for these timely reminders and for pointing me to Jesus (always).

  11. This reminds me of a line from a song–can’t remember who wrote it: “Are you humbly grateful or grumbly hateful? What’s your attitude?…” Great reminders from Haley! It’s great that she can make herself focus on the blessings and encourage us to do the same.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Glenda, what a perfect summary of Haley’s post! Yes, Haley encourages us through her writing. Thanks, Glenda.

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