It usually begins with one simple raindrop. The echo of that single hopeful sound fills that empty cup. The drops may seem insignificant at first, but with its gathering momentum, what begins as drops, turns into drizzling. The drizzle sweeps into pouring rain that fills the cup until it overflows. The overflow spreads and spreads until the once empty cup can no longer be seen. It becomes completely submerged by the rain that once came as a simple, gentle drop.
A couple of years ago, the Lord spoke to me about creating a home, whose interiors are furnished with the sounds of praise and overflowing with adoration for His name and whose walls declare the Lord’s faithfulness. He said to me “ Clarinda, Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances...for this is what God wants for your life in union with Christ Jesus”
I Thes 5:18 .
Now this sounds like an easy thing to do when all is good, but this was, at a time when thanksgiving felt like a painful exercise. I was in a very lonely and insecure space as a woman. We were financially overwhelmed, having sleepless nights over a child who was diagnosed with a learning challenge and i was feeling undone by my new role as a homeschooling mom. Not to mention the fact that the kids and I had just survived a head-on car accident.
I remember the despair and desperation of that season, and yet there was the gentle whisper to be joyful, pray at all times and to let “THANKFULNESS” become the practice and default setting of my life. It initially seemed unfair and unrealistic, but as we begun to pour intentionality and focus into building a family culture of gratitude, our outlook and perspective changed and so much joy strengthened our hearts in the midst of that hard season. This in turn readied our hearts to receive the harvest and breakthrough that the Lord had prepared for us, by the grace of Is hand.
Here are some practical activities that have really blessed my family, and allowed me to creatively cultivate a culture of thanksgiving within the walls of our home:
Keep a gratitude journal If you are having a particularly challenging time in one particular area of your life, keep a special journal for that aspect of your life. You will easily start to notice all the raindrops God is pouring into that area already.I remember a time in my marriage when I kept a “ My Love, I am so thankful….. journal. It gave me such perspective and the truth of what God was doing in us became more amplified than our problems.
Make gratitude a family affair: Special occasions and celebrations lend themselves easily to giving thanks and capturing the memories of that time. But designating family dinner times around the table with questions that facilitate gratitude, is another beautiful practice. Keep a gratitude jar in the middle of the dining table for night time discussions and thanksgiving.. Make it fun, older kids can write notes into the jar and younger kids can draw something. Tiny toddlers can add a lego block to add their “words” of thanks to the jar. You can even create prompts to take them to the dinner table and pick one each night to get your gratitude going:
What was the highlight of your week? What is God saying to you through that highlight?
What is one special thing you noticed about your sister or brother that you want to say thank you for?
Create a gratitude wall: something visual and creative if you love that kind of thing. It could be a black chalkboard somewhere in your home, a pin-up board to pin your gratitude posts on, or sticky notes as well. Grab some creative inspiration from pinterest and turn your walls into thankful expressions within your home.
Turn your social media space into a place of celebration and not of comparison. One thing I have learnt is that comparison is one of the enemies to a life of gratitude. When you are going through a hard time, and you don't have the “ I have a beautiful life” pictures to show, the Lord taught me to come on to social media with the sole purpose of finding something or someone to celebrate. Gratitude is really seeds planted into the ground of our lives, and it always yields even more gratitude and harvest of joy for those who plant it everyday.
Read stories and books aloud that highlight gratitude. BIble verses and stories included. My favourite book on the topic of gratitude is by Ann Voskamp, “ One Thousand GIfts”. She provides a strong and inspiring journey into embracing a life of joy and rest, even through challenges. Apart from reading stories, why not get each person in the family to interview someone within your friendship, church or school community, and find the answer to this question: “ What moment in your life are you the most grateful for, and why?”
It is my prayer that as we all stop to give thanks and intentionally create a culture of gratitude within our homes, we will see the overflow of clarity, joy and the readiness to receive the harvest of goodness that God is pouring over every area of our lives. May our homes be filled with the sounds of joy-filled praise. And may our “streets be filled with joy”.
For more on our family “Catching every raindrop gratitude challenge”, go to clarindasishi.com.
Clarinda Sishi is a wife, homeschooling mom of three children ( age 13,12, and 9), and an entrepreneur. After working as an Adoption Social Worker and Programme Developer, Clarinda took her passion for children and families into her full-time role as a Stay-at-Home mom. She is passionate about healthy, flourishing homes and believes that cultivating worship and intimacy with God, brings true rest and beauty. As an entrepreneur, Clarinda founded Cedarwood Essentials to inspire and support women to design healthy, toxic-free homes where vibrant life can happen using plant-based solutions the way God intended. When she is not painting, blogging or creating a new song, Clarinda prefers a cozy, rainy evening chatting away with her husband, or a long heart-to-heart with a girlfriend.