Saturday, November 26, 2011

On Giving Thanks

I mentioned earlier in the week that this trip to New York had been in discussion for a few years. Only over the course of the last several months did we begin actually making reservations and plans. Then, in the last couple of weeks my in-laws generously began making it clear that this trip was largely a gift from them.

As a very independent woman, I resisted at first. It was certainly not out of a lack of gratitude, as much out of a sense of respect (and my fleshly battle with pride and control). While I thought their offer was incredibly generous, it didn't feel necessary. I appreciated it but was a little uncomfortable.

Throughout the trip, each time they insisted on paying for a meal I felt somewhat embarrassed. My mind raced with ways to even the score. How could we pay them back? What type of gift could we give them to possibly 'catch up.'

Somewhere along the way (honestly, far later in the trip that it should have been) I realized, they didn't want us to try to get even. They simply wanted to give--to love us extravagantly. They wanted the gift of time together, making memories and building/strengthening relationships. They wanted us to share an adventure (even one that was hard on them physically). They wanted to enjoy the laughter and smiles of my children as they made new discoveries.This morning over breakfast I told my mother-in-law what a fairy tale trip it had been--and how sincerely we enjoyed and appreciated it. Her eyes welled up with tears as she said, "that's just what I wanted!"

And I had a revelation: While it may have seemed we had scrapped traditional Thanksgiving in lieu of other pursuits, I think I have actually learned to understand thanksgiving a bit more. Our Father in Heaven gives good gifts to His children. He wants us to share the adventure of life with Him. From His Hands come our every meal, breath and experience.

We can drive ourselves crazy trying to even the score...but it is simply impossible. He has given more than we can ever repay.

The greatest gift we can give in return is gratitude. As we stop the power struggle, the pride, the feeble attempts at repayment and choose instead to engage in relationship with Him...He is satisfied.

All we need to bring is an offering of thanks.


ChelseaSalomone said...

Great analogy. I have loved your trip pics!!

Diane Tohline said...

I love what you have posted. Instead of trying to even the score- instead of attempts at repayment - choose to show GRATITUDE.

That is so perfect and an excellent reminder. Just like your MIL was blessed by your gratitude, and we are as parents, so is our heavenly Father.

I find myself also trying to think how i can "repay" and "even things up." How freeing to realize all i need to do is express my true feelings of appreciation and gratitude.

Love Being A Nonny said...

There are several posts of yours that I will never forget...THIS is one of them. Especially as a Nonny, I "feel" this post. Thank you JenMom!

dee said...

I had a similar experience yesterday. Our daughter's boyfriend of two years went on our family trip this week. On the flight home, he said, " Thank you so much for including me on the trip. I don't know how I can repay you, but in some small way, I am going to try." And I responded, "Please don't try, we wanted you to enjoy it with us. We are so glad you did." So, I get it, too!

Jillian, Inc said...

Loved reading all about your trip and seeing all those smiles in the pictures. Great memories you will ALL cherish forever.

Kristen said...

Loved reading about your trip! You have such a beautiful family. I don't often comment but I enjoy your writing and wisdom very much! It definitely looked like a fairytale trip. I hope to do it one day with my family too.

Oh, and how on earth did you get all those coats and boots into suitcases?

As You Wish said...

So well said. I think accepting grace, in all it's forms, can be one of the hardest thing to do when you yourself are a giver. I know I struggle with the need to give back, when sometimes I just need to reveive and give thanks.

I'm so happy to see you had a wonderful trip. You and your family are beautiful, and I so enjoy your blog. Thanks for sharing your insightful writing with us.

Allison said...

I needed to read this post...this is definitely something that I struggle with. I have been told before when trying to repay someone for their kindness that I was 'robbing them of a blessing'. I think about that often when I find myself trying to repay someone. Thanks again for sharing your life through your blog. It is definitely an encouragement to me.