“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4
As a mom of young children, I became a firm believer in a fresh coat of lipstick and exchanging stretch pants for a nice pair of jeans when I was feeling low. I called it “fake it will you make it.” I found it helpful to make my outside appearance reflect what I wanted to feel on the inside – fresh and ready for the day ahead!
It’s easy to treat holidays that way too. I can smear on holiday cheer before guests arrive, even though I’m exhausted from preparing meals and yelled at my children for messing up the house. Mama, let’s try something different this Thanksgiving! Let’s prepare the Thanksgiving table in our hearts before we set it on our tables.
I have lived in South Africa as a missionary for many years. Several years ago, I could not find another ounce of hope or joy within me as I served in dire conditions. I needed God’s presence because I had nothing left to offer. Sweet friend, haven’ you been in a place where you felt like you had nothing left to give?
One day I read the Scripture, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” (Psalm 100:4) It felt like I had just been given the keys to the Kingdom! Simply put, this verse promises that our gratitude and praise bring us into God’s presence, and that was exactly what I needed!
I created “The Thankful Game”. Every time I got in my car, everyone with me had to say 3 things they were thankful for. No one was exempt, even if they spoke another language!
One day, I stepped into a desperate situation with women who had nothing but gave everything to those who were suffering around them. That day in particular, they also had run out of hope and joy. So we played the thankful game. It seemed ridiculous to force women much older than me who lived in much more extreme circumstances to tell me three things they were thankful for. But Mama, God’s Word is TRUE. As gratitude left our lips, joy filled our hearts. We began worshiping and praising Jesus. Soon after, the women received miraculous provision to continue caring for others, and we knew our thanksgiving had paved the way for it.
I haven’t stopped playing “The Thankful Game” since that day. My toddler, teenager, and all their friends who ride in the car with us know we will always start with thanksgiving. Your gratitude and praise bring you directly into the presence of your Heavenly Father. Prepare the table for yourself and your family’s hearts by bringing Christ to the center this Thanksgiving!
Teach your family how to play “The Thankful Game”. Give every person a chance to speak without interruption and share three things they are thankful for. You can play when you sit down for a meal, or every time you get in the car (and get really stretched on errand-running days!)
Kacy Ladd and the Help Club for Moms Team