My daughter says thank you for everything. Gratefulness just seems to overflows from her heart. She thanks everyone in our family for the littlest things. She thanks her preschool teacher every day when she leaves school. She will even thank perfect strangers. I love that about her. It is one way that her joyful heart is expressed, that, and the smile that lights up her entire face. She says “thank you” loud enough for everyone in the vicinity to hear. There’s no way to miss it. When she thanks you, sometimes multiple times, you feel thoroughly appreciated.

We adopted her over a year ago and I wonder if her thankfulness comes from the fact that she knows what it is like to live without . . . without a family, without a home, without security and, in her earliest days, without enough to eat. She knows the darkness of living without. She knows what it is like to not have some of her most basic needs met.

She now knows, or perhaps is still learning, that her needs will be met, that she is safe, loved and belongs to our family. She always, Lord willing, will have enough to eat and a mommy and daddy to dry her tears, siblings to look out for her and a safe place to call home. What a far cry from her life before.  Sometimes I wonder if my birth kids can truly ever feel as grateful . . . sometimes I wonder if I can truly ever feel as grateful as I should. We do not know the pain of living without, or the relief of finally having a place to call home. Can we who have never lived without recognize the abundance that is all around us?

It is, of course, a blessing to be raised in a loving home from birth, one that I would never take from my older kids. I just hope they get it . . . I hope that I get it.

As a small child, I sang “Jesus Love Me” and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”. I personally can not remember a time when I didn’t know that I was loved by God. This is, in fact, a magnificent gift, one that I don’t stop and think about often enough, but when I do, it fills me with awe. Am I as thankful as I should be? Are there words of praise on my lips and a song of thanksgiving in my heart to the One that loved me first?  Have I thanked God today for offering His one and only Son, Jesus, in my place, to bear my sins and clothe me in His righteousness?I pray that I never take His love for granted, not even for a moment. I pray that I will live life with a grateful heart like my daughter. I pray that in all things, whether great or small, I will remember to say “thank you”.

“Therefore as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thankfulness.” Colossians 2:5-6 ESV