Martha has a powerful, 2-CD series called The Healing Power of Giving Thanks. It seems like such a simple, straightforward thing – and it is – but it’s not about saying “thank you” or having a grateful attitude. It is an absolute sacrifice of the heart to give God thanks in the places where He’s allowed us to be hurt. And parents are perfectly positioned to hurt their children because every look, word, and action means a great deal to the child. That is why it can be a challenge thanking God for parents.
It is simple, but not easy, to give thanks for everything!
Ephesians 5:20 HCSB
. . . Giving thanks always for everything to God the Father
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ . . .
The Lord was very stern when He began to show me the depth of my ingratitude. Bitterness had made me the most ungrateful twit in the world. I believed that God did me wrong, so He owed me. Therefore, whatever I was given, I was entitled to – and why should I be grateful when I’m only getting what I’m owed?! And most of my bitter ingratitude had to do with my parents.
Martha has another blockbuster series called Leave Thy Parents. In it, she’s quite clear that our parents were never going to be good enough for us, because we wanted perfect. We wanted our parents to be God, and they’re human instead. I found that to be absolutely true of me. And so I began to thank God for my parents. I thanked Him for the love and the hugs, and I thanked Him for the discipline and the harshness.
What I found on the other side of this gratitude is that I began to see both God and my parents in a new light. God was actively engaged in my life and had been from the beginning, I’d just never bothered to look. He wasn’t some imperious deity far removed from me. He was right here – and He loved me.
I began to see my parents as actual people and not just mom and dad. They existed outside of their relationships with me. They each had their own wounds and hopes and disappointments in life. I guess you could say that I actually started to SEE my parents.
What began as a huge chastening became a precious healing. It’s impossible to make peace with parents when you don’t see them. They aren’t pure evil, nor are they perfect saints. They’re human and messy and wonderful and terrible and funny and sad. And the more I did the work to thank God for them in everything, the more I saw how perfectly God chose my parents for me.
I don’t have to work very hard to be grateful for my parents today. They are God’s precious gift to me, and I’m still learning all this gift entails.