“Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord, offspring, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth. Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them. They will never be put to shame when they speak with their enemies at the city gate.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
This being Thanksgiving week, I thought it would be only appropriate to spend a little more intentional time than usual reflecting on some of the things for which I am most thankful. Four days surely isn’t anywhere in the universe of enough time to cover a full list, but it’s a start. As we go, allow me to invite you to join me in making your own list. There is power in gratitude. If you will start a bit of a habit this week, I guarantee it will serve you well. That all being said, let’s get to the gratitude.
The first thing I’m grateful for this week is chaos. That sounds a little odd (or maybe a lot odd), I know, but bear with me. On most days, I live in a house humming with a low level of chaos. On the other days, it’s a fairly high level.
Now, I know what you might be thinking: The preacher has a chaotic house? Surely not! Aren’t they supposed to be better than that? What about that thing Paul said somewhere about how if an overseer can’t manage his own household well, then he shouldn’t be managing the household of God? Well, you can judge if you’d like, but that’s not really what I’m going for here.
If you’re a bit more cynical in your outlook, though, you might be thinking something a little more along these lines: Oh great, another one of those irritating blogs where the writer lays out all his problems and how he’s not perfect as an act of therapy and sympathy-mongering. Believe it or not, I’m really not working that angle either.
Here’s the angle: I have three boys ranging in age from 6 to 12. Our house operates at a low level of chaos most of the time because when you have three boys ranging in age from 6 to 12, you’re not going to get anything else. That’s just the name of the game for this season of life.
Every day is another adventure in breaking up fights and picking up junk and hollering over the din and issuing reminders that you don’t need to use your 100-foot voice when you’re only 3-feet apart and picking up more junk and scolding disrespect and breaking up more fights and feeding the wolves and throwing stuffed snow balls and getting shot in the backside with nerf bullets and tending to wounds from getting shot in the backside with nerf bullets and picking up the same junk for the third time…in 20 minutes and helping with homework and insisting that bathing is something that must happen daily and reading adventure stories and sending them back up to bed for the 1,000th time…that night and finally collapsing on the couch together to have that few minutes where you just sit and enjoy being together long enough for your eyes to start to close on their own before you start it all again the next day. It’s like being on a carnival ride.
That’s life right now and it’s chaos most of the time…and I love it. I mean, not always in the moment. Often you hate it then because banging your head agains the reinforced steel wall for the umpteenth time in the same day starts to get old. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Because I love it. Even when it’s hard.
So, when I say that I’m thankful for chaos, what I really mean is that I’m thankful for my boys. Lisa and I have three boys who are about as good as they come. Seriously. I’m not just saying that because they live with me and might track me down with a mega Nerf gun if I don’t.
Let me give you an example. This past weekend our staff served the church a drive-thru Thanksgiving meal. It was like eating with 225 of your closest friends…at home by themselves. And you just had to throw everything away when it was gone because it was all on paper (sorry environment…). And as folks started to drive -thru to pick up their meals, three boys who had been at church for basically 7 hours straight were like eager beavers to hand out plates to everyone who pulled through. They spent the afternoon asking how they could help. The youngest was insistent on hand-delivering the bags with plates and bread and he couldn’t even reach the windows of most of the cars. They’re about as good as they come.
I’m grateful for my boys. I’m grateful for their servants’ hearts and compassionate spirits and creativity. I’m grateful they play together like best friends…even in the moments when they hate each other. I’m grateful the youngest insists on hugging his brothers before he goes to bed. I’m grateful the middle one will snuggle with the youngest when he needs it. I’m grateful the oldest checks on his middle brother every night before he goes to sleep.
I’m grateful for my boys. The psalmist here wrote that sons are a heritage from the Lord and a reward. He says that the one who has many is happy. This was one of those verses I always read and didn’t think too much about…until I was there. Then I realized just how right he was…how right he is. And I’m grateful for it.
Yes, the days are hard and long. There are frustrations in spades and challenges that seem to never stop coming. But I wouldn’t trade it. For anything. Ever. I’m grateful for my boys. They make me proud in more ways that I can count. They are a treasure and God’s blessing each and every day. That’s what I’m grateful for today. How about you?
Tomorrow…more gratitude. See you then.