28 November 2011

   As our family relaxes up in beautiful Island Park for the Thanksgiving weekend, I am filled with gratitude for the beautiful surroundings we are so blessed to enjoy up here.  There is enough snow to enjoy some great snowmobiling, the mountains are covered and look amazing, and our family is here together and enjoying a warm, inviting cabin and each other’s company. 

   I have thought a lot about gratitude during this week.  Our family has SO much to be grateful for.  We have been blessed with so much our whole lives, not even including the many blessings we have been given the last six months.  I have a family that has fulfilled so much in my life.  Each member of my family fills a spot in my heart that cannot be replaced any other way.  As I watch the kids interact up here, I am so grateful for each of their individual personalities and amazed at how they are so different yet as a family, together we are complete. 

   I know that I do not express my gratitude nearly enough – not to my family, my friends, and especially to my Heavenly Father.  About a year ago, we had a lesson on gratitude in Relief Society and a sweet friend made a comment about it that has stuck with me ever since.  As I remember it, she said that a general authority had visited someone’s home and had prayed with their family.  Their family had just experienced a death of a loved one, and hoped that he would ask for special blessings to help them get through this difficult time.  Instead, he challenged them to fill their prayers with thanks, not asking for anything, but instead expressing their gratitude for all of their opportunities they were given in this lifetime.  I just remember her talking about that prayer and how we can thank Heavenly Father for the opportunity to know the plan of salvation, the opportunity to have known this loved one, the opportunity to be able to ask for blessings of comfort, peace, and healing, etc.  I was especially touched by this comment.  I tried that night to change my prayers to prayers of gratitude, thanking Him for blessings and not asking for anything.  It was amazing how my attitude and thinking changed into how I could be thankful for things that I usually was asking for – like being grateful that I had a missionary and that he could serve Him and be watched over as all the missionaries were – that I had a family that I was so blessed to feel promptings in their behalf – etc.  It totally changed my thinking about how I prayed.  I try to remember to pray a few times a week and not ask for anything, just remember everything I am grateful for.  This was part of a conference address years ago on gratitude:

Luke chapter 17 records the experience of the Savior when He healed 10 lepers. Remember that only one of the cleansed lepers returned to express his appreciation. Isn’t it interesting that the Lord did not say, “Your gratitude has made you whole”? Instead, He said, “Thy faith hath made thee whole.”

The leper’s expression of gratitude was recognized by the Savior as an expression of his faith. As we pray and express gratitude to a loving but unseen Heavenly Father, we are also expressing our faith in Him. Gratitude is our sweet acknowledgment of the Lord’s hand in our lives; it is an expression of our faith.

   So I will try to express my ‘faith’ to my Heavenly father more often, instead of my constant begging for blessings.  I realize I do have so much to be grateful for.  The last few months have been so much better than medical professionals predicted it would be.  Our family has been able to snowmobile together here and Ty is at the head of the pack – certainly not what was predicted for him a few months ago.  We realize we have had blessings poured over our family and hope Heavenly Father knows how grateful we all are to Him for this.  I am especially grateful to all the youth in our community and in Tyler’s circle of friends who remember him in their prayers.  When I hear from mothers that they see their children on their knees in their rooms and know why they are praying, my heart is truly filled with gratitude for these sweet kids.  I hope they all realize that their faith and prayers are keeping Ty healthy, happy, and filled with hope for the future.  Thank you!

The Griswold, I mean, The Smith family Christmas Tree Outing


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