by Sandra P. Aldrich @SandraPAldrich
A concerned woman once asked G. Campbell Morgan, the early 20th century British preacher and author, if she should pray about everything or just the big things. The respected theologian smiled and answered, “Madam, what could possibly be big to God? Pray about everything.”
I wonder if sometimes we are like that dear woman, when we ponder what we should be thankful for. Oh, it’s easy to say, “Thank You, Lord!” when we slip but don’t fall on icy steps, or when we hear that a friend has arrived home safely after a much delayed flight. But the following long-ago event showed me a new level of gratitude.
Just after I received my masters of arts degree, I visited my Kentucky grandmother, Mama Farley. I was the first woman in my extended family to attend college, so I pulled my accomplishment proudly around my shoulders as though it was one of Mama’s beautiful hand- stitched quilts.
The first morning of that visit, I awoke to sounds from the kitchen and hurriedly dressed. Mama’s hearing had gotten worse, so she didn’t notice me standing in the kitchen archway. As I watched, I remembered her long-ago stories of how she had been kept home from school to plow, which resulted in her never having learned to read or write. Those stories always ended with her insistence that I get all the education I could.
Mama’s back was more stooped, and her hair was whiter that morning. But everything else in the kitchen was the same—even the white and red enamel flour pan and the wood-burning stove. The modern range her adult children had purchased years ago still sat in the corner, used only occasionally to warm leftovers. Mama insisted she couldn’t regulate the heat in the new oven.
As I watched, she pulled a skillet of beautiful biscuits from her trusty old stove.
I nodded, determined to learn to make biscuits like that during the visit. Thinking of the compliments I would receive from my own future visitors, I watched Mama scrutinize the perfectly browned biscuits. I would have placed them on the serving plate with a self-satisfied sigh. But she set the plate in the center of the table and whispered, “Thank you, Lord.”
Her gentle words hit me like a sharp rebuke. I backed into the hallway, tears filling my eyes. I may have achieved an education Mama could never dream of. But it had not occurred to me to thank Father God for the accomplishment. Right there in the hallway, I whispered my gratitude heavenward before hurrying into the kitchen to give Mama a hug.
Today her habit of thanking God for even the so-called little things has become part of my life, too. Now, whether I’m paying bills, planting spring flowers, walking to the mailbox or pulling a pan of golden biscuits from my own oven, I think of Mama as I whisper my own “Thank you, Lord.” After all, isn’t that what Paul was trying to encourage the Thessalonian church—and us—to do when he called for giving thanks in all circumstances? What a privilege to be aware of the many blessings in each day. And to whisper our own “Thank you, Lord.”
In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV)
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: SANDRA P. ALDRICH is an international speaker and author or co-author of 25 books, including her latest three novels. Known for her Kentucky story-telling style of speaking and writing, Sandra loves the Lord, family and all things Appalachian. Eastern Michigan University granted her a Master of Arts degree, but she says life granted her a Ph.D. from the School of Hard Knocks. She may be reached through her website at www.sandraaldrich.com.
Join the conversation: When is the last time you have thanked the Lord for the “small things”?