Last Updated on March 20, 2018

I have a rough theory about motherhood. I wonder if God made things so round-the-clock and all-demanding of moms right from the start so that we’d be used to laying down our lives from the very beginning? (As if that didn’t already start with pregnancy: “Check your dignity at the door, please!” Or as my friend puts it, “Do you know where I have stitches?!”). In a way, I see all the soreness, the feeding, the hormones, the diapers, the soothing, as Mommy Boot Camp. If you can survive these first 12 weeks, there’s a good chance you’ll make it to their adolescence.

I have been recently recruited for just such a boot camp as we incorporate our fourth child into the mix. I’m having a whole lot of days that find me begging God for my “daily bread” of the stamina to, well, survive. So far we haven’t had a day when I have lost a child, or where one hasn’t eaten, or when someone has run around without clothes on for an extended period of time. (Oops. Scratch that last one.) We are doing okay.

But I’ve been reminded of something another friend told me as he and his wife walked through her terminal cancer. He remembers one night of deep grief where, he recalls, he discovered a key to suffering:


My friend began thanking God, starting with the small things—air to breathe, I think. And it snowballed from there. Because once we really start thanking God, even in the midst of profound suffering, our focus shifts to His goodness and greatness. We see it when Job chooses praise when he has just lost his most precious possessions and others are saying he has a right to curse God. We see it in Mary when she offers herself open-handedly, having just found out she’ll have a horrible reputation for the rest of her life as she bears God’s son. And we see it in Jesus as He praises God before He goes to the cross.

Gratitude has been a lifesaver for me as I trudge through the fog of sleep deprivation (didn’t they used to do that to prisoners of war?) and the adjustments that at times seem too big for me to bear—at least with any honor. Gratitude has given me a way out of self-centeredness and despair, and a way in to God’s glory and goodness. It’ll be something I’ll remember on “one of those days” for a long time.

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  1. Great post! These thoughts are so close to what's been on my mind alot lately. I even started a 'Thankful Thursday' over on my blog to help me remember that even through hard times I have so much to be thankful for each week and that by sharing it with others I can be a help to them and myself at the same time! Thanks for sharing your heart today. 🙂

  2. Janel, I adore your posts. I just discovered this Momblog and truly enjoy it. Thank you for this reminder, I needed it today (when do we NOT, actually?).