Mommas, Allow Thanksgiving to Nourish your Soul

little girl holding up a colorful construction paper turkey for thanksgiving as a sweet gesture amid the mayhem of motherhood

Mayhem ran amuck as I scurried to get my children ready for an appointment. I barked orders to my older children while attempting to subdue my toddler, who gleefully ran away from me naked as a jaybird. “Are you brushing your teeth?” I yelled up the stairs, still struggling to put a diaper on my son, which was about as easy as wrestling an alligator.

When he was finally dressed, I popped him on my hip to deter any further escape, and hurried upstairs to check on my 5 and 6 year olds. Do you think they were obediently dressed and ready for the day? Nope, of course not. In normal 5-year-old fashion, the toys I had neatly put away the night before now spilled all over their bedroom floor as my kids searched for a lost stuffed animal. With a stern Momma look, I marched my kids to the bathroom.

Finally ready, I grabbed my cold coffee out of the microwave and made sure I had diapers. And wipes. And snacks. And sippy cups. And goodness, where did I put my keys last night?

The Mayhem of Motherhood

If you, my friend, have ever bustled several small children to the doctors, you know my manic morning was just beginning! I like to call this “the mayhem of motherhood.” Between a toddler’s excavation of every kitchen cabinet while we make dinner, and the broken hope of a quiet nap time cut short by a crying baby, mommas often spin in a tornado of mayhem, leaving us exhausted. Depleted. Overdrawn like a bad bank statement.

A little encouragement when motherhood is disappointing boardEvery day, but particularly on days when the whirling chaos saps you, let me offer you a helpful tool for your motherhood toolkit—thanksgiving. I have found that thanksgiving replenishes my depleted resources, sustaining my soul on the most draining of mothering days. There is even a surprising Biblical truth to prove it.

The Old Testament commanded various sacrifices, one being a thanksgiving offering.

Those who wished to offer thanks to God prepared an unblemished animal of the herd, bread without leaven (yeast), as well as leavened loaves (with yeast). But here’s the fascinating part I don’t want you to miss: The one making the sacrifice, together with the priest, ate this offering after it was sacrificed to God. Significantly, this offering was the only sacrifice the worshipper was permitted to eat.

Thanksgiving with Return

Do you see God’s bountiful provision? When one offered thanks to God, He, in turn, returned to them a feast. With each nourishing bite of soft bread and roasted lamb, it is as if they declared to God, “You are enough, and You sustain me.” His sustenance is far better than a lazy stroll through the aisles of Target with a pumpkin spice latte in hand. (Although I’m not saying you shouldn’t do that also!)

I even applied my own advice this morning while wearily scouring the mud streaks off our kitchen floor. In His kindness, the Spirit reminded me that a thanksgivings offering nourishes our soul, and so I began thanking God for the little feet I love so much. And their delightful giggles after the little piggies went “wee wee wee all the way home.”

Mostly I remembered the honor it is to be their mom, nurturing and raising these amazing little people, even if it means cleaning up lots of their messes. One thing led to another, and before I knew it I was thinking about Jesus washing feet, and how I wasn’t doing exactly that, but in broad brush strokes, I was. My soul felt nourished, gifting me with strength for the task at hand.

So, dear one, in the mayhem of motherhood, how can we remember the habit of thanksgiving? Without a festive offering embedded into our daily rhythms, maybe you, and maybe I, need a thanksgiving remembrance.

As I write this, God just unfurled one of nature’s greatest magic show and gave us fall, and now a maple tree outside my window flashes fiery red. This is my reminder. Maybe you can place a painted stone on your countertop, or ink “thanksgiving” onto your bathroom mirror. Or, you could write Psalm 100 on an index card and put it above your kitchen sink. The title of Psalm 100 is “A Psalm for Giving Thanks.” Many scholars believe this psalm was sung during the thanksgiving offering.

Whatever you choose, let it serve as a reminder that thanksgiving nourishes our soul, especially in the mayhem of motherhood.

Psalm 100: A psalm of thanksgiving

1 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!

2 Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.

3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.

5 For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

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