It all started from a dark corner of my heart. It was nothing major from an outside perspective, but my heart knew the truth. I was not allowing the light of Jesus to shine through me.
My heart was focusing on the negatives.
I was allowing the nit-picky details to taint my view of my husband. You know those little things like the cluttered nightstand and the open cabinet door.
Simply typing those two things sheds light on the situation: it’s really not a big deal. But day after day, as I focused on the tiny negatives, my heart slowly grew resentful. I forgot how thankful I am for him.
I needed a heart reset toward thankfulness.
Over time, my heart had begun to forget why I love my husband so much. Those things which are true, honorable, and excellent were pushed to a dark, back corner of my mind.
I needed a tangible activity to refocus my heart. So I decided to start a thankful journal of what I appreciate about him. I would just add a few things daily then give it to him.
I had been training myself to be intentional.
For several years, I have been building habits to cultivate a restful heart in myself so I can lead my family toward a restful homeschool. Being restful is not natural. Neither is being thankful.
As light dawned in my negative heart, I realized this was a perfect opportunity to train my children. It’s human nature to focus on the negatives, and that had become a trend in our home.
My weakness was an opportunity to teach my children.
Rather than starting an activity as something they needed, we could use this to grow together. Rather than teaching them as one who has it all figured out, I could model humility because I also needed it.
And so, our family honor journals were born.
We would compile a list of reasons we are thankful for one another. Our lists would include character qualities, acts of service, and gifted abilities. Being thankful in specific ways would help us honor one another above ourselves.
Compiling these lists would be another step in building a conversational environment in our home. Do you aim to create a culture for conversations in your home?
However, as we started discussing our projects, the thankful journals turned into jars, and we eventually settled on paper bags. Why bags? Because I need projects to be simple, and we had some in the pantry.
We’re keeping it simple because that’s what I can handle.
I’m not so great with crafty projects. I’m not so great with carrying an idea through to completion. Honestly, I’m also not so great with actually starting implementing my ideas. But we can handle this one.
Each day, we write down something we appreciate about each family member and drop the note in their bag. We set a date for when we will open them, a time not too far away to increase the likelihood of following through to completion.
It’s a reminder to “honor one another above yourself” (Romans 12:10)
Moms, we can teach our children to honor one another. We can teach our children to be thankful for their family. It starts with our own example. If you see a weakness in yourself, chances are you see something similar in your children.
Do you see your opportunity?
If your family, like mine, tends to focus more on those negative aspects of each other, it is time to focus on honoring one another. As we honor one another, our hearts will remember to be thankful for one another. It’s one step in creating a restful plan for our families.
Living with one another is hard. Moms, we can teach our children (and ourselves!) to focus on the good in each other. We can teach our children (and ourselves) to be thankful for each other even when it’s hard.
Let’s keep it simple:
- Prepare your thankful journals. Gather some journals, jars, or bags – one for each family member. Write everyone’s name on one.
- Set a date. Choose a date for everyone to open and read their notes of honor.
- Set a time. Choose a regular time to write your notes each day. (Breakfast works well for us.)
- Don’t give up. Keep going even if you miss some days.
- Celebrate and honor! You might even want to have a special dinner or dessert when you open your journals.
Being thankful for family requires intention.
Family honor journals, or jars, or bags, just might help you with that intention. It’s easy enough to start right now. Gather your children and start writing some notes to honor one another.
Take an intentional step to allow Jesus’ light to shine in your heart and your family as you choose to be thankful and honor one another.
Does a Family of Honor describe your family’s interactions with one another? Showing honor to other people is usually hardest with the people closest to you.
If honor is not the overarching theme of your home, don’t despair. You can cultivate a culture of honor. First, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to work in everyone’s hearts. Then, try implementing these conversation starters to discuss honor, actions to show honor, and prompts to express honor. You can become a family of honor!
If you would like to receive our Becoming Family of Honor book for free, enter your name & email below.
Aimee Smith lives in daily tension between God’s call to work in the trench of motherhood and His call to rest as His daughter. She faces each day with tenacity as she teaches her four children (ages 9-16) and leads in her local homeschool community, all while fighting chronic illness.
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