the weight of ingratitude

The week leading up to Christmas took an unexpected turn around here. My heart sunk heavier and heavier as Christmas morning crept closer. You see, we’re still finding our way through how to do Christmas.We don’t do Santa, or have an Elf on the shelf, and frankly, we didn’t even get all the way through Everyday Emmanuel

 (thank you, Jesus, for grace). We’ve gone down to three gifts each but still, we struggle. We want more of Christ in our Christmas.

Between October and December, each of my children have birthdays–which is a lot of parties, a lot of gifts, a lot of getting–and by the time Christmas arrives, it seems we find ourselves battling their ever growing desire for more things. Four days before Christmas, the monster of ingratitude reared it’s revolting head and breathed its toxin out all over this place.

Unfortunately, in the heat of the moment, and the days that followed, I struggled to shake the weight of what had erupted. I allowed the edges of my Christmas morning to gray with the haze of what had happened during the week leading up.

Christmas didn’t look quite like I’d expected. God wastes none of these moments and in the aftermath of a tremendous emotional struggle with one of my children, God brought light to my own heart on the issue of gratitude. His truth sears, and I immediately recognized the fires of refinement. I’ve spent a lot of time there lately. I know the stench of sin burning off.

While I struggled hard with the reactions of a certain someone in the house, God revealed that my grief over the ingratitude of my child, looks a bit like His grief over our ingratitude. Feeling the weight of God’s grief nearly smothered me. The pain of the revelation ached in my chest. While my ingratitude is often less obvious as my child’s, my heart too often murmurs against the provisions He has afforded me.

How many times have I smiled on the outside, while inside, my heart lusts for things which I do not have? How often have I said, “thank you, God, but–

It turns out, the grief I felt over the way things unfolded was a gift, a small insight into how I too, grieve my Father who loves me without end and, never withholds any good gift from me–despite the obvious fact that I deserve none of His good grace.

We’re starting again. Me and this child, my Father and me.

We’re learning gratitude in all things. It is a lesson worth mastering, no matter how painful the process.

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As a sequin-wearing, homeschooling, mops-coordinating mother of four, Kris Camealy is passionate about Jesus and her family. Her heart beats to share the hard, but glorious truth about  life in Christ with anyone who will listen. When she's not writing, she gobbles up books like they're going out of print and plays in the kitchen. She's been known to take gratuitous pictures of her culinary creations, causing mouths to water all across Instagram. Once upon a time, she ran 10 miles for Compassion International, a ministry for which she serves as an advocate. You can read more of her heart-words in her new book, Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement, and on her blog Kris

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  1. Shelly Miller

    I’ve lived this too. The realization of my own ingratitude like a slap in the face while I judge my own children for theirs. And really, it’s a gift of grace, to realize it isn’t it? So He can redeem my wrong thinking in my repentance. It doesn’t feel that way at the time, but it is indeed a gift. Thanks for making me think Kris. Your thoughts have stayed with me since first reading them.

    • KrisCamealy

      Thank YOU, Shelly. Redemption and repentance, two words that always hold hands in my mind. It seems I’m still learning to live both of them fully, my children are great for this purpose, and God is good to teach me about the merciful and generous heart of a parent. I have so much still to learn from Him.

  2. Oh for so long I lived this…focusing on what is not…instead of what is…and this blind living robs us from seeing God’s goodness…kindness and generosity toward us…all the little and big ways He loves us. Counting with Ann has opened my heart…and eyes wide…seeing all the ways He love me.
    I saw how I had trained my kids(more is caught than taught) how to filter through this “not enough” lens. But in God’s Mercy… even though my children are all older…they have seen my heart change…and I have seen their hearts change as well. God is Good! Thanks for sharing you heart and truth….blessings~

    • KrisCamealy

      Ro, the counting does change us, doesn’t it? It has me. I am so thankful for the community of grace-counters Ann has fostered, it has definitely changed me for the better–though apparently, I remain a work-in-progress. Bless you, my friend.

  3. Kelli Woodford

    “God wastes none of these moments.” — yes!
    often i marvel at the power of redemption. i find myself surrounded by circumstance after circumstance in which the only thing to think/pray is, “this, too, God? you can use even *this*?”
    love how He makes melody of our misery. beauty for ashes. a getting up over and over, just like you said with you and your child, “starting again.”

    • KrisCamealy

      “Melody out of our misery”– I love the way you said that, Kelli. Amen. Beautifully put.

  4. As my oldest baby busts into her fourth year of life, I’m just beginning to see how my children’s actions and choices can cause my heart to break. What a wonderful lesson…that we can learn from every moment – the good and the ugly.

    • KrisCamealy

      I am convinced that parenthood is the crucible that we never emerge from. I wanted so badly for the the ugliness I saw come out of my child to be about him, not me, and yet. God never fails to set me straight and the heart that breaks for Him is found worthy. All moments are redeemable by His gracious love.

  5. Your struggle mirrors mine and ours indeed mirrors the Father’s grief….and we get to try again. Grateful.

    • KrisCamealy

      Me too, so grateful for His mercy and forgiveness. He is so generous. Thank you, kind friend.

  6. He doesn’t waste any time, does He…

    Giving thanks for small insights today, Kris. And thank you for helping me see more clearly {HUGS}

    • KrisCamealy

      Oh no, Nikki. Nothing is ever wasted with Him. In the dark He shines bright. How beautifully, (and painfully) He refined me a little more through that week of Christmas. That has been one of the gifts He continues to give me–a constant cleansing, forever washed in His grace.

  7. Your openness hear opens me too, friend, with eyes to see my own sin and ingratitude, through His grace but also through His sacrifice which I know needs to more deeply penetrate my heart when I read your words. Thanks for the gift.

    • KrisCamealy

      Bless you, Cara. It never ceases to amaze me how God uses my children to stretch me. He is always refining us, always pulling us closer, even when things seem impossible. Praying for you!

      • :)

        Also…no idea how/why I managed to write “hear” up there. Not enough coffee, maybe? *here

  8. Indeed. I know you’re not alone in this…

    Thanks for this piece. So much of it parallels my own family’s saga too.


  9. Hey Sweet Girl,

    Again…the stench of sin fills my senses. Thank you for sharing & being used for His purpose in my life, my heart. Prayers for you & your child as you walk this stretch of the journey. It will prove to be worth the pain & believe it or not, you may wish for moments of it back. Prayers for the whole family as you strive to nuture & love them with His Love & Grace. You Bless them I’m sure. You Bless me.

    Taking my time going thru the ‘holely phase’…He has much to tell me…thru your Heart-Words. This refining process is not to be rushed. The results are worth mastering…yes, wise words.

    {HUG} Love Ya, Susie :)

  10. Two thoughts come to mind for me on this . . .

    1. the stench of my own ingratitude, for His grace and complete acceptance for all of who I am, all the time.


    2. my ingratitude for people in my life, namely my family, and for all of who they are all of the time.

    He’s working something deep in me and using your words as affirmation.

    Hugs, friend.

  11. Dolly Lee

    You are not alone, Kris…Thanks for sharing so honestly…Whenever I am teaching my girl, God is always also teaching me of what I need to repent of…isn’t He an awesome Father?

  12. What a great article that rings truth in my family as well sometimes. This past Christmas we had an opportunity to help the homeless with food, clothing, toys, toiletries etc. I was hesitant at first about going since it was Christmas morning. I didn’t know how my children would react. I had imagined they would just want to stay home in the morning and play with their new toys before going to Grandma’s house. To my surprise they were excited to go! The experience turned out to be a blessing to the homeless but also to our family! As parents we are teachers, and as God humbles us and teaches us, we can pass that wisdom on to our children. Be encouraged you are not alone. God bless you and your family! Investing in your relationship with your child is free.

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