The Praise Jar

This past year, I’ve become an avid “pinner” on Pinterest.  I love to search and pin anything from gift ideas to recipes, most of which I’m not nearly creative enough to execute.  But a girl can dream right?  One of my latest discoveries we’ve instilled is “The De Leon Family Praise Jar.”  I took a mason jar and with colorful markers inscribed two Bible verses on the sides, 1 Chronicles 16:8, “Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness.  Let the whole world know what He has done,” and Psalm 9:1, “I will praise you, Lord with all my heart, I will tell of all the marvelous things You have done.”  Throughout the year, anytime we receive a blessing or something good happens in our life, no matter how big or small, we will write it on a post-it note and put it in the jar.  At the end of the year, we will read through all the notes and reflect on how God has blessed us.

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We want to teach our kids a valuable lesson that hopefully will become embedded in their lives.  Everything that we have and every good thing that happens, is because of God.  He shows His love for us by all the blessings that surround us.  That we need to be grateful in all things, no matter how small.  If we can not be grateful for the small things, we will miss out on the joy from the big things.  This lesson will even help us to be grateful in the trials.

James 1:2-4 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete.”  We’ve always been taught to praise God in all things.  When we lost our daughter Bella, I found it very difficult to find a way to praise.  Our Pastor at the time told us, “You don’t walk around saying, ‘Praise God our daughter died,’ you praise God by getting up each day and living your life, by going to church.  That’s how you praise God.”  When we’re walking through the darkness, it’s not only hard to see God, but it’s almost impossible to be grateful and praise Him.  When you get through the darkness, you can look back and be grateful for the blessings God gave you.  I can look back and praise Him for the family who flew thousands of miles to be with us, for the family who cleaned my house when I had no energy, for the people who brought us meals and groceries, for those who helped us financially, for those who prayed for us, but more importantly,  for God’s grace and strength, and for the promise he fulfilled of never leaving or forsaking me.

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