Family Liturgies

Family Liturgy: Always Giving Thanks

10784105894By Tara Wiley

Scripture: Ephesians 5: 19-20
[S]peaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It seems inevitable: when my husband’s job takes him elsewhere, someone will get sick, and something will break. My son already had a cold. This would be the day something would break, and it wouldn’t be a small something.

Fridays come slowly after a long week of parenting, homeschooling, working, and housekeeping alone. The weekend is both welcome and hard. Thankfully, Fridays also include a Bible study for me and playtime with favorite friends for the kids. So, on this recent Friday, I eagerly loaded the kids into the car, looking forward to some adult conversation and re-centering. Eager – right up to the moment when the car refused to start.

The next twenty minutes were just as you might imagine. Rifling through manuals (what does one do when a hybrid car doesn’t start? No key, no simple jumper cable solution…). Yelling at the car, and then at the kids – quiet! I’m trying to concentrate! And finally, calling the absent husband for help.

We did eventually get the car started and on the road (to the repair shop, not Bible study). Furious and frustrated, the kids moved to silence by my stress, we worked our way downtown. In the quiet, I heard the Spirit whisper – Worship. Grudgingly, I turned on the local Christian radio station. And then, the next nudge: Give thanks in everything. This could be a holy moment, if I surrendered.

I’m thankful we were able to get the car started,” I announced, not feeling thankful at all. “I’m thankful that you all can hang out with friends while I go to the dealership.” Definite gratitude. “I’m thankful the car is still under warranty.” Peace-filled perspective.

In those moments, God turned my children and me towards Him. I could feel the tension lift. The kids began to sing along to the radio. My knuckles released their death grip on the steering wheel. The rest of the day would hold more stress-filled opportunities to practice gratitude, but it would be worth the discipline.

Spiritual Practice:

The next time you find yourself having one of “those” days with kids in tow, model and then participate in the instructions of Ephesians 5. Bookmark the passage now, so when the moment arrives, you can look it up together (isn’t it great that we can have Scripture with us everywhere we go now – thank you, smart phone!) and engage in some spontaneous worship and thanks-giving. This won’t come naturally. It requires a Spirit-induced inversion of our emotional response. The reward, His peace, is worth it.


Father, Your words are life to us. When stress mounts and tempts us to react, speak to our hearts. Remind us of Your way. Teach us to worship and be grateful in the everyday circumstances of life, so when the true crises arise, we are well versed in Your strategy for peace.

Tara Wiley is an air force wife, homeschooling mother of two, worship leader and violinist, whose passion is for God’s glory to be reflected in her daily life.


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