"When I pout instead of being joyful, grumble instead of praying, and complain instead of giving thanks, I am in effect telling God that he is mishandling my life and I don't like it. At that point, I have ceased to put my faith in my sovereign Lord and have chosen to put my faith in my circumstances. In other words, I am telling God and myself, that if my circumstances change, then and only then can I be happy. Until then, I have nothing to be thankful for. And that, according to Paul, is when I step out of God's will." (Seasons of a Mother's Heart, by Sally Clarkson)
"A thankful attitude opens windows of heaven. . . " "Thankfulness is not some sort of magic formula; it is the language of Love, which enables you to communicate intimately with Me. A thankful mind-set does not entail a denial of reality with its plethora of problems. Instead it rejoices in Me, your Savior, in the midst of trials and tribulations. . . " "Thankfulness takes the sting out of adversity. That is why I have instructed you to give thanks for everything. There is an element of mystery in this transaction. You give Me thanks (regardless of your feelings) and I give you Joy (regardless of your circumstances). . . " "Thankfulness opens your heart to My Presence and your mind to My Thoughts. . . . " "This is the day that I have made. As you rejoice in this day of life, it will yield up to you precious gifts and beneficial training. Walk with Me along the high road of thanksgiving, and you will find all the delights I have made ready for you. To protect your thanksgiving, you must remember that you reside in a fallen world, where blessings and sorrows intermingle freely. A constant focus on adversity defeats many Christians. They walk through a day that is brimming with beauty and brightness, seeing only the grayness of their thoughts. Neglecting the practice of giving thanks has darkened their minds. How precious are My children who remember to thank Me at all times. They can walk through the darkest days with Joy in their hearts because they know that the Light of My Presence is still shining on them. . . " "Every time you thank Me, you acknowledge that I am your Lord and Provider. This is the proper stance for a child of God: receiving with thanksgiving. Bring Me the sacrifice of gratitude, and watch to see how much I bless you."
I love the way Sally Clarkson puts it in Seasons of a Mother's Heart, "If you really desire to reach your children's hearts for Christ, you cannot do so until you build a deep and trusting relationship with each child. They must feel that they can find no better confidant, no more loyal friends, no greater encourager, no one who better understands their thoughts and dreams, fears and doubts, joys and hurts. And even though they understand that you want to help them grow to maturity in Christ, they must also sense that you accept them just as they are, and love them no matter what they do." (p. 106)