{via The Lulu Tree}
{via The Lulu Tree}

They are always smiling, and it doesn’t make sense. Their hips sway, their hands clap together, their eyes sparkle with a strong, resilient hope I rarely see. As the Lulu sisters gather in weekly worship, their hearts overflow.

It doesn’t seem like they should be the joyful ones, the grateful ones, not the mothers with their toes brushing the dirt, not the children who have never owned a new pair of pants. But here they are, incapable of holding in thankfulness and praise.

I always say joy and gratitude aren’t about circumstances. It’s the right thing to say because it’s true. But my heart betrays me when I let the daily disappointments and minor tragedies distract me from the abundance of goodness in which I dwell. My eyes spin wildly around as I list the shortcomings of the day, failures and missed opportunities glaring me in the face.

Instead of basking in the world’s extravagant beauty and my people who love me in their broken yet unconditional ways, my eyes have been trained to spot the lack, the gaps, the not-enough. It’s the result of unrealistic expectations and cultural entitlement, feeding myself lines about what I deserve. For a moment I believe the lie that happiness comes not from enjoyment of what I already have but the pursuit of what I don’t have yet.

I forget that gratitude is nothing more than a set of lenses through which to view the world, the constant recollection of the good that has been done for me by God and others. And that list is unending.


Gratitude sees the goodness in the world and in others for one simple reason: it’s looking for it. Gratitude sighs with contentment, looks around pleased and says easily, “I have more than enough.” Gratitude believes goodness wins and doesn’t get flustered or defeated by setbacks and sorrows; it feeds hope and knows tomorrow will be better.

The moment I take off the gratitude lenses and pick up the lenses of entitlement, my contentment evaporates, and my quest for satisfaction turns infinite. I grow restless and despairing.

Being part of this global Lulu family is teaching me that contentment and joy are possible with little and with much, and that gratitude is a choice the heart makes and the eyes follow.

Simply put, Gratitude remembers while entitlement forgets.

Today in the United States, we celebrate Thanksgiving, the holiday dedicated completely to the act of remembering, to retraining our hearts to let our eyes see the good things.

I am so thankful for my Lulu sisters who live the example of thanksgiving and remind me to spot the good and choose joy both in the midst of great abundance and in the face of any trial or need.

While this holiday comes only once a year, I pray our hearts take off the lenses of entitlement and relearn to wear the lenses of gratitude every day. And may we see all the goodness around us because we are looking for it.


Looking for something to take the edge off the consumer hangover you get the next week? Consider supporting The Lulu Tree for #GivingTuesday (December 1st) you can help raise awareness about The Lulu Tree’s work equipping and educating mothers and preventing future orphans in Uganda. Check out ways to get involved here.