Thursday Thankfulness Throwback

 

Once upon a time I had a different blog in which I’m sure I personally coined the phrase “Thursday Thankfulness” (or maybe not) where I wrote about all the things I was thankful for that week and then posted it every Thursday.

Since this is Thanksgiving month and Thanksgiving is on a Thursday, my less-than-stellar imagination did not have to break much of a sweat to come up with a post idea this week. I’m resurrecting Thursday Thankfulness just for this week before Thanksgiving!

Everyone who has spent any time around me knows that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It was my mom’s favorite holiday, too, and the memories of Thanksgiving week over the past several years will go down in the archives as some of my all-time favorite remembrances.

I have written about doing the week’s worth of grocery shopping with my mom starting at least 2 weeks before the holiday, and making at least 2 trips to Walmart over the course of those 2 weeks, and marking off the items on her list as she put them in the cart, and trying to organize the list so we didn’t have to go back down too many aisles more than once, and keeping the cart out of other people’s way as she read labels and pondered how many cans of green beans we needed that year, and maybe going back to the cart corral to grab another cart, and how the bread better not be squished because my mom turned into a different person if the bread was squished, and the tears always flow as I relive those treasured times.

And I have written about all the activities that go on during the week with my out-of-town sister and brother and their families who all come up and spend the better part of a week at The Farm, which is the loving name we’ve bestowed on my parent’s country home even though it’s not a real farm. There’s smoking the turkey, lots of kitchen activity with everyone picking a side dish and grabbing a partner and putting it together (including the guys and kids since my sister and I became the main 2 cooks a few years ago!), a bonfire every night, 4-wheeling through the open fields and winding around through the trees and pond, card games and jigsaw puzzles, skeet shooting, target shooting, the pool table, and more.

And I have written about how emotional this holiday has been for me every year since losing my mom in 2012. While the rest of the family was involved in all the various activities, Mom and I were usually at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee having discussion after discussion about topic after topic. Even after losing her and missing her terribly each Thanksgiving for the past 6 years, with all the happy memories surrounding the season, it is still my favorite holiday of the year.

So since I have written about it all many times before, I won’t talk about any of that this year.

*Ahem*

*Blank stare*

This year, I will simply praise God for His creation of family. In the first and second chapters of Genesis, He instituted the family unit and what an ingenious idea that was.

Between my parents, siblings, in-laws, children, niece and nephews, and the recent additions of our new grandchild and her sweet mama, we’ve had our ups and downs, agreements and disagreements, dysfunction and semi-normal-function, laughter and tears. At various times, we’ve all had sickness and health, poverty and wealth.

And we keep coming back, year after year, for more. Together.

Thank You, Amazing God, for creating FAMILY.

 

God has given us all hands ~ hands to serve. Let’s use them to serve Him well.

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The Beauty In This Day

The beauty of this day cannot be ignored.

The picture above is Doug is outside sawing up the lightening-destroyed tree for firewood. I am inside working at the computer watching the scene and watching the leaves float gently from the trees surrounding our home. The beauty of the falling leaves ebbs and flows with every gust of wind. I can hardly stand the way it all fills my senses.

I thank God today for the changing seasons. What a loving thing for Him to create as He was creating the universe and us and setting our world in motion. I can’t imagine it was an afterthought to Him. I believe He created the seasons very specifically knowing they would bring us pleasure.

If you can’t see the beauty of the changing seasons today because of heavy weights in your heart, I understand that, too. I spent a long time not able to comprehend the beauty around me because of heavy clouds that always seemed to be hanging overhead.

The words “God loves you” and “I’m praying for you” may seem trite and meaningless when burdens are too heavy to bear one more day, but that does not mean they are not true. He does love you and I would love to pray for you. Actually I am praying for many of you today.

Your clouds won’t last forever. He sees. He loves. He cares. He answers prayers.
It’s true.

 

God has given us all hands ~ hands to serve. Let’s use them to serve Him well.

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Don’t Be Afraid ~ Don’t Be Discouraged

 

Dear Discouraged One ~

“Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged…”

These words are woven all throughout the Old Testament in the midst of the battlefield. Fear and discouragement are apparently common when battles are being fought. God wanted to reassure His people over and over again that He was there in the trenches with them as they fought day after day after day.

I have had my share of both of these paralyzing strongholds. I lived many years in their grip. Fear and discouragement mess with your mind and can overtake your whole thought life if you don’t pull your hand away from them and reach for an even stronger one.

“…for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

I would love to tell you that I had an instantaneous paradigm shift one morning after years of living in fear and the depths of depression and discouragement, but the truth is that I walked a lot of difficult rocky roads before I started seeing the sun slowly start to rise on the horizon.

This time of year it is easy for me to liken my awakening ~ from the years of depressing slumps that had overtaken me ~ to the beauty of a God-kissed sunrise. Fall is the season where I am driving into work at the precise moment the sun begins to peek over the horizon. I walk out my door into the crisp Fall air and stare at a brilliant pink sky, drive east for a ways as the sky turns a beautiful orange, and then back north and then west for the remainder of my drive into work with the sunrise in its full magnificence in my rear-view mirror.

Walking out of the fog of paralyzing fear is like waking up out of the deep darkness of night into the beauty of sunrise. I have cried tears of thanksgiving on my way in to work recently as I have considered the depths that I have been pulled from.

I didn’t have the energy to pull myself up by the bootstraps. I prayed when I didn’t have any words to say except, “God, help.” I held the Bible against my chest when I didn’t even feel its warmth. I drank from the well of God’s Word and recited His promises over and over and over even though my thirst didn’t feel satisfied. I said the name of Jesus simply because I knew He was my only hope. I knew I had only one hope, only one constant to focus my mind on or I was going down for the count and might not make it up again.

I held tightly onto the Hand of God as He mercifully pulled me from the waters that were overtaking and drowning me.

It wasn’t a quick walk through the wilderness. I was camped out there for a good long while.

But beauty comes from ashes. New strength comes from overwhelming weakness. Faith I had never experienced before was birthed in me. Lessons of contentment were learned in the valley of leanness. Miracles are great and all, but coming to know just a little a portion of the depths of God’s love for me, ME, while in the midst of hard difficulties, is worth far more and that revelation has been pondered again and again with awe and a humbled spirit.

Hang on tight, discouraged friend.

God’s plans may not be what you thought you always wanted. But they are good.

 

God has given us all hands ~ hands to serve. Let’s use them to serve Him well.

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