My heart and belly are full today.
I didn’t know that it was possible to be so happy. It’s not just the amazing bursts of joy that make me slide through the kitchen singing bouncy songs because I figured out a story timeline, or the emotional high from an especially lively Skype chat and a cup of hot tea or chocolate to top it off, but a lasting, resting, blessed-beyond-measure sort of happy that carries me through each and every day despite the lows and enhancing the highs.
I read a quote recently that really impressed me. “Careful (or anxious) for nothing, prayerful for everything, thankful for anything.” -D.L Moody
I want to embroider that on something, or write it out prettily and frame it. (If only I had those skills.) I love that, because it perfectly encapsulates how I feel as the holidays approach and this year draws to a close.
Out of all the holidays we observe as a nation, Thanksgiving has to be the best. Even Christmas can be a mass of confusion and depression for those without a real understanding of Christ’s life and history or love to their fellow man, but it’s hard to change the meaning of Thanks-giving.
I love when this time of year comes around and everyone is posting about family, food, and thankful hearts. I’m glad for a special season when gratitude is on just about everyone’s minds, and I pray that it becomes more popular to show thanks throughout the rest of the year as well.
Specifically this year, I’m thankful for so much that it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly to elaborate on. They range from the painfully obvious to the petty, but brilliant.
I’m profoundly thankful for my dad and his ministry. He’s been abandoned, slandered, cursed at, forgotten, and ill treated by many who once called him friend, and he’s unflinchingly stayed true to preach the whole truth of God not only every morning and evening to our tiny, but faithful congregation, but through the example in his life. Some take his uncompromising position on doctrine to be harsh, but I can say from firsthand experience that nothing brings more joy and thankfulness than conforming your life to God’s will. Despite his sometimes intimidating exterior, my dad is the first person to jump at the chance to lovingly council a couple in a broken marriage, drive hours away to bail someone out of a sticky situation, or endlessly search thrift stores and garage sales because he knows someone who would like a pair of nice cleats, or a homeless man who needs a tent.
He really is the godliest, most giving man I know, and isn’t that what we should expect from our pastors and spiritual leaders?
I am also thankful for my brothers and their work. Providentially, as our church went through a horrible division, my Dad’s knee makes simply walking from one room to the next difficult and painful, my brothers were willing to step up and help with finances. We’ve never been a family with an abundance of money, but we’ve had to penny pinch even more of late, and none of them begrudge a dime when asked for help. Even if I tease them for some extra cash, a lot of times they’ll fork it over without hesitation.
I’m so, so, ridiculously thankful for my Naval officer. The way God brought us together (through his sister and momma, mostly) was such fantastic timing, and although I’ve been a generally happy person before, his gentle love and attention has made my cup overfloweth, and constantly makes me question how I ever imagined I could be considering matrimony for anything other than the deepest love. I’m thankful for living in an age of such technology that allows us to communicate, keep to devotions and prayer together, and feel close to one another, even being thousands of miles apart on a regular basis. My heart is moved by the couples that had to rely solely on letters to keep in touch during times of war and deployments, or even those in impoverished countries that still do the same. I’m thankful that no goodbye is forever, and no matter when in this life we see each other again, we’ll have an eternity.
I’m thankful for memories that I can replay in my head and draw contentment from when I start to feel impatient to begin our lives together, and the trove of proof I have that we did live out those memories in the event of one of us getting amnesia and needing to be re-persuaded back into love. I’m thankful that I have the most dear and loyal friends to keep me happily employed and give me good reason to wait, and will make saying goodbye all the harder. “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” -Winnie-the-Pooh
I’m thankful for how quickly and completely my friends adopt me as family. For KitKat and Mosie especially this year, who stayed and stuck by me when so others walked out. I’m thankful that these careful introverts have let me into their hearts and lives, and I’m not able to fully express how much they and their families mean to me.
I’m still in awe, and extremely thankful for the three trips to Great Britain I’ve had the opportunity to take. A decade ago going to Europe was just a lofty fantasy that I never really thought could come true. Yet with hard work, and the help of my travelling family, I’ve had three trips there, including a transatlantic cruise that was a dream come true of its own.
I’m thankful for little hands that slip into mine during family worship, and the constant reminder that what I do is being observed and looked up to. I’m thankful for the noisy mornings of laughter and chaos. Thankful for the richness of this country that means a household of thirteen can have a plentiful Thanksgiving feast and not be afraid of what we’ll have to eat tomorrow, or the next day.
I’m thankful for good employers at Panera, and employers who are friends and fellow believers who train their boys up right and make “working” for them such a joy. I’m so thankful that I can be paid to do something that doesn’t feel like work.
Above all, I’m thankful for the abundance of love poured out through our Saviour’s blood and sacrifice on the cross. I’m thankful that the people closest to me are going to be spending an eternity with me in heaven someday, and that’s why I don’t have to be afraid to say goodbye for a little while.
I’m so thankful for all this, and many more things besides that sometimes I sit down all bundled up in my favourite sweaters and blankets and can’t do anything but cry because I’m too happy. But crying for the right reasons can be a pretty good outlet, and I’m thankful for such an incredible feeling that moves me to tears.
I pray your Thanksgiving is also full of love and plenty. I pray you remember those who are not home, enjoying a bountiful feast, be it for the protection of our nation’s people (military, police, medics…etc.) or because they have no house or family to go home to. May their sacrifices and humility move us to better service this season, and the rest of the year besides.
God bless and keep you!