ThankFULL Once Again
I have had a hard time, lately, friend. I am in pain, again. I am flat on my couch, again. I am wrestling with all of the emotions and frustrations that go along with it, again. So, I made it a point this past week to try and purposely be thankFULL. It took a lot of stinkin’ effort, trust me. But, a blog that I wrote last year helped me. I took some time and revamped it. I hope you enjoy these Truths God gave me last year, because it even helped strengthen me again this year.
Ok, so can we be honest here? Thanksgiving is a time where most of us are “thankful” for turkey and dressing, football, a couple days off from work, and of course, for Black Friday. Am I right, or am I right? Trust me, I wish I were not right.
And hey, those are not bad things to be thankful for in and of themselves. Personally, the whole “Thanksgiving food” issue isn’t a big deal for yours truly because, as my husband some may say, I am a pretty “boring” eater. I prefer to call it “predictable and consistent”, but whatever. In case you haven’t been reading my blog for very long, I will enlighten you. I personally believe there is a special place in heaven for the brilliant person who invented divided paper plates. I am thankful for you and I am sure we will enjoy a nicely divided feast together in heaven!
Personally, I am not one to pile on a little bit o’ everything on my Thanksgiving plate. That, however, is how my dear husbands rolls. I mean it. I can hardly even handle sitting next to him. I love him, so I have to do. But, trust me, friend, it ain’t easy.
Let me preface by saying that my sweet Mom, Step-mom and all of my various family members are all very good cooks. But, can we get real for a minute about this whole deal? Let’s just all admit that Thanksgiving food looks fairly normal when each item is in its respective decorative dishes. But, once piled onto a plate all over each other, it all looks, well, weird. The colors and textures are all so different and yet mixed up and thrown together. Something just isn’t right about that.
And for Ryan, you literally can see no, and I mean NO, little Dixie paisley pattern creeping up from under his food once he has gone through the line. He has a little bit o’ everything on that plate, and yes, it is all touching each other…all of it! (Insert silent shudder from his lovely wife sitting next to him trying to avoid eye contact) He has turkey and gravy, dressing, green bean casserole (which I am proud to say I have now embraced but I honestly wouldn’t touch the stuff for the first 27 years of my life) sweet potatoes, some sort of rice mixture that is too non-descript to identify clearly, but nonetheless, he’s served himself a heap-full. Oh no, we aren’t done. Then, there’s regular mashed potatoes with gravy that yes, has oozed onto everything else Seriously!? I can hardly even type this out to you people and sliced ham and some sort of congealed orange-mold-delight-thing complete with chunks don’t even get me started, and of course to top it all off, he has the cranberries.
I’m sorry y’all…what is that about? I cannot handle the texture of the cranberries. I mean it. Are cranberries a solid or a liquid? Or just give you gas? What are they and why do we have to bust them out each Thanksgiving? Deep breaths. I am quite sure I am forgetting a few things, but honestly it is out of sheer survival that I don’t pay closer attention to his plate.
But, then there is my plate. Insert angelic praise here. It is simple. Understated in its simplicity, really. It has ham, of course, if we have it, which we usually do. I prefer that to turkey, but I do like both. I am happy to be a carnivore. And yes, I am a grown up now so I will eat the green bean casserole. Lastly, I have a very healthy helping or two ok, three of mashed potatoes and we’re out. That’s it. I’m happy and done. Yes, I can still appreciate the pleasant blue paisley print on the Dixie plate. And yes, I can still eat my fill. And yes, I made it through the line in record time. And no, I did not accidentally overlook the cranberries. And no, I am not a communist.
To each their own, friend, to each their own. 🙂
We are thankful for football. Again, not a bad thing. I love watching football. I really do. I know some of my girlfriends think I’m on the “dark side” and that I am not helping the “cause” of us women-folk, but I can’t help it. I love it! And I think Ryan likes that I love it. He’s so lucky.
Black Friday is something my sweet Ryan looks forward to. You see, his birthday is the first of November and so, usually, he gets a little birthday money each year. He looks forward to the ads and seeing if there is “that deal” that he wants at Home Depot that will make him one happy boy. He really is cute about it. I liken it to the grown up version of getting the Toys R Us catalog as a kid and circling the toys you wanted Santa to get you.
Me? I like sleep. I am sure once our kids are older and asking for expensive presents that I really do need the huge discount on in order to be able to afford, I will be up at 4am with the rest of my budget conscious friends. But for now, we can say “Oh look, isn’t this fifteen dollar thing fun that you got for Christmas!” I know…my days are numbered!
But, truly, this year has been a stinkin’ tough one. But, friend, I mean it with all my heart when I say I have seen God’s hand all over it. And as I have been lying around this week (hey, it’s what I do!) I have been thinking A LOT about where God has brought me over this last year. Last year at this time, my world wasn’t a whole lot different than it is right now. I was lying on this very same couch for most of the day, struggling with spinal fluid leak issues, unable to sit upright for long. I was also struggling with God as to why He was allowing this to happen again. Again, again, again.
This year, I am a little bit stronger that I was last year. In more ways than one, I am blessed to say. So, this year I have chosen to be thankFULL. I mean it. I have chosen (and yes, friend, it is a active and daily choice) to thank my great God for a whole lot of different things. And I’m bringing you in on this deal. Welcome, friend.
A few things I am thankFULL for: Blue Bell ice cream, and Moose Tracks ice cream – ok, let’s just say ice cream!, playing babies with my daughter, that my sons will still “cuggle” with me, that I get to be a patient of the best doctors in the world, my uh-mazing new bed, my lovely mini-van “Grace”, that my friends have miraculously stuck by me, Ryan’s amazing school, my parents and all their help, praise and worship music, chick flicks, His calling on my life, my extended family – they rock!, where we live, our amazing church, snarky friends, my fuzzy boots, the Truth of His Word. That last one is huge!
You may be wondering why I am doing this the week after thanksgiving? The tryptophan from the turkey has worn off. The Black Friday sales are over. And, sure enough your alarm clock went off this morning to begin another Monday. I guess, I just wonder, friend, how much time did you really spend being thankFULL? Really? Did you sit down and OUT LOUD thank your God for all He has done for you since last Thanksgiving. No, I’m not talking about the two minute prayer that was said while you were really thinking about cutting in line in front of Aunt Josie because she hogs the sweet potatoes. I mean it. Have you been thankFULL? Have I?
You want to know the great news? God doesn’t care about Pilgrims and Indians. I mean, He does care, but, not any more than He cares about shamrocks or Easter eggs or jingle bells or fireworks. This is all our deal, people. ThankFULLness is year round. Yes, this time of year is special because we are supposed to stop and think. We are supposed to stop and thank. But, if you didn’t, it’s all good. Do it today. And the next day. And the day after that. Make it a habit.
Take note of a few Truths with me…
Colossians 3:15 says “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
Please note that it doesn’t say… “since as member of one body you were called to peace. And somewhere in the last couple weeks of November, be thankful” See? It just says, BE THANKFUL! Are you? Am I? Let peace rule. Let it reign. And be thankFULL.
1 Thess. 5:18 says “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
When you have been as served, loved on, prayed for, encouraged, and humbled as much as I have over these last few years, you cannot help but want to thank people. I am sure I’ve gotten a little annoying about it. Shocker. But, I have had a few people say, “Seriously, stop thanking me!” Nope. Not going to happen! But, really, friend – how cool would it be if God felt that way? What if we thanked Him that much? Now, to be clear, I am positive, that for all He has done for us, there is no way we could thank Him enough, but oh, to have a heart to try!
Now, about this verse, I have heard people notice that it says to give thanks in all circumstances and not for all circumstances. I gotta be honest, this was comforting to me. Life is tough. Really bad stuff happens. Painful stuff. Unfair stuff. Heart-wrenching stuff. Stuff that I should NOT have to thank God for. And honestly, this “reasoning” I heard sort of gave me an “out” about it. I can be thankful in this trial, but I don’t have to be thankful for it. Whew. That is, until my super cool pastor’s sermon reminded me of a verse that I had chosen to forget.
Ephesians 5:20 “sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ah, man. That one does say to give thanks FOR everything. And it says to do it always. Darnit.
Friend, I am in NO way wanting to diminish any sort of pain you have had in your life. I cannot begin to imagine the pain and grief some of you have been through. Honestly, my heart breaks just imagining it and I have a very active imagination. But, at least for me, I have had to come to terms with my heart issues over this last year. No, I shouldn’t “have to” go through what I’m going through. No one should. But, I am. And I shouldn’t “have to” thank God for it. But, I want to. So I am going to try to. I figure that by doing this, I can only grow closer to Him. And then I can only be more like Him. Truly, it can’t hurt, right?
These last few years have been tough. I have had many heart-breaking moments that I do not ever want to re-live and that I wouldn’t wish on my very worst enemy. But God, right here and right now, I am typing and saying this to you OUT LOUD…I THANK YOU FOR EVERY ONE OF THEM!! Because I know you love me, and I know you are always good. I know you wouldn’t allow one single thing to come to my life that didn’t need to come to bring YOU more honor and glory. I know you are with me. I know you always will be.
Friend, if you can’t think of one blasted thing to thank Him for right now, I get that too. I have been there. I have sat at my very own pity party – party of one! I’ve sunk lower than low in my very own pit of despair as I sloshed around in my “woe-is-me” thoughts all the live long day. Trust me. Been there, done that…got multiple ugly, faded T-shirts to prove it. So, because I’ve been there like, a few days ago, I would like to offer this last bit of Truth for us to dwell on and repeat until we can be reminded of all that we do have to be thankFULL for…
Hebrews 12:28 says “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe”
His kingdom cannot be shaken. Wahooo! That is great news! If you are a Christian then you at least have that! Even if you feel like you have nothing else right now, you do have that!
And for the rest of you – it is not too late. Stop and be thankFULL. For something. For someone. Write a note. Send a text. Join our This One Thing Project! Do something. Just be thankFULL. It is not too late. I know that Thanksgiving was four days ago – but, who cares? I am aware that the Thanksgiving food may gone, but the thankFULLness should not be.
By the way – most of the food should be gone by now, friend. If you haven’t thrown it out, I’ll give you another day or so, tops. Especially the cranberries. Just let it go. For goodness sake, man – Let. It. Go. 🙂