Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you enjoy Thanksgiving with your family!

Do you have any favorite family traditions? On our first Thanksgiving, Ed and I took a blank notebook and started a "Thanksgiving Journal". The goal was to jot down things we were thankful for, not only at Thanksgiving but any time of year. Well, I just pulled it out, and by the number of pages that are filled, we aren't a very thankful people! At this rate, this one book should last us through 50 years of marriage! But it has been written in at least once a year and hopefully as our children grow older, they can add to it as well.

Here is one excerpt from our journal, with a little editing, written about a year and a half ago, when our children were newborn, 1 1/2 and just turned 3.

"I am a wealthy woman.

No. Not the kind of wealth found in Hollywood or Fortune 500. In fact, to be honest, my life rarely feels like a millionaires! I'd more aptly describe my life as a circus juggler - who is dropping his balls! Keeping up with three children, three and under, can make me feel as if I'll lose my sanity before forty! Cleaning house seems like a completely hopeless task and errand running is highly complicated! When nap time arrives, I'm just relieved to stop answering question, breaking up fights, and balancing children's needs - to wash the dishes without slopping water and use the bathroom in peace!

But in all of the wildness - I'll still say "I'm a wealthy woman!" I wouldn't trade places with anyone in the world! I get to cuddle up with a precious newborn...Snuggle with the toddlers while reading a book...Stay up late talking with my husband and best friend (who I still haven't run out of conversation even after five years!)...Take care of the wonderful home God has given us. My life is rich in those things that really matter - like Love, Joy, and Peace - the things only God can give."

What I found interesting, as I flip through the pages of our journal, is that we seemed to have written more often on the difficult days then the sunny happy ones! Why is it that hard times drive us to remember what we have been given from God?

This past week, I was at the lady's detention center Bible study. Going in, I was thinking of those dear ladies, most of them mothers, who were going to be separated from their families over the holidays. Yes, I know that it is through mistakes they have made or sins they've committed, but I still couldn't help but be discouraged for them. If I was in their shoes, could I find something for which to be thankful?

Our discussion that night centered on forgiveness and as we read verses about God's love and provision of salvation, I was encouraged. These are women who, like us, are claiming God's gift of His Son. Though they have little else that we may call important in life, they truly have the only thing necessary to be thankful!

I have been given so much, a loving husband, good health, dear children, abundant food, and comfortable home. But I am challenged to focus less on the material blessings this Thanksgiving, which can be here today and gone tomorrow, and instead, dwell on the riches of God through Christ Jesus, which never changes.

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