Thankful for it all

Have you ever felt so many things at once you don’t know how to feel?  That’s me tonight.  I am humbled beyond measure for my family who loves me.  I am forever grateful for friends who have become family to me.

Tonight, as family sat around the dinner table, I looked around and saw such beautiful people.  People that are in my life because my husband, 27 years ago, gave me the time when I asked.  Because of that moment, I sit with his family today, bloodline and in-law, and am in awe that I am here.

Not just in this moment with them, but in this place in life.  Loved.  Accepted.  Wanted – by people who have known me for decades and family who have only known me less than a year.

I miss my dad.  It’s the first Thanksgiving since he died, and I feel I am only beginning to come out of a daze that he is gone.  I will forever treasure my last conversation with him, when love finally overcame my stupid pride and I was able to tell him deep truth about us.  Maybe it was because he was physically unable to respond that made it easier to feel vulnerable and speak my mind.  Maybe it was because I knew we only had moments left together this side of heaven.  Either case, we made eye contact, real eye contact, for the first time ever.  I cried in front of him for the first time ever.  I touched his arm, with tubes coming out of many places in it, and was able to say goodbye.  I asked him to promise to do something in heaven for me – and he nodded his head yes.

I never got that opportunity with my mom.

As we watched our kids and cousins ice skate today, a little girl fell pretty hard on the ice.  Her mom quickly came to her rescue.  I said to my sister-in-law, Sometimes we all need our moms.  I felt the sting of loss prick my heart.  But as soon as I did, I felt the healing hand of God cover my heart with His palm until the pain subsided…again.

There is little I love more than sharing life with my family.  The holidays, the nothing days and every day in between.  I love hearing my kids laugh, watching my son and daughter walk arm in arm down the street, and enjoying warching my other son bust a move in the living room to Madden 2012’s music.

On the other hand, I can’t help but hear this giant clock ticking my head.  A countdown to when they will be grown and gone.  As much as I hate it, this clock taints even the best of moments.  Try as I might to ignore it and drown it out with today’s joys and blessings…the clock is there – counting down. Silly, I know, because we are not promised tomorrow – so why mourn something that hasn’t happened yet?  Ug.  I wish I had an answer.  Solution.  Resolution. Peace.

I have so many blessings for which to be thankful – and the whole picture tells the whole story.  I am thankful for wearing two running shoes that match.  Getting out of the boot and surgical shoe was such a relief!  But, had I not been in those awkward things would I still be thankful for matching shoes?

I am so thankful for my husband and children and extended family.  However, would I hold them so closely – never taking them for granted – if I had not ever known what it feels like to lose everyone in my life?

I am thankful for every sunrise, which holds a promise for a new day that God has granted, because I remember when I wished I would never wake up again.

I am thankful that I am going to bed miserably full from my family’s generous cooking, because I vividly remember what it felt like to be unsure of how I would find meals for the rest of my life.

I am thankful for friends who are not fair-weathered.  We are in this together for the long haul, because I definitely know what it feels like to be alone and am blessed God has joined our paths to journey life together.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for it all.  The good times and the bad, because it’s the low’s that make me that much more grateful for the high’s.  I am also thankful for the One who appoints all things.  God alone is sovereign, and He allows the difficult and blesses us with the easy.  With every step I traverse on this earth, I am acutely aware of how much I need Him.

Some may praise God in the good and curse Him in the bad, but I will worship Him in both.  Circumstances change, but God remains the same – faithful and on the throne.

I’m really glad a day is set aside to give thanks.  More than football, parades and feasts, it is a time for hearts to worship God, our Father.  I will worship with a full heart.  A grateful heart.  A thankful heart.  More than the bounty set at the table, I am thankful for the endless grace Christ bought for us with His own blood.

Whether I feel on top of the world or as if my heart if being torn in two, I can trust my Savior, rely on my God, and live the abundant life believers are called to.  This Thanksgiving will be a day of celebrating who God is and the eternal work Christ has done.  For that alone I will celebrate.  As for my family, friends, sunrises, improving health and endless blessings – my cup runneth over.

Philippians 4:12-13, I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

For some, this is the best Thanksgiving you’ve ever had (like my family who is celebrating their first Thanksgiving with twins!).  For others, this is the worst (like my friends who just buried their teenage son and will spend this day without him).

I pray that in all circumstances, the strength of Christ will fill you and bless you; His grace will cover you; His peace will be with you; and His love will pour over your soul and spill over onto others.

Happy Thanksgiving!

~ Kristi

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