After a week full of Thanksgiving festivities, I am feeling quite bloated with great memories and good times. Nuked leftovers cannot compare. However, there is one moment that stands out as my all-time favorite.
I could tell you it was…
* Holding hands with my man while strolling through Rockefeller Center
* Playing games with the entire family clan
* The first snowflakes of the season dancing on our windshield
* Everyone gathering around to watch Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving
* Our trek to NYC and walking for hours upon hours despite foot surgery just 7 weeks ago
* Lots of laughs, smiles and hugs
* Enjoying my favorite pizza in the entire world – Lombardi’s!
* Going to church together
* Taking the traditional after-dinner walk with my kiddos and nephew
* Black Friday shopping with my sister-in-law who is one of my closest friends
* Cold turkey sandwich using only bread, turkey, mayo and pepper – don’t mess with a classic!
* Watching the kids ice skate
* Tucking in sleepy kids after a good day of playing
* Endless jokes!
* Going to a matinee with the whole crew – on a work/school day!
* Traveling with my family of 5 plus the dog and a hedgehog. Just being in the same place at the same time even if it’s stuck in a van from sun up to sundown.
* Watching how excited our dog gets to see that famous red chicken outline or those golden arches while traveling on the highway. She gets grilled nuggets or a hamburger patty and loves to help with the drive-up window ordering.
* Saying grace before the Thanksgiving feast with everyone holding hands
* Admiring beautiful blue rocks the kids found in a nearby creek
* Having friends come over for Thanksgiving dessert to catch up
* Showing some family folks Pinterest for the first time!
* Long talks with everyone
* Macy’s Parade
* Not setting an alarm clock for an entire week
As much as all of these (and more) meant to me, there is one moment that will stay with me forever. It was Thanksgiving morning and I had slept in a bit. Sounds around the house told me I was one of the last to wake up. I hustled through a shower and all that jazz – feeling like I needed to join everyone. After all, the parade had already begun!
I knew my brother-in-law was preparing the turkey, bed-headed kids were sprawled on the floor playing games and adults were bustling about getting everything ready for a great day.
Feeling hurried to join in and help, I abruptly stopped. One important step in my morning routine had been overlooked. I had not said Good Morning to God. Every morning I pray to God and tell Him I love Him.
I had packed my devotion, but honestly, with a house full of people and a calendar of fun to be had, it is difficult to squirrel away and have quiet time. Nonetheless, I stopped and prayed and put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-19).
The clock was ticking, and because I overslept I felt like I needed to get moving. But, I wanted to spend time with my Abba Father who gave me every reason to be thankful on Thanksgiving. Torn between God, family and what I felt was my contribution to help out around the house, I literally stood frozen in the middle of the bedroom and didn’t know which way to turn.
In a quick moment, I turned, left the room and headed for the stairs.
As I walked toward the stairs, I felt a strong pull on my heart. It was odd. I took more steps toward the stairs, but with every one, I felt like I was pushing into a force that was stronger than me. A hesitancy. Lagging. Drawing. I couldn’t figure it out. I was torn between being a wife, mother, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, aunt…and child of the King. I thought perhaps it was the guilt I felt for not spending longer with my God who deserves more.
Just as I stepped onto the top step, the morning sun brightly shining into my eyes, God spoke ever-so clearly.
He said, I love you, too.
My breath caught as I gripped the handrail. In four words, He changed me. In four words, He told me He understood.
Yes, God always deserves our best, our most. We often fail to give that to Him. I am guilty of putting others before Him, people-pleaser that I am. Ug. I get caught up in projects and deadlines and busyness. Double ug. But, this morning, it was my heart – not my head that was torn.
I wasn’t avoiding Him, hiding from Him, angry at Him or anything else that would keep me from staying with Him longer. I just didn’t know how to be all to all and caved in thinking pleasing people was momentarily more pressing.
You know what God did? He cut me some slack. Gave me grace. Met me where I was. He simply loved me.
An action we could apply to all of our relationships.
He read my mind and heard my heart. He, God of the universe, time and space, turned His face toward me and spoke to me. That was the draw. His presence was almost tangible. That is what I sensed. It was as though He stood on the step in front of me, gently placed His hand on my anxious heart, and made me stop to hear Him. All that was missing was eye contact, and that I felt through the blazing sun shooting through the window.
It was a miraculous moment. A private moment between the Almighty God and me. I was undeserving. Lavished on. Humbled. Loved.
I love you, too played over and over in my heart for the rest of the day. He knew I felt straddled between two worlds and instead of judging me – He joined me on the journey.
I will never forget the magnetism that drew me to Him on that stair. The electricity of His presence. How incredibly and deeply loved I felt.
This was my favorite moment of the whole week – and it will be one I carry with me for the rest of my life.