It’s Thanksgiving week, my friends! I hope you have your bird thawing in the refrigerator now, waiting to be dressed for the big day. I don’t get to cook our family’s bird this year because my mom insisted, and I thought I’d allow it this time. Seniority and all of that, you know? I really think it’s because I did such a good job on last year’s turkey that she feels like she needs to reclaim her holiday pride! wink, wink.
Our house is the place to be for holiday gatherings, so I’ll be working on getting everything straightened up, cleaned/freshened, and as welcoming as possible. We do Thanksgiving dinner potluck-style, so everyone that comes cooks at home and brings a little to contribute to the feast. My sister has the sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie, my mother-in-law brings a corn casserole, my parents are bringing the turkey and some rolls. I make a pan of cornbread dressing and some green beans.
This year I’m going to attempt a snickerdoodle bundt cake, like this one! I’ve never had much luck with bundt cake, but it’s been about twenty years since the last time I tried (I was a senior in high school, do the math…) and I think it’s time to try again. Surely I’ve learned a few things about baking since then!
This week, I’m on the comeback. There were a lot of things at play on the emotional front that made last week really hard. First, it was our last week with our Boston Terrier baby, Iggy. Iggy started having trouble with his back legs a few months ago, and the vet told us it was because the nerve bundle in his spine was starting to bunch up. He’d eventually lose all function starting from the bottom as it worked its way up his spine.
There’s nothing that can reverse this when it begins happening, and our boy had begun having trouble getting around. He really looked miserable a lot of the time, the progress was quickening so that we couldn’t bear to let him suffer. Friday evening, we said our goodbyes to Iggy. It was one of the hardest things we’ve ever done!
Second (and this really took me by surprise!), Seth has changed his mind about staying in public school. Again. And this time he seems to have settled. And I don’t like it, N O P E. Not one bit! This whole season has felt so disorienting, and I had my hopes up that we’d go back to our comfortable homeschool life one day soon.
The last time Seth said he wanted to come home was almost four weeks ago! I could put my foot down on the matter, but I’ve prayed about it and God is nudging me the other way. And I haven’t really taken it gracefully, if I’m honest with you… My heart’s desire hasn’t caught up with the situation. Rather, I’ve felt so much like a toddler whose mother is prying away a swiftly-melting candy bar from her hands! It’s been messy, and maybe those thoughts deserve a post all to themselves.
This leads me to the third point… if I’m not meant to be a homeschool mom in this season, then who am I meant to be? I realized that my assumed identity was a mask, and I agreed to take it off, but I’m not sure what the woman underneath the mask is meant to do now. God knows, and I’m still waiting for Him to show me!
Fourth… maybe I should get a job, but for Pete’s sake, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up and if you followed my equation three paragraphs ago then you should know I’m thirty seven years old, and… it’s… toolateandI’vewastedmylife… andnowI’mtotallynotgoodatanything… andwillneverbehireableagain! Obviously, this train of thought is not a healthy one, but that’s the direction it goes every time I start it up, so obviously it needs to stay out of service until I can get it operating the right way again.
Fifth, hormones. And I will not elaborate further.
Sometimes feelings and reality don’t measure up. That’s when we need to look to truth to be our compass and show us what we have to be grateful for! Thanks-giving is a discipline, and the giving part isn’t always easy. Sometimes it feels like we are scraping the bottom of an empty barrel trying to dredge up enough to give. That’s why I decided to turn to Scripture to look for reasons to be thankful, even though I don’t really feel like being thankful.
Here are eight reasons I found in God’s Word that tell us to be thankful, even when we don’t feel like it:
1 | I will be thankful because God has saved me from myself, and it’s the least I can do to repay Him.
I was hopelessly lost, and he rescued me from the consequences of my sin! Sometimes praise will feel like a sacrifice, because the genuine feeling of gratitude is just not there. Even so, I will speak out loud of the good things He has done for me:
But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the LORD. (Jonah 2:9)
2 | I will be thankful because God’s love is eternal, and He is always faithful.
No one else is inherently good throughout. No one else will love me without end! No one else is capable of matching the faithful heart of God:
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100:4-5)
3 | I will be thankful because of the things God has done for me in the past.
Even if my present circumstances feel disheartening, and even if they are not what I would choose, I can look back and remember the many times God has answered my prayers or showed up to do miraculous things in my life:
Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples. (1 Chronicles 15:8)
4| I will be thankful because God gives me strength and He protects me.
Even though I feel weak, He is there to hold me together. Even if my heart aches until it feels like it may burst, He causes it to keep beating in my chest. He will not let ultimate harm come to me, and even if my body fails, He will carry my spirit to live with Him forever:
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart exults,
And with my song I shall thank Him. (Psalm 28:7)
5| I will be thankful because God promises to restore dead things back to life.
Even the hopeless causes stand a chance in the presence of the Lord. When all is lost, He can reanimate dreams that have died:
Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places And her wilderness He will make like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness will be found in her, Thanksgiving and sound of a melody. (Isaiah 51:3)
6| I will be thankful because God has guaranteed my victory in Jesus.
No matter how defeated I feel, I know that the battle is already won. God has me on His team, and He will not let me fail:
…But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)
7| I will be thankful because God gives me new opportunities every day.
Even if I messed up royally yesterday, this morning’s dawn brought with it new chances to depend on God, to see His mercy, to praise His name, and to try again. He has given me this day as a gift, along with everything in it:
This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)
8| I will be thankful because it is God’s will for me.
God desires for me to experience joy, stay connected to Him, and be thankful, no matter what happens:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
I’m sure this will be a much better week! For one thing, Seth is out of school all week long. I love preparing Thanksgiving food, and I always look forward to being with my whole family at the same time. By this time next week, our Christmas decorations will be out! We are guaranteed to make new holiday memories this week. I already have so much to be thankful for, but these things are like the whipped cream on my pumpkin pie!