Reasons I Am Thank-fullNov 23, 2022
For the past couple of years, I have revisited a simple post, updating it to be relevant for the time. So much changes each year and this year is no different, even more so than any other year in our life. But regardless of the external circumstances of the moment, when I take the moment to reflect
"I am stuffed"
Thanksgiving has an array of meanings and origins depending on the culture, traditions, and beliefs that one holds. However, the common denominator for millions is gathering together for fellowship over a meal, laughter, and love. It is a time that unites families afar and where traditions are continued or started anew. The Thanksgiving holiday is a time of which an outpouring of love is extended to the poor. Meals are prepared, served, and delivered by families and organizations to those in need. And Thanksgiving is also a time that we hit the pause button and reflect, being reminded of all that we should be thankful for.
Here are just five of the reasons I am thankful:
I am thankful for my family.
Everyday, I take the moment to thank God for my family. He has blessed me with a wife and four beautiful children. I feel like the richest person in the world. Or, in the spirit of this post, the fullest person in the world. I am so grateful for my family. Often times, I find myself watching my wife or one of my kids, and my heart overflows with thankfulness. My wife and I have adopted a mindset, a commitment of fighting FOR our family and not against.
A friend of mine, who I just had the blessing to spend a little time with over this past weekend, is a brilliant man in business, inspiration in life, and an incredibly devoted husband and father who I have great admiration for. Each day, he has a morning mantra, "Love my wife, love my kids." It is a simple phrase with incredibly deep meaning and significance. He is leaving a legacy of significance as he lives out this mantra every single day.
I am thankful for such a loving and fun family.
I am thankful for existing and new relationships.
I have so many friends in many states and countries. Some go all the way back to preschool and others are just beginning. I am thankful for each one. I am thankful that we are not called to do this life alone but in community. Some of these relationships are unexpected and even unlikely and that makes me even all the more grateful.
As I reflect over all the places we have lived, worked, joined community, served, my mind and heart are so full of all the wonderful people we can call friends. I am so blessed with amazing people in my life. The people whom you can be real, authentic, and intentional with. Living more intentional is something that we strive to be intentional (see what I did there?🙂 ) with.
Life is too short. It is but a vapor, a blade of grass here today and gone tomorrow. Over this past weekend, my family and I also spent some time with another dear friend and her family. Someone whom I hadn't seen in over a year but are able to pick up again like we were working together each day. I have been trying to make it a point, especially to those like them who mean so much, to be intentional. I would rather err on the side of over communicating than leaving things unsaid or assumed.
Living intentionally and authentically is living. Everything else is a waste, a fraud, and misses the deep joys of friendships and the possibility of capturing divine appointments with people, whether acquaintances or strangers. And you never know, as the writer of Hebrews encourages us, you just might be unaware, entertaining angels.
I am thankful for the journey we are on.
My wife and I have gone through many changes and challenges in the past 17 years of being together. We have stood atop the mountain tops but have also been in the deep valleys. We have relished deep joys but have also experienced immense pain together. We have hurt each other deeply, and while imperfectly, we love each other more deeply each year. She is an incredible grace gift in my life.
Often times, my wife and I describe our life with part of the chorus to the song Come Away. "It's gonna be wild, it's gonna be great, It's gonna be full of Me (God)."
For those who know us, know this to be very true. Our story and journey is unconventional in many ways, all with His imprint. We have so many ".....but God...." moments and we love it. It isn't always easy but it gives us such great opportunities to share miracle moments that would take more faith to believe it wasn't from God than to recognize that fact that it must be from God.
I am thankful for the trials and the hope that always follows
The journey has been faced with many trials. Some of these trials have been small in nature and some have been significant giants that have brought me to my knees pleading with God. To be transparent, we are in the middle of a significant trial right now. It is said we are either going into a storm, in the middle of a storm, or coming out of a storm. It is inevitable. But here we stand, stronger as a result. Every trial has been conquered and gives me confidence for the current. Trials are inevitable. Every single person faces trials and suffering in life.
It is as if they are hardwired into the journey. They have taught us two important things.
1.) How resilient and capable we can be because of God but at the same time.....
2.) How utterly dependent we really on God.
Our trials have strengthened our character and have deepened our faith and trust in God. We can look back on our trials, and can clearly see the hand of God who has delivered us in His covenant faithfulness every single time. Navy Seal, Jocko Willink, member of Seal Team 3, says that when we face trials of any kind, "Good." They are opportunities to learn, grow. He says if you can say the word, 'Good", that means you are still ALIVE. That you are still breathing and you still have fight in you. And James 1 tells us that trials of various kinds produce steadfastness. It strengthens your character.
Ultimately, I am thankful for the hope of Christ and that my citizenship is in heaven. I am thankful for the countless pillar moments of where God has not only showed up in our life but has shown off. These are bedrock moments, pillars of remembrance, in our past that gives us incredible hope for today and for tomorrow. God is incredibly faithful and His steadfast love endures forever.
As my family and I navigate this season, we look in anticipation, in hope, for the next season that is upon us. We are His and there is no place we would rather be than His. He orchestrates and aligns the details of our lives. When unexpected turns occur, harm from others impact us, there is hope as nothing surprises our God and our God is for us and not against us. My family seeks the heart of God in everything we do and we see His grace upon grace.
I won't go into much detail as I committed to myself and to God that I would continue to walk through this trial maintaining my integrity. For months, I maintained the stance that I do not need to defend my cause. I have great hope from the pillars of remembrance of previous seasons in life and while this one is completely unique in every way, it has all been God ordained. We see Him moving and directing our steps, including what appears on the surface to be negative. What the enemy intends for harm, the Lord uses for good. We see early signs of God aligning, actually re-aligning, us with very special people and their families.
We are hopeful for what is ahead.
I am thankful for the Lord who is the origin of Thanksgiving
I join King David when he sang in Psalm 7:17, “I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and i will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.”
I join the Psalmist in Psalm 100:4, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name.”
I join James in James 1:17, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from
the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Your deep seeded beliefs may not be where mine are. That is ok. As stated above, we are all united with a common denominator of being thankful for so many blessings. I would be willing to bet that no matter what your situation currently is, you too can find at least five things to be thankful for. Would love to hear them in the comments.
Happy thanksgiving to you. I truly am Thank-full.... No, I am stuffed.
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