Skipping Thanksgiving?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been very tempted to just skip right over Thanksgiving this year. In a normal year, I would wait at least until the night of Thanksgiving before busting out the Christmas decorations and music. But this year, we’ve been watching Christmas movies and listening to Christmas music all month. Last weekend, we put up the tree and broke out the decorations. I’ve even started wrapping gifts and putting them under the tree.

With the challenging year we’ve all had, it’s easy to gloss over the idea of being thankful and skip right to the festivities of Christmas. After all, what is there to be thankful about in 2020? But as I was contemplating this idea this morning, I realized that I can’t just skip Thanksgiving. Yes, it’s been a difficult year. But even in the midst of difficulty, there is still so much to be thankful for.

I am thankful that I’ve continued to be employed during a year when so many lost jobs. I’m thankful that this same job has allowed me to work remotely so I can be home while my kids are distance learning. I am thankful that distance learning has been a blessing for my family. Not only has it allowed my kids to grow closer to one another, the format has been really productive to my son’s education. I am thankful that even in my most lonely moments, God has been right there with me. I’m thankful that Zoom has allowed me to stay connected to people through my small group. I’m thankful that YouTube has allowed me to continue to worship with my local church. And the list could go on.

So even though it looks like Christmas morning in my house and we will probably spend all day watching Christmas movies, I am going to make a pointed effort, for myself and my kids, to express gratitude to God and those around me.

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.”

Psalm 107:1 ESV

Happy Thanksgiving!


Eucharisteo is a Greek word, meaning to be grateful, feel thankful; give thanks. I keep it on a post-it on my monitor, as a reminder to always be thankful (because it’s not always easy). But today is my birthday and I can’t think of a better word to describe how I feel besides grateful.

As you know, the past few years have been the most challenging of my life. There were times when I thought pain would define my life forever. But today, I can say that, even though things aren’t always easy and I wish some things were different, I am more whole than broken. And that’s definitely something to be grateful for.

I’m also so thankful for all the love I have in my life. I have a beautiful family and amazing friends who have loved and supported me through the worst. And continue to do so to this day. I have been by myself most of the day (my kids will join me later). But not for one moment have I felt alone this birthday.

So today, on my birthday, I want to simply say, “Thank you!”

“Give thanks [eucharisteo] in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

A (almost) Mother’s Day Tribute

I know Mother’s Day is usually set aside to honor the mothers in our lives. And I have several amazing moms I could laud, including my own. But this year I’d like to honor the two little people that call me mommy.

I have the special privilege of walking this parenting road with two incredible kids–Journey and Faith. In this new season of parenting, God has used them to make 2 Corinthians 12:9 a reality for me: “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness…'” (NKJV). Through my kids, God has provided me with a strength that I wouldn’t have had on my own. They have comforted me, encouraged me, and waged spiritual warfare for me. They have loved me when I’ve felt unloved and unlovable–even when I’ve acted that way.

There was one moment, a few months ago, that I will never forget. It had been a difficult day–I had failed more times as a mom than I care to remember. In exhaustion and exasperation, I sent the kids to bed. I began crying out to God, telling Him I didn’t think I was going to make it as a single parent. I was convinced that I was messing up the kids somehow. The kids overheard me and came down to check on me. Immediately they began to encourage me. Journey stood behind me, and began commanding the lies of satan to be silenced, in the name of Jesus.

Just a few minutes before I had lost my temper and raised my voice. But here they were showing love to me as if I had just given them the greatest gift in the world. I was so humbled in that moment–by their love and God’s grace to me. It was as if He was saying to me, “I got this! You and the kids will be okay!” I was reminded of the promise in Isaiah 54:13, “All your children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.” God was instructing my kids on how to love me and fight for me, because I couldn’t do it for myself.

Before I became a mom, I remember a friend telling me that having kids would teach me so much. Being young and stupid, at the time, I thought I already knew everything I needed to know and didn’t believe parenting would be that impactful. I’ve since learned the truth. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is what true unconditional love looks like. Not my love toward them, but theirs toward me.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward” Psalm 127:3 (ESV)

I have been blessed with two amazing children. They’re not perfect and they get on my nerves sometimes. But at the end of the day, I can agree with Psalm 127:3, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (ESV). They truly are my undeserved reward and my Incredible Faith Journey!

Happy Thanksgiving

Have you noticed how difficult it is to remain thankful when things aren’t quite going according to plan? Or is that just me?! I often find myself telling my daughter to find something to be thankful for no matter what, after all, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT says, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
But when the rubber meets the road, I’m not always very good at following my own advice. So what better time than Thanksgiving to take a moment to be thankful? So here are some of the things for which I’m grateful:
  • God’s presence
  • Joy
  • The refining process (not always fun, but definitely worth it in the end)
  • God’s protection of my kids’ hearts
  • His protection of my heart
  • God’s love shown to me through those He’s sent to support and encourage me
  • Peace
  • Strength
  • Comfort
  • God’s direction
I’m sure if I sat here for a while longer, I could continue to find things for which to be thankful. But just taking these few moments to be grateful has refocused my heart and helped me to be ready to enjoy a festive Thanksgiving with my wonderful family.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Share Each Other’s Burdens…

Reaching out for help is not easy for me. It’s not that I want to appear stronger than I am. I’m more concerned about inconveniencing anyone else with my problems. But sometimes the burden gets to be too much for me to bear on my own. In those moments, I’m thankful for the handful of family and friends on which I can lean.

Earlier this week was one of those moments. When I reached out for help through prayer and encouragement, the enemy of my soul tried to bring condemnation. His accusations were directed at my faith. He tried to tell me that I was somehow weak and not faith-filled enough to combat my emotional trial on my own. And I almost fell for it. I almost started to doubt my spiritual fortitude.

But then God, in His gracious love for me, reminded me of Israel’s battle against the Amalekites. “As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. Moses’ arm soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset” (Exodus 17:11-12 NLT). The victory was dependent upon Moses being able to keep his arms lifted. But he couldn’t do it on his own. He needed help.

Galatians 6:2 says, “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ” (NLT). I am quick to offer support to someone who is walking through difficulty. But I’m more hesitant to receive support from others. However, there is no shame in needing help. As the challenges of my current circumstances begin to weigh on me, it’s okay for me to reach out for support. God has blessed me with an amazing support network. And I would be foolish not to use them to keep my hands steady.

The Struggle for Joy

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23 ESV).

I’ve discovered the secret of living a life full of joy. Wanna know what it is? Thankfulness. Finding something for which to be thankful will always point me back to God and restore my joy. But here’s the problem: Most of the time I don’t want to be thankful. I want to complain and moan and cry and whine. Being thankful is just too much work. It’s just easier to complain, and frankly, sometimes it feels better–at least for a moment.

This weekend, my kids and I took a quick road trip to Legoland. What should’ve been a two-hour drive, stretched to nearly three hours. My kids, who are usually pretty good with long car drives, were becoming impatient. The traffic was cutting into their play time. But being the good, hypocritical mom that I am, I encouraged them to start looking for things about which they could be thankful. I even quoted scripture to them: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV).

Then Monday rolled around and all I could see was what was going wrong in my life. I complained and whined and got a sinus headache from all the crying. Then Tuesday came and more of the same. What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I shake this funk I had stumbled into? But this morning, as I took a step back, I realized that in all my complaining, not once had I really taken the time to offer worship or give thanks. I had spent the better part of two days feeling sorry for myself and telling God how He was failing me. No wonder I was in a funk.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s essential for me to be honest with God–to tell Him truthfully when I’m struggling. We all need those unfiltered moments. But even in those times of “realness” with Him, something productive and life-giving has to come out of it. The only way I know how to do that is to take the focus off myself and my problems and look to Him.

So that’s what I’m doing. It’s not easy. It requires me to be intentional about what I’m thinking and talking about. But I’m choosing thankfulness and joy today.

What about you? How do you pull yourself out of a joyless funk?

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