Yesterday was a wondeful day of Thanksgiving in our family. There's nothing like the joy of taking a day to enjoy your blessings.
One of my blessings is to live near my mother, and two of my sisters and their family. And on top of that, we all get along fabulously! The littlest cousins range in age from 8 to 17 and they all find common ground to enjoy each other. I actually have a grown neice who is a cousin to my children, but who seems more like an aunt because of the age difference.
Yesterday we added my aunt, my son's girlfriend, and a co-work of my neice and her six-month-old son.
It was a glorious day!
Yet even in the midst of that day, I remembered another Thankgiving that wasn't so joyful. It was the first holiday after my niece Christa died in a car accident. Her absence at our table was painfully evident. We missed everything about her in greater measure that day. Time has softened the pain, but it is still there.
I remembered an article that Carole Lewis wrote for the "P31 Woman" magazine a few years ago. In it, she wrote about the months and years following the death of her daughter Shari. She also wrote about how thankfulness changed her life. Carole wrote:
"At the time of Shari’s death, I never dreamed that thankfulness might be one of the things God would use to heal the huge void left in my heart. I know that people grieve in different ways and that everyone is different, but I have come to believe that being thankful in the midst of a tragic circumstance is the key to moving toward healing."
Carole found healing as she took the time to write down specific things she was thankful for in the middle of the pain. She even said she believed God spared her from going through three of the typical stages of grief (denial, anger, and bargaining) because of her thankfulness.
The Bible reminds us one wonderful reason to be thankful - and is God doesn't change and His promised will come true:
Hebrews 12:28-29, "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire."
I'm not sure where you are today in this Thanksgiving weekend. You might find it very difficult to write down even one thing to be thankful for. But here's one thing I've learned about life - if you are still breathing, and those you love most are still breathing, there is still hope and something to be thankful for. No matter what the circumstances of your life are like.
Today, I pray God's blessing of peace and thankfulness rest upon you and your family. May God reveal your many blessings to you in great measure.
P.S. My gym is closed today so I went on Wednesday afternoon to weigh myself. The scale showed a loss of .5 pounds. So I'm claiming that this week! 161.5.