Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Being Thankful

It’s here again! Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away, so now I need to get busy preparing for it. We have almost 50 people at our house each year for Thanksgiving (actually the day after). I kept telling myself that it was November, and reminding myself that Thanksgiving was coming, but I guess it never really sunk in. Fortunately, I began receiving phone calls and texts from my (grown) daughters about preparations for the meal; otherwise, I would have procrastinated to the last minute (which is a bit redundant).

When I sat down to prepare my to-do list, I began thinking of Thanksgiving—it’s meaning, family time, past memories, and of course, a post for my blog. And instead of finishing my grocery list, I began writing (I would rather write than shop).


Since the beginning of November, I have seen people all across social media making lists of what they are thankful for. Most are doing one a day, so in 30 days they will have listed 30 blessings they personally recognize. This is a great idea, and we should all be numbering our blessings continually. However, yesterday at church, the preacher (who happens to be my nephew) [wow! That makes me sound too old or him sound too young…] Anyway…back to the point… he brought up the idea that Thanksgiving wasn’t about the things that we should be thankful for, but Who we should be thankful for. He brought up the idea that Thanksgiving should be less about the things we have and more about the Provider of these things.

The Bible tells us that all things were made by God, and that every perfect gift comes from the Father of lights. If you have health, wealth, and affluence, you should be thankful for God. If you’re sick, poor, or friendless, you should be thankful for God. No matter what state our finances, our family, or our influence is, we should be thankful for God.

It’s easy to be satisfied and happy when all is going well, rather than when we are facing trials and tribulations. However, there are many examples of people throughout history who have had the integrity to stand when all is lost, and probably the most familiar example in the Bible is Job.

Job lived the life of health, wealth, and prosperity. He had it all according to everyone’s standard. He was a successful farmer, a great father, a loving husband, and a faithful friend. He also had a testimony of one that worshiped God and avoided evil.

But one tragic day he lost everything. His animals were all stolen, his children were all killed, and he even lost his health to the point that his wife begged him to “curse God and die”. Even his friends were condescending and critical, falsely judging Job because they perceived his devastation was due to some deep, dark sin.

But Job did not waver in his faithfulness to God. He didn’t base his thankfulness upon his possessions, his family’s health, nor his well-being. In the first chapter of the book of Job, he clearly shows what he’s made of: “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped, and said, ‘Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’” He had gut-wrenching sorrow from his losses, but through it all he never blamed God nor accused God of being unfair. He continued to praise God for Who He is.

No matter what we as Christians go through, our first reaction to all situations should be “blessed be the name of the Lord”.

Give Thanks

Give thanks for His Power— God has the power to give eternal life. “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him”. (John 17:2)
Give thanks for His Person— The Father creates (Isaiah 44:24), the Son redeems (Gal. 3:13), and the Holy Spirit sanctifies (Rom. 15:16).  “Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord”.

Give thanks for His Provision— "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” (Matt. 6:25-26)
So this Thanksgiving, amid the turkey and the pumpkin pie, I encourage you to count your blessings, but more importantly, meditate on the greatness and holiness of God.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Being A Sister

I find it therapeutic to write anything and everything that comes into my head. If it interests me, I will save it and at times go back through my random notes and reread them. I always mark my original works, because often when I reread what I’ve written, it all seems new to me again.

Recently I was going through a list labeled, “Things I know Something About”—very original, I know. The list included things like being a mom, being a wife, being a daughter, being a Christian, but one label was glaringly missing—being a sister. Was it because I didn’t remember that I was a sister, (which could happen) or has that been a relationship that had not been cultivated in too many years? This needed some pondering.

I am a sister in more than one way. I am a Christian sister to all who share my faith. I also have two sisters from my husband’s side of the family. We are sisters by law. And for a time, a dear cousin lived with my family through some rough teenage years and she became my sister by choice. But there is one sister that I didn’t choose, and she isn’t a part of a family of religious friends, nor did she come with a package in a legal covenant.

This sister is the sister that God chose for me. She is the one that was there before I was a glimmer in my momma’s eye. My first friend, my first playmate, and probably my first antagonist (although I, being the youngest, was most likely the antagonizer). Being the only two sisters, we shared many things including a bed, a room, and a brother.

Growing up, we were very different in our personalities and appearance. She was the pretty little blond girl with blue eyes, and I had brown hair and green eyes. She was more serious, I was a goof off. She was older, I was younger (still am and always will be—there I go antagonizing again!). But we had a lot of similarities, too. We both enjoyed spending vacations with our grandparents; we both know how important family is; and we both love sweets! J However, as time would dictate, we drifted apart over the years; busy with our own families, being responsible to our own duties as wife and mother, setting and accomplishing our separate goals. Nevertheless, as it should be with sisters, no matter how much time we spend apart, whenever we get together, it’s like time has stood still. Those first bonds we made together will last forever. I love you, Sister!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Porch Light

Coming home to a cold, dark, empty house is such a sad feeling. I've never liked it. Even if all of us were coming home together, I wanted a light to be burning some place in the house to welcome us home. When my children began to go places without me, I would always leave the front porch light on and the door unlocked. As they began driving, I would leave the front porch light on, the door unlocked, and wait up for them. Now that some of them have moved out and have their own homes, if they leave after dark, I stand by the door and wait until their tail lights go up and over the big hill and go out of sight before I turn off the porch light,

Fortunately for me, as each one grew up and moved away (as it should be J), there would be another teenager to leave the porch light on for. But with the passing of time and my increasing age, I found I couldn't keep the same hours as my last teenager (son #4), and would sometimes go to bed before he got home. But during the night some time, I would wake up, see the porch light was off, know the door was locked, and he was home safely.

Recently, son #4 was married. After we got home from the wedding celebration, I began to lock up the house and turn off the lights, walking over to the front door, I reached up to turn on the front porch light and realized I didn't need to leave it on.

“Leave it on,” I said to Myself.

“There’s no reason to”, Myself answered. “He’s on his honeymoon, I don’t think he’ll be coming in tonight.”

“But just in case there’s an emergency”, replied I, knowing that there wouldn't be.

“Well, maybe just for a little while”, Myself gave in.

But eventually, I had to go back and turn off the light and lock the door. I was surprised at the sudden feeling of loneliness that was brought about by this simple ritual of turning off the porch light. Although this signifies another chapter closing on Enloe Farms, there are still lots of stories to be lived out, talked about, and retold around our dinner table.

Just a note, I still have 2 teenagers at home, but they have to be home before dark! J

The Porch Light
The porch light shining through the night
Reminds me of God’s shining Light
That brings about some wayward soul
Who is lost in the world so dark and cold.

I leave the light burning on the porch
So none of my children will be caught in the lurch
The light breaks through the darkness dim
And guides them home to me again.