Thursday, November 28, 2013

Apple pie, tears and giving thanks...

Thanksgiving is always one of my favorite times of the year. I love to look back, reflect and remember. This holiday provides the joy of getting together without the pressure of presents, stress of shopping and occasional chaos that's created at Christmas.

But yesterday the day didn't go like the Thanksgiving eves in my past. I wasn't surprised I found myself missing my grandma...I had actually been preparing myself for that. Five and a half months ago we said "Good-bye" to her and even in June I thought about how the holidays would be different.

Big family gatherings were her thing! Two years ago I remember a conversation with her - she had recently been diagnosed with cancer, passed the age of 80 and her daughters suggested someone else hosting Thanksgiving. Her response? "I don't know why they think I can't do it?"

She did it! Two years ago today I enjoyed my last Thanksgiving at "B's" house with close to 50 other family members. Personally, some days I struggle to get food on the table for all 7 of us, but Grandma thrived on serving others with love! One of her many areas of expertise was apple pie, my favorite.

Last summer, a couple of weeks after Grandma passed away, my son said to me, "Mom, you never did learn to make apple pie like her." He's right, but it wasn't for her lack of trying to teach me. We spent many hours in my kitchen and she even came to our very first MOPS meeting when I begged her to come teach us young moms. I've tried to apply her teaching numerous times, but the end result is typically me proclaiming "I'm never doing this again!" You see she made pies from scratch with lard and used a rolling pin!!

But yesterday, I had the desire to try again. So I did. I started with the job I could do, but one I really don't enjoy...peeling. I have to be the world's worst and my grandma, she was the best. Seriously, she could peel 4 to my 1. And she did it with joy. I made it to apple 3 and the tears started to fall; if you'd of walked into our kitchen you would have thought I was cutting up onions.

Honestly, I was surprised with the emotion and a bit overwhelmed with the memories, but thankful for the reminder from the Holy Spirit as I recalled my pastor's words, "Don't just thank God for the memories thank Him in the memories." I did the job I never enjoy, let the tears falls and thanked God as I remembered.

Then I moved on to the crust...the part I always fail!! I pulled out the rolling pin, my least favorite kitchen utensil, and as I thought about never being able to do this I remembered words a friend had shared as we talked about Thanksgiving without my grandma. She had said, "I pray God will do a 'new thing' and comfort you." I had the thought maybe this will be the new thing - me actually rolling out a pie crust rather than resorting to my daughter's play dough trick. Awhile back when Joy helped and sensed my frustration she advised, "Mom, you could just put it in the pan and push it together!!"

Well, I rolled it all out, put it in the pan and had one small crack to fix. This may be an everyday occurrence for you, but it was answered prayer for me.

I was grateful. It was hard, it is hard to think of Thanksgiving without Grandma B, but it was good to remember the fun we'd had in the kitchen. Memories can leave us sad, but I'm thankful God changed my perspective and reminded me to appreciate what I had rather than just focusing on what, who, was missing.

Last night at our Thanksgiving Eve service, our pastor spoke from Philippians and touched on what God had led me to do during the day. Philippians 4:6-7 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Friend, I don't know what you're anxious about today, but can I encourage you to pray about it? As you pray about it don't just share your heart and ask God to meet your needs, but do it with thanksgiving. Right now as you miss a loved one, worry about finances, struggle with a relationship or fill in the blank with your source of anxiety, what can you thank God for? 

Thanking Him changes our perspective, reminds us of our purpose and assures us of His presence. This Thanksgiving may we give thanks even when there are tears, trials and the turkey is tough! Friends, He is worthy and provides all we need, today let's thank Him for giving!!

I believe it's good to share our thanks...powerful for us to put it in words and a blessing to hear what others have to say!

Let me start - God's faithfulness, His goodness and presence in my life. For growth spiritually in myself and my children, for opportunities, for family and friends, for my church and the best apple pie I ever made!

Not a perfect pie, but a precious picture - My sweet Joy, a sweet smelling pie and my g'ma's giant cinnamon shaker!

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