Thanksgiving...my favorite holiday for at least the last 15 years. It was then when Job proposed after Thanksgiving Eve services and when we discussed building our marriage and family on the Rock. Now that 14 years have passed since our wedding and 5 kids call us their parents, I still enjoy this holiday. I appreciate the no presents and simple decorating, but I'm especially grateful for the reflection.
As a Christian, I'm told to "give thanks always" (1 Thes. 5:18) and "give thanks to the Lord" (Psalms 118:1), so this thanks-giving shouldn't just happen in November, but personally there's something special about this time of the year. Being thankful is talked about, it's expected. It's out in the open and on the forefront of our minds. Oh to live that way always.
Tonight, once the house was quite and I had some time alone, I started to think and pray. I was grateful and praising God. I have much to be thankful for, but I found myself wondering about what was at the top of my list. I'm not sure if that's right or wrong, but it's what was on my heart.
As I paused to think, a song came to mind. A song I've always appreciated, but one I haven't thought about or heard for quite sometime. As the words played in my head, I found the answer to my question. John Waller's "Somebody Else's Story" reminded me of the many who've played a part in my story. The ones who've shown me love and shined the light of Jesus into my darkness. The ones who helped me find comfort and hope. The ones who changed my destiny.
I grew up going to church and believed in God, but it wasn't until later in life when I understood Christianity wasn't about religion, but a relationship. I was nearly 24 years old when I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. God did that and had His ways, but to accomplish His plan and change my destiny, He used people.
Friends, and strangers too, who prayed, who shared and lived a life that I observed. With their words and actions these people pointed me to Him. In them, I saw something different, something I didn't have and through them God drew me to Himself. Their encouragement and example, their teaching and transparency played a part in my story. A story God forever changed and one that leaves me forever thankful.
As I think about this, I'm humbled and grateful. I'm challenged and encouraged. I'm reminded of many...some who will never know the impact they made and others who think I thank them too much. I'm also reminded to be thankful for those who continue to point me to Him. My "iron" friends and mentors who continue to teach Truth and encourage obedience. The ones who lift me when I'm down, convict me when I'm comfortable and comfort me when I'm hurting. Fellow believers who inspire me to grow and motivate me to follow.
This post takes me down memory lane and I'm grateful, but I'm reminded of another thing from long ago. I'm not sure if it's possible to thank someone too much, but I remember processing this with God once. I prayed and asked God if I should thank a friend again because honestly I know flattery is a bad thing and I didn't want that. I know I'm to praise the Giver, not the gift, and I remember what James 1:17 says, "Every good and perfect gift is from above..." Knowing all of this, didn't remove the desire to say "Thanks". So I proceeded to write the note and as I did God put something on my heart I've never forgot - "Don't just thank her, do what she does."
Friend, this Thanksgiving, I encourage you to do a few things - first, and most importantly, thank God. Spend sometime in prayer and just give Him a list...He knows all He's blessed you with, but it does us good to remember! Then ask yourself, "Who am I thankful for?" Thank God for that person and then take some time and share appreciation with him or her. Finally, take it a step further - why are you grateful for that individual? Answer the question and then do the same.
God can and will use you to make a difference in somebody else's story and that my friend, will bring Him glory!!
Heavenly Father, thank you. Those words seem so simple, but yet they mean so much. I could fill this screen with an unending list of all I'm thankful for, but like I said in this post, at this moment You've reminded me to be grateful for the people who point me to You. Thank you Lord for your body, for my brothers and sisters in Christ. The ones who encourage and teach, help and pray, convict and rebuke. I'm grateful for how you've worked through others in my story and Father, I ask you to use me in another's story. Help me learn from others and do what they do. Lord God, you and you alone are worthy of all our praise, honor and glory. May Your name be lifted high this Thanksgiving. In Jesus' precious and powerful name, Amen
A few songs for you this Thanksgiving -