(Editor’s note: This column was written the week before Thanksgiving.)
Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I wonder what you think of as you prepare this holiday? As long as I remember, a hearty Thanksgiving dinner took priority at our house on Thanksgiving, along with time spent with family and friends.
Generally, we had something like mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, turkey of course, then things like salad and pie. This year I miss my grandparents who have both passed on. They were always the ones to help plan events and would host it at their house. There was never a lack of food at their home. Grandma always made sure everyone had plenty and was well taken care of.
Discussing what everyone is thankful for was another dimension of the holiday that has been of interest to me since I was a little girl. There were always more things than we could count.
At school, we often used a pretty piece of paper and jotted down a list of things we were thankful for and taped them to the walls of our little country school. Now as an adult I’m still grateful for a bed, my parents, my baby sister, just as I was 20 years ago; but then there are so many new dimensions added to life.
Honestly, this past week was enough to get my mind churning. What really am I thankful for? More things than I could count just seemed to wind up and take off in the wrong direction. Jesse’s fever didn’t want to break, the sores in his mouth only multiplied until he could hardly drink anything, much less eat a bite without crying.
In spite of the antibiotics prescribed by the doctor he still had awful nights, didn’t want to play, and even gave his “bug” (or whatever it was) to Elijah. Now guess if I felt like a super mom, brimming with thanksgiving? In spite of my best efforts to look at the sunny side of life and keep singing for my children and have a smile for Daddy when he walks in the door, life simply was a challenge.
I knew there were many blessings that we still had and that there really are so many others with far worse dilemmas, but it took more than that to keep our big little family afloat. I worried about the oldest ones not getting enough time with me, then my imagination vividly played out how devastating it really would be, should Jesse only get worse and need to be hospitalized like he was a year ago. That was enough. Foolish fears never did help me out in the past.
I knew that only Jesus will be able to shuffle all this around for good really. I merely told him, “The babies are sick, I’m tired because of my lack of sleep, it feels like I can’t go on; I just give it all to you.” There were no fancy words or big promises, I just needed help! You know, I can’t quite explain what happened. Things shifted.
When I awoke at night there was a song in my heart that I needed, to encourage me to go scoop up a feverish child, to sing more songs at midnight, and perhaps most of all, I didn’t feel like I had to make everything alright, I simply knew in my heart, that Jesus was with me each step.
Now as I think of Thanksgiving, I am truly thankful for not always having an easy path. “Ouch. Did I just say that?” No, I don’t enjoy how it feels to be going through rough times, but I am so amazed at the beauty and the blessings that come out of such times.
When I think of people in my life who have gone through rough times and been a blessing, I think of a school teacher named Mary many years ago. The difficulties in her life simply beautified who she was. Not only did she help us make Thanksgiving lists in November, but she cared about our hearts and was a reminder of how Jesus loves us. I still have some of the notes among my keepsakes which she wrote for me, 20 years ago.
As Thanksgiving rolls around this year, I will be thankful for my beautiful family and dear husband, and most of all for the One who makes rainbows out of storm clouds and brings hidden blessings in the darkest nights!
How about joining us in the kitchen as we bake a pie. With an ample supply of pumpkins on all sides how about trying a pumpkin pie?
Gloria’s traditional Amish pumpkin pie
* 2 eggs, beaten
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 1 rounded tablespoon flour
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 cup milk
* 3 /4 cup cream
* 1 cup pumpkin
1. Mix sugar and flour together and blend in eggs.
2. Add remaining ingredients and pour into unbaked pie crust.
3. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes and then reduce temperature to 350 and bake an additional 45 minutes until set.