Thursday, November 24, 2011

Being Truly Thankful

Some people participate in the Facebook challenge of posting something new each day of November until Thanksgiving but not me.

Not because I don't have much to be thankful for but more because I can't narrow it down to just 24 things.

I am blessed beyond what I deserve by a God who chose to show me how much He loves me by hanging His heart on a cross to die for my sins. When I keep that fact as my focus I can find gratefulness in all that I encounter.

It's easy for us all to be thankful when things are going well. It is when the ground under our feet feels shaky and unsteady that we MUST find thanksgiving in our hearts.

I just had the privilege of spending time with my oldest sister who has the amazing ability to stay eternally focused and grateful. She has had hard times, trying times in her life so it's not like she hasn't earned the opportunity to be bitter.

Burying her firstborn 15 days after he was born would give her that right in my mind. But she isn't. She is thankful He is whole and healthy and she has a longing for her heavenly home that I don't understand. But I am thankful for her example of a God-centered attitude and life that she lives.

I have another sister who lives a life of thanksgiving each day in a different way. She suffers from major stomach issues...can only eat certain foods...and can't eat a lot of foods that fall on my list of favorites but she is never upset about it. She lives each day not complaining about all she "misses" out on, but by giving to others. She is generous with her time, her talents and her heart. If you are in her life and you need her, she is there for you. That is something you can count on no matter what. I am thankful for her giving spirit and the example she is to me of God's hands here on earth.

Let's not forget my little brother...who is not little at all. He towers over us all and lives life to the fullest. He could be a different person has not been easy for him. He started his beautiful family earlier than planned and worked very hard to provide for his sweet wife and son. His dream was always to coach basketball and while he was given that opportunity it was not at the level he wanted. When he switched his career, while it was hard, he remained extremely grateful for the new job he was given. And he does it so well...he could be angry about not living his dream, but instead he works hard, he does his absolute best and he still loves to laugh and have fun. I am grateful for his example of how to accept a change in a lifelong dream so graciously.

I think my siblings would agree that this spirit of gratefulness comes directly from our parents who sacrificed much to give us the things we think we needed to be happy. My precious mom wore the same wrap-around skirts for years so that we could have the coolest, latest, hippest clothes. My dad worked tirelessly in the Army, deployed many times, protecting our great country and showing us each and every day what commitment looks like. My parents showed us love, discipline (me more so than my siblings---but well deserved), grace, forgiveness, opportunities galore and commitment to the things that are important--God, family, country--in that order.

I think about how I was raised, those with whom I was raised and where my raising has taken me and I find that I can find thankfulness in everything, if I just try. So whether life is going how I want it to go, my family has taught me that circumstances matter not--attitude is everything.

Today I am filled with gratitude to my God for giving me the exact life I have, for I know it is His best for me and THAT is enough. He will take care of the details of that life so long as I remember to follow in the footsteps of my family members and give Him thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving to you today. I pray you find ways to be grateful in all that you encounter today and every day!

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1 comment:

  1. Paige - I am thankful for you. You are loyal (often to your detriment!). You've chosen a profession that demands loyalty but never rewards it. You give tirelessly to your children, your husband, your relatives and your students. You are always learning, always available, and always sharing. We love learning from you, too! (and you're a much better writer than all of us....)