Honestly, Thanksgiving was always my least favorite holiday. Growing up this day was just an excuse to get together with family. I looked forward to hanging out with my cousins but the day itself was just another day off from school. The last few years that has changed for me. I love that there is a season on our calendars dedicated to being grateful. It is very obvious that many people do not take advantage of this time to think on those things that they are thankful for. I was one of those people. Now, I LOVE it. In fact, this year I plan on forcing my relatives at my parent's house to tell us at least one thing they are thankful for. They don't know this yet though so I hope no one embittered with life hates me for requesting they think thankful thoughts. I am thankful for so much. The good Lord has shown me so much about thankfulness and contentment. We are NOT to wait for our circumstances or the people around us to be perfect before we are thankful for them. We are to look for those blessings within others and life that are there and pointing to the God who gave them so graciously and cheerfully. They are there but you must recognize them. Yes, this can be hard. I came across the verse the other day that says, "Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name." (Hebrews 13:15). Praise can be hard. Praise can feel as though I am lying through my teeth. My heart can be grieved or angry and to praise God in the midst of that is what feels like torture. To choose to see the blessings in the midst of trial can be difficult, to say the least. Yet, those blessings exist. They exist in the circumstances of life which for us are laboring day and night caring for our little ones and pouring ourselves into them while working to keep a roof over our head and food on our table. They exist in the people we meet and live with. That person that turns you off has the image of God within them. They are valuable. Broken, but valuable. Do you choose to rejoice over that image within them or complain in your heart about their flaws? Ok, so let me steer away from my preachiness to tell you what I am so very thankful for this year.
(1) I've been married for over 5 years to a man that acts more like Jesus than any other person I have ever met. I admire him more than words can express. I have changed and grown through his daily example to me of patience and kindness. (I was worse than this 5 yrs ago :))
(2) My two boys have filled my heart with so much AWE! I am in awe that I have the privilege to care for these two precious people. I am in awe of how they grow and love and learn. I am in awe of how I enjoy motherhood.
(3) I am continually thankful to see the Lord meet our needs financially. Sometimes it is tight. Sometimes it isn't. But either way, He has cared for us whether it be through a timely check or some savvy grocery spending or generous parents.
(4) I am thankful for internet and television. I realize what is a vice for many is hardly a virtue. But it has given me distraction from those thoughts that loom and threaten to overwhelm me. I can't help but feel grateful for it.
(5) I am unbelieveably thankful for new friends that I've made through a couple of groups I got involved with. They are a daily dose of support, encouragement, and laughter. Thank you, AP, Redeemer, and LLLadies.
I hope all of you find yourself with not enough time in the day to list all things that you are thankful for. It is a good place to be.
CJ Mahaney’s Christmas Book List 2017
2 weeks ago