“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.”
(Psalm 95:1-2 NIV)
Thankfulness has been scientifically shown to have significant health benefits, including an increase in happiness. But to receive its highest value, we need to SHOW our thanks, not just feel it. As pastor and author Tim Keller states, “It’s one thing to be grateful. It’s another to give thanks. Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do.”
So as we enter this Thanksgiving week, I’m reflecting on the things for which I am grateful. And they are many.
- For Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, who enfolded me into His family, who died and rose again so that I might have a relationship with Him now and for eternity. Who enabled me to move forward after the most devastating loss of my life, into a new life of love, joy, service, and community.
- For Mom and Dad, who loved me unconditionally, even when I hurt them by actions or choices, and who taught me as a child to love Jesus. Who provided a secure home foundation as well as resources for me to grow in faith and in life. Who pray for me, and their other children, daily.
- For three loving brothers, Melvyn, Arnold and Robert, and their wives Vicky, Carol and Sheila, who have always had a significant presence in my life, and who have walked with me through significant joys and sorrows.
- For Sunday School and public school teachers who taught, challenged, encouraged me to learn and grow and study and pass on what I learned that impacted my life.
- For single missionary to Nigeria, Katherine Dick, whose life showed me that service to God was a joy rather than simply a duty.
- For two loving husbands, Don and Jerry, both of whom love(d) me well, sacrificially, joyfully; with whom I delight in sharing life; and who work(ed) with me through the difficult times all marriages face.
- For two precious daughters-in-faith, Grace and Tanith, who give me deep joy as I watch them develop their own walks with God, and who love me back.
- For grandnephew Joshua, visiting from London these past two weeks, who helped Don put my new desk together and taught me a great deal more about my online presence and possibilities.
- For my writing mentor, Karen, and my writing critique group members who hold me accountable and critique my work to make it better and more impactful.
- For sorrow, without which I might not recognize–or appreciate as deeply–joy.
- For my dear friends, who have stood with me through good and bad times, who have forgiven me when needed, who have invited me into their hearts and lives. You know who you are, and I thank you!
- My readers, who take the time to let me know if something touches them, or if there is something I say with which they disagree.
And there’s more! Our country, the wonderful church Don and I are part of, a home, food, clothing, friendships, our sweet doggie … laughter, tears, the ability to think, walk, see, hear, smell …
Charles Stanley: “Gratitude produces deep, abiding joy because we know that God is working in us, even through difficulties.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich!”
So, as we enjoy the food and festivities of this special day (and every day), have you expressed your thanks to others? If not, I challenge you to do so–for both your benefit and theirs!