“Enter his gates with Thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks tohim and praisehis name. For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” (Psalm 100:4-5 NLT)
A table full of food and laughter. Joy. Family memories. Those recollections, and so much more, bring a smile to my face and my heart as I recall Thanksgiving 1988 at my Aunt Irene’s house, as we crowded around a make-shift table in the living room and shared so much more than a meal.
I came across this picture several days ago in an old family photo album. Remember the ancient version, where you had to peel back the page and “stick” the pictures on to adhere, and then smooth it carefully back down so nothing wrinkles?! Yeah, that kind. I even have several Polaroid pictures tucked into this album which really makes me feel older.
Oh, the nostalgia of it all.
Which is why this particular Thansgiving stands out to me. Three women– my mom, Aunt Irene, and family friend Carol Ann–would pass away from cancer much too young, and leave a legacy of memories that live in the details emerging and felt from this picture.
There is no way my sixteen year old self could have imagined the short window of time each one of my family members had beyond that beautiful Thanksgiving day. Precious times. Precious memories. Which is why, creating relaionships and spending time together so important to me.
Here comes the cliché and cheesy part, so cover your ears and recite, “la-la-la-la-la” if you don’t want to hear it, BUT, it is so true that relationships and spending time with those you love is the most important and lasting aspect of your life!
Honestly, I look at this picture and reflect on the people, love, and amazing memories that were created. Because I know, deep in my heart, we were created to love just as Jesus loves us (John 15:12).
Our God created us to love, fellowship , and care for all of the people He brings into each of our lives. Is it easy? No, but it is worth it and when we surrender our hearts and lives to Jesus, He gives us all we need to accomplish any task He places before us.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3 NIV)
This Thanksgiving, I urge you to take some time and be thankful for that moment. That special time God has given you to love, create memories, and focus on the people that He invited to the table around you. There is no accident or coincidence in that.
Live. Love. Forgive. Laugh. Be in the moment. Be thankful. Share the love of Jesus with all of the generations seated at the table and change ALL of their tomorrows.
Perhaps, just like me, you may not be given another chance. The Thanksgiving I shared with my mom, Aunt Irene, and Carol Ann in 1988 was the time last we were all sharing a meal together. I am eternally grateful to God for that time of love, laughter, and memories.
I would like to close with a prayer by Joyce Meyer from her, “The Power of Being Thankful” devotional:
“Father, I am grateful for the relationships I have with the people in my life. Let your love flow through me as I purpose to strengthen these relationships. I thank you that I can do my part to build healthy, life-giving, stress-free relationships.” In Jesus name. Amen.
All the Glory to God,
Meyer, Joyce. “The Power of Being Thankful.” Stress-free Relationships, November 19. Faith Words Publisher. Printed. November 26, 2019.
Hello my friends! Wow, we are already past the middle of June! I pray your month has been filled with blessings, hope, and most importantly God because He is love, mercy, truth, holiness, and faithfulness. He is a good, good Father.
The month of June has been very chaotic for me and a lot things have been taking place. Some good and some difficult. The amazing thing is that through each situation, I have been able to have JOY and peace in spite of each circumstance.
Last weekend, was our first full weekend camping in our new (used) travel trailer. We didn’t travel too far from home, only 111 miles away. It rained the whole weekend, which living in Washington state, could be expected.
However, the weekend went like this:
Friday night: Two hours into the evening, around 9pm, we completely lost power. It was pouring rain, with a capital P. Since we were new to the trailer camping thing, we didn’t figure it out what was wrong until morning. 🙁
Saturday: After my husband woke up, he figured out what happened. Power surge last night, the trailer blew a fuse. He looked through all of our extra fuses to fix it. Unfortunately, we had multiples of every other fuse but the right one.
He drove our truck out to the nearest city to buy fuses, a travel trailer surge protector, and anything else he could think of to fix our current situation. He left at 8am.
Hours, yes hours, go by and my daughters and I make the most of the time by playing games, hanging out under the canopy with our German Sheppard, and simply resting.
Around 11am, my husband gets back and tells me he has a story to tell. In my mind I felt like he was saying, “But wait, there’s more!?”
He set various bags down on the picnic table and preceded to tell me what my heart already knew: another problem.
“The truck radiator is busted. I realized it on the way to town and had to stop. So, I not only bought the supplies to fix the trailer, I bought the things I thought we’d need to “mend” the truck to get us home tomorrow.”
Wow, ok. God is big and God is good. Several miles and several stores were needed, but my husband fixed the trailer and power was back on! Praise God!
We made the most of the day by going on several hikes near Mt. St. Helens National Park, barbequing steaks on the grill, and making s’mores. Perfect ending to a not so perfect day!
Sunday: Woke up to a rainy day. Made eggs, turkey sausage, and monkey bread for breakfast. Oh and coffee, lots of coffee! We rested for awhile and decided to head out around noon.
Through the rain, we worked hard to get the trailer and truck packed up and ready to go. After I pulled in the slide to the travel trailer, my daughter noticed we had a flat tire on the trailer.
As if on cue and while I was telling my husband, it started to rain hard. I grabbed the biggest umbrella we had and held it over him as he replaced the tire with a spare. Our only spare.
Sunday 12:30pm: Finally we are on our way! I told my husband there was a restaurant down the road that I wanted to stop at for lunch and he thought that was a good idea.
The place we were stopping was only twenty miles down the road. We pulled into the gas station that was near the restaurant. While my husband was topping off the gas tank, he told me to take the girls inside, find a place to sit, and order food for all of us.
Twenty minutes go by and he joins us. Bad news. The spare tire he just replaced is now flat. Praise God we stopped! He bought Fix- a -Flat and prayed it would work to get us home. Only 91 miles to go.
About five miles in, a truck signals to my husband that we have a flat tire. Apparently, the “band aid” we used to fix it didn’t work. We pulled off and into a Denny’s parking lot. My husband spoke to the manager and asked if we could unhook our trailer, leave it there, so we could find a tire store to get two new tires. They agreed.
The only place that could help us was Wal-Mart. And praise GOD they had two tires left that would fit our trailer. Two hours later we were able to get our trailer and get back on the road. Yay!
Sunday 3:30pm: Unfortunately, the rest of the way home is full of hills and inclines. Our radiator does not go more than a few miles at a time without needing us to pull over. To make a long story short this happens every few miles and several times, but Praise God we made it off the freeway every time and into a parking lot. Three hours go by of driving, stopping, cooling the engine, and getting back on the road. It became obvious that we needed extra help.
Sunday 6:30 pm: We pull off the freeway and called our friend, Dan. My husband and Dan work out the following plan: Dan would use his truck to pull our trailer and without the weight of the trailer, our truck should make it home. We are still about 60 miles from home, so it would take Dan about an hour to get to us.
After Dan arrives, we set the plan in motion. Steve drives the truck home. Dan, my daughters and I follow Steve in Dan’s truck and our travel trailer.
Sunday 9:00pm: Praise God, we are finally home!! There were no other problems with the truck or trailer! I have never felt so incredibly blessed and thankful to be home, safe.
Let me tell you that was a long day. However, God’s presence surrounded us in a way that, by human standards, is unexplainable. I truly experienced a supernatural peace and Joy that can only come from God. I knew, beyond any doubt, no matter what happened, God was with us.
Philippians 4:6-7 New Living Translation (NLT)
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
I was also so incredibly thankful that we were all together and God was at the center of it all. My daughters, husband, and I will carry this testimony of God’s faithfulness in our hearts and minds forever and it will help us through other trials. ALL the glory to God!!
Friends, God is ready and able to help you through ALL you are going through. I was reminded in my “Jesus Calling” devotional, dated November 11th, about the power of Jesus:
“Do not let any set of circumstances intimidate you. The more challenging your day, the more of My Power I place at your disposal. I know what each of your days will contain, and I empower you accordingly. Look to Me for all that you need, and watch to see what I will do. As your day, so shall your strength be” (Young, Sarah 330).
Don’t wait, pray, and go all in to the power of Jesus! Experience peace, joy, love, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control, gentleness, and faithfulness.
God is first and foremost in my life.
my husband Steve, daughters Suzanne and Savannah,
my AMAZING family and friends,
the majestic beauty of the Pacific Northwest,
traveling and camping,
a GREAT cup of coffee with my morning devotionals,
and my Sumner Family Church family. :)