As I approach my first Thanksgiving without Granny, I’m reminded of so many blessings I am thankful for in my life. Sometimes losing a loved one makes you more aware of all the good in your life. Have you ever experienced a heightened level of thankfulness after losing a loved one?
The first blessing I am thankful for this year is Jesus Christ and the hope I have because of His death, burial, and resurrection. I owed a debt I couldn’t pay no matter how hard I worked, and Jesus submitted himself to be beaten, tortured, and crucified to pay my sin debt (and yours). Even though we hear it repeatedly, especially in Children’s Church growing up, John 3:16 still holds true. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Thank you, God, for sending your only Son to pay the debt for our sin; and thank you, Jesus, for doing the Father’s will and allowing Your life to be sacrificed to give us an eternal hope. My Granny is celebrating in Heaven right now because of Your sacrifice on the cross!
Eric is always a major blessing in my life, but during this season of loss, I’m realizing just how much of a blessing he is to my life. He has been a rock. When we drove back to NC and had a whirlwind of activity surrounding Granny’s funeral, he was there. While the family enjoyed friends and food, Eric spent most of his time working remotely from my childhood bedroom. His workload is always heavy, but he never complained about the stress of his job or the funeral coming at a bad time for him. He was there for us and while we were having a great time of fellowship, he continued to work just as hard as he would have if he’d been at the office all day. I’m thankful that he can balance the pressures of work and still be available for emotional support. Sometimes he just amazes me.
The next blessing I’m thankful for this year is my family. It’s so easy to take family for granted and to believe that they will always be there, but the day will come when each of us will pass from this life into eternity – and regret is a heavy burden to bear. This October at my Grandma’s funeral I was able to be with all of my family and I thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie and emotional support we gained from each other. They probably got sick of all the hugs, but I was a hug-monster on the loose!
Another blessing I’m thankful for this year is faithful friends. When we are younger it is easy to get caught up in the need to be popular. But, as we age, we realize that if we have just a few good friends that stand by us no matter what, we are much better off than those who have multitudes of fair-weather friends. It makes me think of the country song Find out Who Your Friends Are (Tracy Lawrence). When Granny went downhill so suddenly, I had friends immediately available to help me in any way they could, not to mention all of the encouragement and kind words.
The list could go on and on, but in the interest of time, I’ll list just one more blessing. This year I’m tremendously thankful for my church family. We haven’t been a part of our current church terribly long, but we have been treated like family from the get go. It isn’t always easy to find a church home where people are so helpful and encouraging, so we are thankful that God led us to our church. The relationships we’ve built there are quality, and I’m thankful that when I spend time with the women there, I am encouraged to love my husband more instead of being tempted to complain about his shortcomings. A good church is worth its weight in gold!
It may seem cliché year after year, but I’d still encourage you to ask yourself what you are thankful for this year. We can’t stay in a constant state of bitterness or grumpiness if we are reminding ourselves daily of what we have and not what we lack. I challenge you to list one hundred blessings in your life. You may be surprised how much you can find to be thankful for when you set your mind to it.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
What are you thankful for this year?