As you know, everything doesn’t always turn out how we think it will. Tuesday, we began our ten-hour drive to meet our family in North Georgia. Our kids’ giggles filled the car in anticipation of seeing their cousins. At 9pm, we arrived to the hotel at the halfway point. But that darn stomach bug hit, and my hubbie was out of commission. The next morning after about an hour of sleep, and with Christian still very sick, we decided to drive back to Virginia so it wouldn’t spread to the rest of the family. By the grace of God, Christian sat in the passenger seat with a clinched jaw as I drove us home. Our kids’ giggles deflated in an instant.
But kids are so resilient and something remarkable happened. I waited for complaints and pity parties, but instead, along with some tears shed, our kids showed far more concern for their daddy. They put him above all else, and that brought joy to my heart. I wonder how much joy it brought to the Lord to see his little ones choose compassion over focusing on themselves. I love the Lord’s words. I love when he tells us that his will for us is to “give thanks always.” Those words change us when we take them into our minds and hearts, and they changed my kids’ attitudes that day.
Yes, it stunk that we didn’t get that family time we planned over a year ago. That Christian was sick and felt terrible. That I was in charge of everything. That I spent two days packing and unpacking. That our Thanksgiving food was from the Wegman’s buffet (although better than Chevy Chase’s turkey! Ha!). And that just the four of us gathered around the table to eat. When it was time for the tradition of giving thanks, we walked upstairs and stood in the doorway while my husband lay in bed. Each of us said what we were thankful for- there was a lot of love in that room. My mind can easily wander to that pity party, and it did, but I caught myself. I reflected on how thankful I am to have my three kids and my husband. I am thankful we have food and a home. I am thankful we know Jesus.
I am reading “The Hiding Place” and am in awe of Corrie Ten Boom’s bravery in saving so many Jews during the Holocaust. I think of the angst they must have felt as bombs exploded overhead and soldiers marched the streets. My own grandfather was Jewish, and it pains my heart to think of that hatred. He was a wonderful man in many ways. Stubborn and wonderful. Once we got home from our “road trip,” we read the story of Paul praising God in prison, and I am in awe of his strength while in chains. I think of my courageous and dear friend, Amy, who is fighting cancer, and the physical pain she feels so often- I am inspired by her faith through choosing prayer, thankfulness, and humor. I think of the hardships my dad faced as a child with his mom passing away at 49-years-old and the instability that came from her being married seven times, yet when he speaks of her, he glows. I think of all you parents who are raising kids on your own and how you are always the ones who do. everything. You are brave and strong, and you are not alone.
And my Thanksgiving didn’t quite turn out how I wanted it to? I am grateful. There is so much to be grateful for. What’s your thing that didn’t turn out how you wanted it to? How can you turn from bitterness to gratefulness? Everything doesn’t always turn out how we think it will. But, every day, every moment, we can choose faith, gratitude, Jesus.