November always brings gratitude to the forefront of my mind in anticipation of Thanksgiving. I recently learned something about gratitude from an unlikely source: Job.
Job is famous for the depth of losses he experienced: he lost all his livestock (symbols of wealth and his ability to earn a living) and all ten of his children within a single day. When I consider enduring such loss, I feel my knees buckling at the mere thought.
Most of the book of Job is comprised of dialog between Job and his well-intentioned-but-hurtful friends. In the end (spoiler alert), we are left without direct answers to the question of suffering and are to be consoled with the truth that God is both mysterious and powerful.
They say you can’t outgive God.
Last week’s LIFT event was the culmination of months of prayer, planning, and labor. Pam, Genny, and I have been collaborating since the spring of 2015 to help women address the tough issues of identity, purpose, and the challenges to living them fully. We have shared our thoughts and hopes for those who would attend over many hours and countless ounces of black coffee.
And then, last Thursday, it finally happened. The tickets were sold out. Chairs were packed tightly. Candles lit. Cupcakes baked. Flowers arranged. And our messages were shared.
They say a picture says 1000 words. But what if it doesn’t tell the true story?
The photo below was taken at my daughter’s last cross country meet. The girls’ varsity team huddled together in prayer. This is customary for their team and many teams. They often gather before the race to encourage each other and then to ask God’s help over the course of their race… for strength, safety, and perseverance. Things you’d expect, right?
But that’s not what was happening.
I pack school lunches every. single. morning.
And I have for nearly ten years now. Last week, as I stood in my kitchen, staring down at the empty lunch boxes on my kitchen counter, I got a little grumpy about having to do it again. “I’m so over making lunches.” But, I cobbled together a collection of leftovers, juice pouches, baby carrots and the cursory apple and sent my people on their way.
Just a couple hours later, I stood at the stainless gates that are my refrigerator and bemoaned that there was nothing I’d like to eat. Nevertheless, I rummaged through and found something to throw in my gullet.
I was afraid.
In May I shared with you my diagnosis of skin cancer and my fears around the location and removal of it. My surgery was July 14th and I’m now on the mend. Not surprisingly, I’ve learned a few things during the last 10+ days of recovery. Spare yourself the skin cancer surgery and just learn these nuggets vicariously through me, okay?
When my daughter was young, getting her dressed was a chore.
It shouldn’t have been so hard… she had both a closet and dresser burgeoning with darling Gymboree ensembles. Nevertheless, our morning routines were never pleasant. Many hours were lost to screaming fits over the necessity of wearing pants, shoes and shirts. (She may not have been the only one screaming.)
It’s the Christmas tradition I’m ready to ditch.
Living away from extended family means most of our holiday celebrations are either shared with friends or spent with merely my four fellow Holmbergians. More often than not, it’s the latter. As an introvert, that’s often okay with me. Other times it produces a subtle but steady pain, similar to a headache that you don’t quite realize you have until you find yourself spitting nails at your spouse — utterly unprovoked.
Death. Sacrifice. And thanksgiving?
“Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.”
— Psalm 50:14 NLT
“Make thankfulness your sacrifice.” I scratched my head over that phrase for a bit, pondering the ways gratitude could be a sacrifice in the way the Old Testament describes it. The Hebrew word for ‘sacrifice’ is zabach
They were so little.
I watched my daughters, mere toddlers, playing near each other in the family room on the carpet, each with a toy of her choosing.
My youngest asked my eldest for the bauble she was currently enjoying. This was an unwelcome request, so eldest daughter searched the sprawl of toys in orbit around her. She selected one and handed it ever so sweetly to her younger sister. One might expect me to have been proud at that moment, delighting in the so-called sharing that had just taken place.