Thursday, November 24, 2011

thanksgiving thoughts

Of course I contemplated a well-composed thanksgiving post of all the things I am thankful for.  And I do have many, many things I am thankful for.  That are well-deserving of recognition.

But I just couldn't muster it up for some reason.  Time was one factor of course.

My sentiments on thanksgiving are different from any other year in my life.

Because of this.

Thanksgiving is so much more, and also so much less.  I don't just see thanksgiving as recognizing the wonderful people and gifts in my life.

Giving thanks is about the little things.  It's noticing the vibrancy of a flower, when my stress level is sky high.
(actual photo I took earlier this year when I was feeling stressed)

Smiling even though a tiny hand has marked my book.

Thanksgiving is about the challenges, the tests and trials.  That is when true gratitude is discovered.  Joy comes when I am thankful for the difficulty and pain.  When money is tight, and time is short.  

I have spent a lot of time this year caring for a sick toddler.  

Each month, life came to a screeching halt for a few days as Lily's fevers raged.

We learned to be thankful that her fevers often came at the end of the week, during my days off work.  
We are so grateful that her fevers didn't come from a serious or life-threatening illness.  Still they have defined our months, our 2011.  We have spent so much money on Tylenol, Motrin, doctors appointments and hospital stays.  

I have spent a night crammed in a hospital fold out bed with her, because she wouldn't sleep in the crib.

And we recently spent another night in the hospital, this time hopefully as a solution to the fevers.  This time, I did get her to sleep in the crib.

The past week has been challenging.

The recovery period is no joke.  It's difficult to convince a toddler that even though it may not feel great to eat or drink--she will feel so much better in the end with nutrition in her belly.  My baby has lost a little of her soft chub and her belly.  I'm sure it will come back quickly, but her body does not feel the same right now.

Every day is a little better.  There are moments I want to pull my hair out because Lily is crying about being hungry, but won't eat anything that her throat will tolerate.  We've lost a lot of sleep.  But this should be the end of this season.

Thanksgiving is not warm and fuzzy for me this year.

But it is so much better, so much richer.

I read this earlier in the week.

To bring the sacrifice of thanksgiving means to sacrifice your understanding of what is beneficial and thank God for everything because He is benevolent.
A sacrifice of thanks lays down our perspective and raises hands in praise anyways – always.
A sacrifice is by definition not an easy thing.
There is this: We give thanks to God not because of how we feel – but because of Who He is.

This expresses it so well.  I have to sacrifice what I think is beneficial--what I think is good, what I think would be good for me.  Because God is the only thing that is truly good.  And every good and perfect gift comes from him.

Black Friday is all the craze right now.  And my flesh wants to give in to the consumer mentality and find a way to buy my children all the things they have their eyes on and other things I know they need or would really enjoy.  I want to spoil nieces and nephews and brothers and sisters.

But this year's Christmas budget isn't going to allow for that.  So I will be thankful for the good I can find in this.  That I will find ways to make this holiday special.  That I will carefully choose each gift I buy.  That I will use Pinterest to create one of a kind gifts.

There is good in that.  That can be a perfect gift from above.

My crazy life.  My crazy kids.  My rad husband.

For these I am thankful.

Tonight I climbed into bed next to Lily, who once again is having trouble sleeping.  A cold with a cough is not fun to get from your sister when your throat is already a raw mess.

She cuddled up next to me, wrapped her arms around my neck and said "I love you all the heart" which means "I love you with all of my heart."

Could there be any more perfect end to the day?  I think not.

Friends, He is good.  So good.