Thanksgiving

What are you thankful for? Pastor Kerry (yes, my beloved husband) asked tonight at church. What has God done for you or is He doing in your life for which you can be thankful.

I didn’t share – there were enough others who did….but I will now….here.

I am thankful that Christ died and rose again – conquering sin in my life and in the lives of all who believe in Him. I am thankful that God is merciful though just. I am thankful that He is forgiving – again and again. I am thankful for the many friends and family with whom I am have been blessed. I am thankful for my husband whose love for me transcends my understanding. I am thankful for my children who teach me more about myself each day and challenge me in ways that I did not expect. I am thankful for so much…..

Five and a half years ago my mother passed away after a short reign of cancer in her life. Most people use the phrase “battle with cancer,” but mom never really battled. Once she was diagnosed and the outcome was discussed, there wasn’t much battling to be done. The doctors were at a loss. Mayo Clinic was at a loss. Our family was at a loss. Isn’t there something that someone can think of that can be done? No.
We all sort of knew what the outcome would be, and we just started dealing with that reality. We pleaded with God over and over again – knowing that in the end it wasn’t our will that was to be done. One friend went so far (on New Year’s Eve) as to state that she was convinced it was God’s will for my mom to live. In the end, we knew we would never understand how His will was being done. She didn’t live. Six months and 13 days after that friend dared to proclaim God’s will to us in a church filled with many others, the reign of cancer ended and mom left us.
Death did not frighten mom. In the last days, she talked (when coherent) about how none of need to fear death, for it frees us from the earthly things that overwhelm us. Death, that unwelcome visitor, arrived in my mom’s bedroom on Friday, the 13th of June, 2003.

What does this have to do with thankfulness? I realize that it’s a little odd to right about my mom dying on Thanksgiving Eve. But I am thankful that I can write about her. Yes, tears flow, and my heart aches….but I can write about her. I am thankful for all that she taught me even though I wasn’t always a willing student, for the way she belived in me even though I didn’t always understand her ways of showing that, and for the way that she sheltered me from the nasty things in life even though I begrudged her that for so long. Mothers may not always know best, but she was pretty much on target with some things. For those things, I am grateful. I can’t imagine the grace that it took to raise me….

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