In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
As you will probably be aware we do not celebrate Thanksgiving Day here in England . This is a day to reflect on blessings and to remember and focus on what God has done for us. Every day should be a Thanksgiving Day and we should put aside time in our day to reflect on all daily blessings given to us big or small. Over the years I have come to realise that it is not the "big" things but the "small" things that so bless my heart and life.
The red Robin (my favourite bird) as it feeds from the bird feeder and keeps one eye on me, the glorious sunrise each morning as it lights up the sky. The beautiful sunset that blesses the sky with shades of yellow and red and orange. The glistening snow as it covers the ground in a white blanket. The stars on a dark night, squirrels as they seek food in my garden and playfully run after each other. The smile that graces my neighbours face as she greets me. Rain after a drought, a hot bubble bath after a long tiring day and aching bones. A day that comes to just chill and have a pj day. A mug of hot chocolate with delicious marshmallows. Time spent with loved ones. A rainbow in the sky a reminder of God's promise. Walks along rivers, lakes and the ocean. Food on my table. Discovering a new brand of tea. My partner Michael and how he has blessed my life beyond measure. My daughters and precious grandchildren. Flowers that bloom. Lavender when I have a headache. Sweet and precious friends When I think of blessings the list is endless!
O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever. Psalms 107:1
So what does Thanksgiving mean to me and how do I celebrate this day? Having lived in the USA and having family and friends in the USA I have celebrated this day over the ocean and in England too. The times I have spent celebrating with my sister in Georgia I have loved her family tradition at this time. Each family member in turn will talk on their blessings over the past year and how this has changed their lives or made a difference. Telling each other what they are thankful for.
Thanksgiving Day has become much more meaningful and special to me after the Lord took me on a painful, hard, difficult and long journey. During this time He brought me back to serving Him, changed my life and taught me life lessons. He removed me from a comfort complacent zone that I had slipped into! The Lord will certainly get our attention if we wander! During this time I have seen how faithful, how loving and forgiving He is. His provision and care and my needs met.
Life can hand us difficult times and those valley times .How developing an attitude of gratitude helps. Praising Him and thanking Him for everything changes those valley times. So hard to give thanks when you are hurting, when you are in pain and you cannot see light at the end of that dark long tunnel. But give thanks during these times as well as those mountain top times! When all is flowing well and smoothly it is so easy to give thanks. I was taught the lesson of giving thanks when all is not going well. I was taught patience and to wait on the Lord's timing and not my own. I also learnt that the Lord has a plan and that I must trust Him and have faith. All things come in His time and not ours. Sometimes answers to our prayers are wait, sometimes no and sometimes yes. His answers are always wiser than ours!
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
After going to the doctor for another problem and then having my blood taken when I went back for the results it was discovered I was anaemic. The doctor examined me and found that I had an abdominal swelling. The next day I was having an urgent scan and it was confirmed I had a large cyst on my left ovary along with other GYN issues that needed attention. After having further blood tests the indication was strong that the cyst might not be benign as a few pointers suggested otherwise. And here started a year long painful journey for me. The agonising wait for surgery, the after surgery and then the long wait for the results. Being told after my hysterectomy and removal of both ovaries and tubes that they had taken several biopsies and some of the sheet of muscle away that covered my abdomen to examine and also a small growth on my abdominal wall. this filled me with concern. The pain, the giving of my problems to the Lord and constantly re-claiming the battle for myself and a faith that was not consistent as I wavered from day to day. The Lord had plans for me and He would say "Trust in me and have faith" and I would have peace and then Satan would get a foothold and darkness and worry enveloped me yet again! For me this proved to be a battle.
So many people were praying for me and the weeks rolled on and I had little understanding as to why my biopsy results were talking so long to be given to me. My own doctor at the surgery did not have them. All this time the Lord was working and teaching me to put ALL my faith and trust in Him. I felt a peace wash over me after praying one day and knew I had to be patient and believe that He would take care of me.
On November 26th 2009 as I waited in the out patients department at the hospital I thanked the Lord for all He had done for me and how He has sustained me through me during my illness. I remembered my bible life verse Proverbs 3:5-6 and peace washed over me. I was called in and the doctor greeted me and asked me if I had gotten the results. I looked at her blankly and she said "you haven't received them have you" and I replied that I had not. I was thinking at this point it was not good news. As she turned to me she said "everything was normal." At that point I was saying over and over out loud as the doctor looked at me. "Thank you Lord ,oh thank you Lord." God had answered my prayers and the prayers of all the people who had faithfully prayed for me. What a rich blessing!
Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.
2 Corinthians 9:15
Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving. Colossians 4-2
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto Him and bless His name. Psalms 100:4
Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Therefore I say unto you, whatever things soever ye desire, when ye pray believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. Mark 11:24,
Give us this day our daily bread.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness neither shadow of turning. James 1:17
So for me Thanksgiving Day is special and I have learnt so much on my journey. I was not at a place where I should have been and the Lord was going to get my attention! The Lord put me in a place where I had to trust, have faith and once I sought His help and gave my burdens to Him and He did not want me to keep reclaiming them and fighting them! . This proved difficult for me and at times I gave and then continued to concern myself with the burden. Thanksgiving Day 26th November 2009 was a turning point in my life when I was told that all was normal! The Lord had me wait until this day to let me have the news. It was unusual to have to wait so long for the results. So significant too that my result day was Thanksgiving! I truly believe that this is what the Lord wanted for me. Every day I praise Him and I thank Him for His mercy, forgiveness and grace. Thankful that I am a child of God. Thankful I have a wonderful testimony, thankful I have Him to lean on. Thankful I can share my story to encourage others and tell them about Jesus my Savior.
God has a purpose and He is in control. How I have seen His work in my life. Ever faithful and His promises fulfilled.
Are you thanking the Lord for everything that comes your way-valleys or mountain tops? Are you a solid, confident and unshakable Christian? Jesus is the best gift we could ever receive!