Thanksgiving is different this year. 2016 has been a rollercoaster both personally and professionally for me. It has seen amazing things happen in God’s church, teens step up on missions trips, in their personal growth with God. It’s also been a year of great heartache and personal loss for myself, but it has seen me lean on God in ways I have never had to before.
With the loss of livelihood, relationships, separated from friends by distance and circumstances, it has been very difficult at times to be thankful for anything. But, I am ever thankful. In the midst of everything, I can hold on to this beautiful truth from the Psalms;
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
I’m not even sure how many times this phrase appears in Psalms, but it’s a lot, a constant and steady reminder. God is good, His love is steady, there in times of need and plenty. Times of great happiness and deep sorrow. When life is going according to plan, His love is there. When life goes off the rails, His love is there. His steadfast love endures forever.
That is why even now, I can be ever thankful. But I still have to be intentional for what I am thankful for, so here it is, a short list of things I am thankful for. I already mentioned God, so here is the rest of the list.
FAMILY. Specifically, my Father. I have been far from a perfect son, but when I needed him the most in my life, he has been there. Despite our differences and difficulties in personalities, I am ever thankful for my Father.
FRIENDS. I am thankful for friends, I have needed space, you have given it to me. I have needed encouragement, you have given it to me. I have needed love, you have given it to me. I am ever thankful for my friends, both old and new.
COFFEE. Working wonky shifts, staying up late, getting up early. Coffee… you are my only hope. I am ever thankful for coffee.
WORK. I have not had an ideal work situation in the past few months, but I have been able to pay my bills, live life, and have the distraction of everyday life. For the 4am closes to all the crazy drunks I have to deal with, I am ever thankful.
TRADITIONS. I have been able to continue on with traditions in my own life. Reclaiming some, restarting some, and continuing on with some. Thank you JRR Tolkien for always being there in October when its time to read the Hobbit. Thank you Northern Michigan for being blustery and unpredictable as always in October, and thank you Silver Bells in the City for almost happening (not thankful for the thunderstorm). I am ever thankful for life and the parts that make it worth living.
CHURCH. I have been silent, I have been almost invisible. But I am thankful for my church. It has been a safe space to corporately engage in worship, to hear the Word of God preached, and to feel loved. I am ever thankful for my church.
It’s not a long list. But it’s what I have today. I am ever thankful, because His steadfast love endures forever.