Word of the Week

My Thanks

What are you grateful for? I mean, really, what are you grateful for?

Such is a question that many of us are asked on a regular basis as the season of Thanksgiving approaches. When asked, we might scratch our heads, and fill in the usual blanks with statements such as “I’m thankful for my family.” Or, “I’m thankful for my home.” Or, “I’m thankful for food to eat.” But is such what we are really thankful for?

If I were being honest with the question myself, even as traditional as my answers may be, I’d probably be right there with you replying in the same way. For it is the people and provisions that surround our lives that make them so great! But deep down, I’m truly thankful for so much more than what the basic answers suggest.

I am thankful for the families that fill my life—at home, at church and in this community and beyond, even if we aren’t technically “blood relatives.” I’m thankful that I have a place to sleep every night, but I’m also thankful that my bed is comfortable with lots of pillows and the fact that we have central air and heat in our home. I’m thankful not only for my food, but for the fact that I can make the choice almost every day to get what I eat. In contrast to my brothers and sisters around the world who have rice and beans or something simple of this nature every day, in this country, in this town, I have the opportunity to eat the finest of foods as much as I want, whenever I want. I am spending some time over the next month, beginning as I pen this article for you, singing one of my favorite old hymns, “Count Your Many Blessings.” For certainly, I have a lot to be thankful for.

I’m thankful too to be a pastor of a congregation that has enriched my life for nearly three years now (oh, how time flies when you are having fun). I am thankful for the ways in which we’ve grown in our relationships with one another. I am so proud the church: the questions they ask in Bible Study, the dedication of the servant leaders, the newcomers that are all welcomed in to our services, the kindness the members show each other when you meet both in and outside of church (I'm still smiling after our Thanksgiving service yesterday at the ways you all expressed thanks to one another publically). I always said about the day I received the opportunity to pastor my own congregation that I’d want us to “know and love each other well.” And I believe, as we reach this reflective season of the year again, we are well on our way to doing just this.

I am thankful for the gift of writing and the opportunity that having a blog like this gives me to connect on a level of "the stuff that matters" with all of you who are kind enough to take time to read. I'm thankful that as of last week I was notified that I was awarded a pastoral study grant through the Louisville Institute out of Louisville Seminary. This means I'll have funding to take some extra time off next year and supportive resources to bring my idea for a book long project into reality. Me, a writer? I think I'm actually starting to believe it and for this and all that will come, I am grateful.

I am always grateful for those who hang tight in my life through good times and bad. I have some of the best friends (and husband too)  a girl could ever ask for-- something that has been new in my life the past couple years and there are no words to really describe how thankful I am.

Sure, there are things in my life, like I bet there are in yours, that you'd like to change-- that you aren't grateful for-- but for this week I will choose to say thanks knowing that the good far surmounts the bad.

May you have a joy filled season with whomever is around your Thanksgiving table this year, knowing that as I count my blessings, you my church, you faithful blog readers, and you dear friends are among them.