Here we are. Thanksgiving week. I distinctly remember furiously scrubbing my sink this time last year in preparation for my dad's arrival. He, of course, would not ever have any thoughts about my sink, but for whatever reason, it became my standard of ready.
Much has happened in the last year. Most notably, but not alone, is the passing of my mom. For those of you who have also suffered loss in its diverse forms, you know the onset of The Holiday Season can be deemed "the best of times, and the worst of times", as Dickens would so aptly share. I am by my nature, thank the Lord, a positive person. I tend to look at the bright side, for the best in people, for the reasons to celebrate. And left to my own devices, I know I would power through with a smile on my face.
Which is why I am so thankful I'm not left to my own devices. Thankful I don't have to grin and bear "it", thankful I don't have to keep the welling tide of sadness down with flimsy sandbags of my own crafting, thankful I don't have to pretend everything is perfect when it's not (Unless it's on Instagram. Then it is perfect). Thankful I don't have to manipulate people and situations to do my bidding, thankful I don't have to control others as a means of controlling myself. Thankful I don't have to scrub the hard water stains on my sink as if they alone reveal my story.
There was a time, unfortunately, when I was more "Praise the Lord!" when everything was going my way (don't misunderstand, I do praise Him for the blessings!). Then I started growing up. Life's wounds and disappointments, both those brought about from my own choices and those brought about by others, have taught me there is no greater reason to offer praise than having a Savior who understands my pain. Even when I'm limping, I can boldly approach His throne. When I'm sad and frustrated and tired I can call on the name of the Lord and know I am heard -- and I am encouraged, made peaceful and energized. I can receive comfort no thing can provide. I can be filled with a joy no faulty experience can sustain.
This Thanksgiving, I am sad. I miss my mom and all the chances I had to tell her how thankful I am for her. But I'm not going to be a turkey about it. I'm choosing to let this season of grief have its place, but not a home. Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted, and I'm co-laboring with Him to believe and receive. The process is one of the mysteries of Jesus in my life: that for a time, sadness and joy can co-exist in my heart. And this year, I'm extremely thankful for these unlikely dance partners. I want to give my husband and my kids and our guests the best of Jesus through me, and it can only happen when He is Jesus in me.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-8)
Are you approaching the Thanksgiving and Christmas season with gritted teeth set in resolve? I invite you to join me in resting in the surpassing peace of God. There, you don't have to choose between sadness and joy through dysfunctional fits of extremes (oh, I can't be the only one!). You only have to choose to allow Jesus into your pain. Allow Him to be more; more than your fears, more than your confusion, more than your grief, more than your doubts, more than your anger. He understands.
Choose Jesus. Or, in other words, don't be a turkey.