I am departing today from posting from my journal while visiting my missionary son on the field where he serves, to share some thoughts about Thanksgiving.

THANKFULNESS

My husband and I shared a beautiful Thanksgiving with our 3 daughters and their families. We did something quite out of the ordinary for us and traveled to a place in the Smokies to celebrate this special day. It was a Thanksgiving that exceeded my expectations and while it lasted only 4 days the happy memories we packed into that short time will last us a lifetime.

Yet as wonderful as it was to celebrate Thanksgiving together, one family group was sorely missed by all of us.  There’s always the temptation to feel sorry for ourselves when we can’t be with loved ones on Thanksgiving Day, but even more so when those loved ones are thousands of miles away. And I am just as tempted as any missionary mom would be who has to be separated from one of their children on Thanksgiving Day.

But as I opened Facebook this morning to send greetings to my son, daughter in law, and grandson, I came upon a post from a young man who serves alongside my son there in Africa. His words touched my heart and allowed me to get this Thanksgiving, apart from my son, into perspective. I would like to share it with you:

Thanksgiving thoughts from a missionary!

This is will be our first thanksgiving without our family! It is really at times like these that home (America) becomes very real. Especially now that we don’t have a place to call home. We sure do miss our dear families and our friends during this time. We will definitely miss a great American thanksgiving meal and fried turkey with our family. We are very thankful for the family and team mates that God has blessed us with here. We are thankful that God has placed us in this country at such a time as this. We are so very thankful for what God has and is consistently teaching us. 

We are definitely in a fierce battle here in Africa, every day is a battle and we sure are fighting back and I do believe we still have a lot more of fighting left in us. We have our families, our wonderful team mates and amazing prayer warriors and partners in the US along side us. To be honest, some days we get our butts kicked here and other days we come out victorious. We just have to take it one day and one battle at a time. As my dear friend and team member (insert by me: that would be my son)  reminded me yesterday, (on a head pounding, bumpy road) we did NOT come to this land to watch,wait or get tired of fighting, we came here to fight (for the souls of the those God has called us to serve), we can’t give up or get tried, THIS is what we signed up for, THIS is OUR divine calling. We are so ready and excited about the task that is ahead of us and so thankful for the task that God has bestowed on us.

As you contemplated what you were thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day, did you thank God for the task that He has bestowed upon you?  I confess I had not.  My thoughts of thankfulness focused more on the abundance of those things that God had given me to enjoy.  And while this abundance should be acknowledge with a grateful heart, the words of my son reminded me that my gratitude is incomplete if that’s where it ends.  

The blessings my Heavenly Father has bestowed upon me, I am reminded, are given to me for the expressed purpose of being used as instruments to fulfill the divine calling He has bestowed upon my life.  Somehow and in some way each of those blessings are designed to encourage, challenge, inspire, enable, and assist me in the task to which God has called me.

Here are a few verses to remind us of an additional perspective on thankfulness!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 4:15 
All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

1 Chronicles 16:8 
Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.