Several years ago I was listening to a radio station, it was the new year of whatever year it was... The beginning of January, the station challenged their listeners to come up with a word for the year to focus on, maybe something needing attention in life... something that keeps coming up... after weeks of thinking about it, praying about it - my word became real.
Real relationships, real people, real tangible outreach... Real me. Transformative and yet so simple. I have tried other words in the years proceeding but none have stuck like real and sometimes I go back to real when I feel myself saying "yes" to things not needing a yes, when I allow myself to get sucked into a situation which doesn't require me... when I have slid away from real in an attempt to fit into someone else's mold of real.
I am "real"ly me. I cannot be undone or changed by someone else's version of me... I want and desire real relationships and I want real tangible outreach - I still don't fit into a box but all of that might be for another blog...
This time is meant for Thanksgiving... real Thanks...
Thanksgiving is defined as the act of giving thanks, a prayer expressing gratitude, a public celebration of divine goodness. My personal favorite definition, An act of giving thanks; an expression of gratitude, especially to God.
Expressing gratitude, especially to God.
Eucharisteo, of Greek origin, meaning to be grateful, feel thankful and to give thanks.
The first time I heard this word was at a Women of Faith Conference, Ann Voskamp was speaking and I was riveted. Her story was real and I sat on the edge of my seat. Eucharisteo, thankful in all things, for all things... grateful in all things and for all things. Joyfully thankful and grateful. These words, now hang in red in my kitchen.
Thankful, grateful and joyful in all seasons at all times, giving thanks... even when it's hard to do. I can think of a few times since that conference when giving thanks didn't make sense... like my husbands sudden job loss, my broken ankle and subsequent surgery, the loss of a friend... finding joy in those moments for more time at home and organization, the joy in someone sending an unexpected way to pay for groceries, learning how to trust our community of "real" people or celebrating the life of someone so beautiful who touched so many...
This week, this day, I am thankful for the things unseen. For walks and talks with my children. For being privileged to be their mommy and hold their hands while they make me laugh and cry.
Thankful for relationships which surpass understanding, those relationships which remain solid when the rest of the world passes judgement and says it's time to throw in the towel... thankful that my husband and I remain faithful and true to our vows beforefore God and have stuck it out.
Thankful and grateful for the dozen women whom I consider my "porch-people"; those friendships which don't make sense... the women who don't want to "one-up", "climb-over" or "walk-on" someone else to get ahead. The women who come along side, bear-burdens, hold hands and hold me up when I need it the most and most importantly, allow me to do the same. Those women who I do life with... locally and across the miles - you know who you are and I love you, am thankful for you and feel blessed.
I am thankful for my little church and the body that make up the church, we are few but we are mighty. We do life a little differently than most and it's hard sometimes and messy sometimes but its amazing all the time.... Joyfully thankful and grateful.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men, the Lord is at hand. 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 4:4-7
And as they were eating, Jesus took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat: this is My body." Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. For this is my blood which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Matthew 26:26-28
Then He said to Thomas, " Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving but believing." And Thomas answered and said to HIm,"My Lord and My God!" Jesus said to Him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not see and yet have believed."