Two thoughts swirl through my brain this November of 2017: the rapid ending of another year and the Thanksgiving season.
How can I find hope and share it as the calendar ends?
In retrospect, 2017 was not a favorite year. Too many life-changing moments. Emotional whiplash.
Yet gratitude simmers in three areas, ironically each beginning with the letter “F”:
Family – We meet with families during the holiday season – for better or for worse. Some families struggle through dysfunctions while others deal with the stress through avoidance. Yet having a family can be a definite blessing.
My concept of family expanded this year. It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a family to support that child – even as she ages.
My blood relatives visited in October, a rare and delightful event. My son continues to provide support, manly hugs and a companion when cheering for the Jayhawks. He is also my resident IT guy who keeps me from gnashing my teeth when the internet rebels.
Deb’s relatives became family as we bonded during those traumatic days in the ICU. I watched her children rally together and care for their mother – such a touching tableau of love. They included me in final days and in honoring their mother at her memorial service. We became family in the tragedy and grow closer as we share our grieving process.
My extended family of writers, clients, friends – all of them vital for building my hope. Without these connections, I would not grow as a person, could not feel empowered for living.
Followers – You are often strangers, yet by your support of this blog, we become familiar. You help me grow a brand and encourage me with your comments.
When a new follower joins my tribe, the message of hope expands to another corner of cyberspace. Hopefully, these words also expand to warm your hearts and invite you to a place of joyful camaraderie.
As a blogger, I am grateful for each follower and take seriously the commitment to post each week – to invite you to find hope with me.
Faith – To be honest, the events of this year have rocked my world. Resigning from full-time ministry, then losing Deb has shaken my spiritual moorings. This emotional tsunami is a common side effect of grief. At some point, we all cry out, “Why God? Why?”
Yet my fictional character, Reverend G, reminds us the question may be “Why?” but the answer is “Who.”
Even when I cannot pray the divine One prays for me. Even when I feel shaky, it is not MY belief that is important but rather the truth that God Himself will not let me go.
At the beginning of 2017, God promised to uphold me. In those frosty January days, I had no idea what that promise would mean nor how tightly I would cling to it. But now I know. This year is measured not so much by what has happened as by Who upheld me through those happenings.
So as I close out November of 2017, I am grateful for these three entities: Family, Followers and Faith. Each has increased my capacity for hope. All have added value to my days.
May your Thanksgiving season also expand into grateful expressions of hope.
©2017 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
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The promise I cling to is from the King James version because that is the way I memorized it as a child. “Faith is a gift from God, less any man should boast.” It is not my job to work at faith: it is my job to receive it as a gift. At so many times it seems my faith is so weak and that is when I find myself working and trying to deserve faith. Then I have to stop and remember God’s gift and receive it. Sometimes the faith I receive is only enough for the step I am on. I found a saying that also helps me remember:
“When you come to the edge of all that you have known and must take a step into the darkness either there will be something solid to stand on or you will fly.”
I love that quote, Ginger. Thanks for the comment and for sharing about your faith.
Reflecting. A crucial component of tranquil living in a world of unpredictables. Your purposeful reflections stir me to reflect more. And thereby grow. Thank you.
I appreciate the comment, Jerry. Reflections and growth – always a worthy endeavor.