Wednesday, November 24, 2010

When Thanksgiving Goes Missing


"God is sometimes the strength of His people, when He is not their song"
IVP NT Commentary on Psalm 118

Have you ever been there--are you there now--where God is holding you together, but your heart just cannot find a song?  You want to sing, but you don't have the spiritual breath it takes to run the notes through your vocal chords.  You WANT to be thankful--but REALLY thankful, not just listing gratitude because you're SUPPOSED TO and you know you SHOULD be thankful for so many things.  Underneath the debris of current hardships, you are actually thankful for these things but you can hardly find them in the clutter of your messy emotions.  You're fighting the cloying fumes of fear that everything you're thankful for today might be gone tomorrow because you're thinking of things you've already lost.

Uh-huh . . . me too.

So where do you run to find the real from-the-inside-out kind of gratitude that makes Thanksgiving spring out of you like a song?

Will turkey and pumpkin pie and family gathered around the fireplace get you there?

That's a start, and certainly those are precious gifts from the God who loves you and who created the whole idea of celebration in the first place, but no, by themselves, these are not enough to get you all the way to real gratitude.  For me, no matter how wonderful the celebration with my husband's family is (and it is truly wonderful!) and no matter how much they have added to my life (more than I can express!), Thanksgiving is always laced with missing too.

I miss being with my own family, all far away, and I haven't had a Thanksgiving with all of my side of the family since I was a little girl.  I miss my Mom & Daddy and all our inside jokes and family words no one else knows. I miss my brothers and their teasing!   I miss pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes and gravy--Hero Husband's family (who are extraordinarily talented in the kitchen) loves sweet potato pie and macaroni and cheese instead, which I also love and wouldn't trade away, but I miss MY things. I miss my Grandma Ellen's Scalloped Corn and my Grandma Laurene playing the organ and saying, "Bless your heart!" I miss hearing the genetic harmony of Mom, Grandma Ellen and Auntie Marilyn laughing together--their combined joy was the most contagious sound I've ever heard!  I miss sneaking off to watch football with Daddy and the other men and boy cousins while I was expected to be in the kitchen with the women.  I miss Grandpa Earl's stories and how they opened him up and made him laugh. I miss Grandpa Dale's feisty-sweet ways and his generous heart.  Grandma Ellen and Grandpa Earl, Grandma Laurene and Grandpa Dale are all with Jesus now--I miss them.

I miss. The way. It was.

Where are you Lord?  Help me find Thanksgiving again!

He reminds me how I love the first line of the 23rd Psalm in French--

"L'Eternel est mon berger.
      Je ne manquerai de rien."  

The Everlasting is my shepherd.  I shall miss nothing.

I. Shall. Miss. Nothing.

I shall miss NOTHING!

In His Presence, we won't miss ANYTHING!!!  Someday when we are with Him in Eternity there will be no such thing as missing, no such thing as lack!  There will only be overflowing love and songs of gratitude and feasting and sharing and celebrating and laughing like nothing we've ever known on earth!  Even now, His Presence with us can fill our emptiness if we will let Him.  He is the Heart-Keeper, and He keeps everything our hearts hold dear, so we can trust Him with our gratitude.  He isn't just setting us up for more loss.  L'Eternel pours His everlastingness into our fleeting moments and captures them forever.  They are not lost--ever!


Maybe we have to look forward in order to be to be thankful for the here and now, for surely what glitters here is only "a foretaste of glory divine."  Maybe we have to let our missing remind us of how blessed we are to have experienced times and things and people so beautiful that we miss them when they're away from us.  Maybe giving ourselves fully to every moment as it happens will give us new joys we haven't even anticipated.  Maybe seeing God's loving hand in every good and perfect gift, past, present and future will slay our fears and release our voices in thankful song!!

Trust the Heart-Keeper, L'Eternel!

"O GIVE thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!
~~
The Lord is my Strength and Song;
and He has become my Salvation."



If you're struggling with gratitude this Thanksgiving season, I pray that you will open your heart to the Heart-Keeper, the One who, if you put your faith in His Son Jesus Christ, cannot lose you!  I pray that you will trust God with your gratitude, knowing that ultimately you shall miss nothing!  I pray for God's richest and sweetest blessings on you and your family this Thanksgiving and always.  May you experience Him as both your strength AND song!! And as my Grandma Laurene would say, Bless Your Heart!!



holy experience

2 comments:

Laura N. Farrar said...

So beautifully written and expressed! I often get stuck in missing too... I miss my childhood, the friends I have lost, my family far away, and those that have moved on in life without me, and it is disheartening. But I try to remember that I am made complete IN HIM. As you said, He is our Heart-Keeper (I love that mental image!), and He provides every good thing, even if it is His will to take it away.

Many blessings this Thanksgiving!

Shaunie Friday @ Up the Sunbeam said...

Thank you sweet Laura! Happy Thanksgiving!!

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