Saturday, November 30, 2013

Over the River and Through the Woods

We spent Thanksgiving in the Steel City. Forgive the crummy iphone snaps. They're all I've got, people. A shiny new SLR is on my list for Santa this year.

It was a quick trip, and great to be home. Our hours were filled to the brim. Superheroes raced through the hallways and selfies with toddlers were a fun new diversion while the bird was carved.

My sis and I continued our tradition of getting up in the middle of the night and trudging out to slay the Christmas lists. Mom met us at Pamela's for greasy, crispy Lyonnaise potatoes and crepe pancakes lopping over the sides of the plate. We were in our happy place.

Then it was home again, home again, jiggity jig. My kids are great car sleepers. Bless it.

Summing up gratitude into words on a page has proved difficult for me this year. I believe in the power of words, but even words can only go so far.

I'm grateful for peace that has passed my understanding. It has permeated my new home and filled each room. It has settled over my marriage and given me a greater measure of love and respect for my husband. It has filled my children's hearts - I can see it in their faces. I can hear it in their voices. I can feel it as I tuck their little bodies into their beds at night. They've left so much behind, and yet they are thriving. Only God could do this.

I'm grateful for joy. What an unexpected surprise it has been. There have been days this Fall when every part of me has felt heavy, weighed down by the loss of things that meant something to me. And yet, joy was there, refusing to heed my heart's call for it to get lost. I wanted to wallow in the heaviness. I wanted to stay in bed. But then there was a sunrise stretched across the backyard, bathing my kitchen in a pink glow as I sipped coffee and pondered the day ahead. There was the text from a new friend I was determined to ignore, asking where I had been yesterday, why wasn't I there, and where were my kids, why didn't they come? You were missed, the friend said. You were missed. There was the coffee shop I discovered down the block from Chloe's dance class, full of rag-a-muffin students huddled over good coffee and thick books. I'd order a latte in a big mug and sit by the window, looking out into this new city of mine, the weight lifting slowly as I got lost in the possibilities of new things. Only God could do this.

I'm grateful for a deeper understanding of the God I love. When you're on the mountaintop, you read the Words when you can fit them in among your busyness, half paying attention. When you're in the valley, you're desperate for the Words to be true. And when He proves Himself, when He takes one of those promises and shows you that it's true, that you can trust Him, you are amazed. You are changed. Nothing and no one can take that from you. Only God could do this.

Happy Thanksgiving, sweet friends. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you will overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. {Romans 15:13}

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