Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How To Have an Authentic Thanksgiving When Your Life Has Been Turned Upside Down. . .Day #26 of Thankfulness

I will cook my Turkey this Thanksgiving without my mother, without my son, without the cutest white fur ball at my feet, hoping I will drop something; and without asking my dad for advice. I might call him just for tradition sake.  But the thief of memory stormed his doors awhile ago. How do you continue to be Thankful when the pain runs deep and the ache so strong.

Elijah will never come home. No matter how I stare at the bed and picture him playing on his ipad. . .No matter how much I try to make him there. He's not. And never will be again. Oh, God, how this hurts. I want to make it all go away. I want my family back in tact. I want to hear his steps on the stairs, hear his car in the driveway. The relief that always came when he walked in the door.
Is that normal? Does everyone else have the same fear?
Each time he left,

I wondered if it would be his last.
I would search for his shoes by the bench or his keys hanging from the hook. Even at 11 pm the night he journeyed to meet Jesus. I looked.
Did my spirit know he was to walk this earth for such a short time?
If we had known, would we have done anything differently?
I don't think so.
We loved, we laughed, we fought.
We tried the best we could to live this life, this side of eternity with all the grace we could.
I am sure we could have done better.
But we did our best.
I can't have Elijah back.
I need to see with grace from heaven the future God has for us here. I will continue to seek for that which I am thankful. To dwell on the grief leaves me empty and worn. But to gaze on the One who gave His life as a ransom for our souls; that brings peace. Oh, such sweet peace in the midst of the torment, the unknown, the fear. To know that He has it all. That God will bring about,
His wonderful goodness, in His time, is a treasure to behold.
When I get the mail there is a package. 
It is from one of mom's dearest friends.
What is inside leaves me undone. I cry and a wail escapes, because this living without your son is hard stuff. Mom's friend was her Secret Pal once, and she gave mom Willow Tree figures. Oh, how mom loved them. Each one a symbol of a struggle she was going through, or a joy she had encountered. They still sit perched on her beautiful cabinet in the living room. Reminding us of the beautiful friendship and the joy mixed in the struggle. Now, it is my turn. The package is a Willow Tree figurine.
 I am not prepared for what's inside.

Elijah's life is through here on this earth. But I am convinced that God will continue to send people to minister to us in so many ways. He will not be forgotten. And we will continue to experience sweet grace through those around us.

Day #26 of Thankfulness

I am Thankful for:
Packages in the mail
a letter in the same mail, with a copy of a letter of recommendation a teacher wrote for Elijah
a mother whose lessons learned living with cancer are my treasure and example
A God who sees and loves us unconditionally
A tangible hug when I think I can't bear it anymore
A grain salesman that cares enough to be involved
other friends who are coming alongside this farm to buoy us through this harsh winter in our lives
the sunshine yesterday
another evening watching Christmas movies and just being together
the trip Chels, Adam and Lilah are making to be with us
meals that I don't have to think about
time to work on bookwork because someone else is cooking, even though I love to cook I am amazed at how much energy grieving takes. . .
this journey of intentionally being thankful, I am changed
prayer, and my quiet times with the Lord
my farmer who works so hard to make sure the animals are more comfortable than him

God is good, not because of what He does, but because of who He is.
       -Sheri Wolcott

I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done.” 
― Elisabeth ElliotPassion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ's Control

Today, I will begin the preparations for Thanksgiving because I am Thankful. . .for oh so many things.
I will cry to Jesus and long for him to make all things right.

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