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Encouraging Thanksgiving during the Thanksgiving Season

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and will be a bittersweet celebration for my family this year. Although I usually look forward to the opportunity to take a couple days off before Thanksgiving to focus on making my favorite Thanksgiving foods with my children, this year will be different. My daughter Laura will be getting married January 3, and is making final preparations to not only get married but move to Clarksville, TN to be with her husband-to-be, Brandon. They will be stationed at Ft Campbell. As most of you already know, this will be our family’s first Thanksgiving and holiday season without my late husband Duane who passed on to glory in April of this year.

I have decided that instead of focusing on the busyness of the holidays and a wedding, that I want to focus on Thanksgiving, I mean all the ways, large and small, God has met me in this difficult year. I’ll be honest, there have been some very rugged challenges and I continue to struggle my way through denial, anger, and grief on a regular basis. I’m determined to begin a “Thanksgiving Journal” to record God’s faithfulness through this year and through the holiday season.

Monday, I wrestled with worry and anxiety about some computer/business issues as well as wedding concerns and I really wondered if I was going to get through the day. By Tuesday morning, I realized all three things I worried and fretted over all day Monday had positive outcomes as of Tuesday morning, (yesterday). I knew I needed to record these small victories before I forget.

Just recently I learned that 40% of what we worry about never happens, 30% of our worries is over the past, 12% is over matters of which we have no control, and 8% are legitimate concerns. Well, I may not have the percentages exactly right, but Tuesday morning (yesterday) I realized I worried needlessly and I needed to focus on thankfulness.

I suspect you and I are a bit like the Israelites who quickly forgot all the miraculous things God did for them to get them to the promised land alone! Well, it just seems like the month of November is the time to focus on Thanksgiving more and the food preparations less. Perhaps you will be challenged to join me and begin a little prayer notebook filled with things to be thankful for, answered prayers to unnecessary worries and scriptural promises that we can cling to and claim during difficulties.

Here are two scriptures that have been getting me through:
Phil 4:6-7- “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 34:8,19 “O taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man that trusteth in him…Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.”

I know I am not the only one who had some serious setbacks in 2008, I would love to hear from others of you and ask that you share the scriptures with me and others that have helped you through trial after trial this past year.  Please post your comments or email me at marilyn@urbanhomemaker.com with the scriptures that get you through trials.  Let’s encourage one-another during this Thanksgiving season.

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10 comments to Encouraging Thanksgiving during the Thanksgiving Season

  • admin

    Hello,
    I am just writing to say that my prayers are with you during the holidays. I understand how difficult they can be. We buried my father on Thanksgiving day when I was only 10 years old. I am now 66 and still think of that each Thanksgiving day. I also lost my husband of 25 years in 1984 of a massive heart attack. HE was 42 yrs old. Then in 2001, just two weeks after the Twin Towers attack, I lost my 41 year old son to a massive heart attack. And now my present husband—I met and married him 9 years after my first husband passed away—-he is now going through cancer treatments and I am dealing with this now. I wanted to tell you that God will see you through. He has been so good to me in all this. My verse that I rely on is about God taking care of the sparrows. One day , shortly after my first husband died, in the middle of a cold winter, I stood in a window watching some sparrows eating at my bird feeder and it was as though God said to me, I take care of the sparrows, I will take care of you. And he has. I lost that house because my husband had no insurance and I was left on my own to take care of myself. I went to work and managed to survive until I met my second husband and now we struggle together. I dont’ mean to ramble on. I just wanted to let you know someone cares about you. I do and so does God. Sincerely Arlene

  • My prayers are with you this Holiday season, too. My father passed away suddenly of a heart attack when I was a child and I remember only too well the Holidays after he was gone.

    This has been a very difficult year for us and I find myself spending a lot of time in the Psalms, just gathering strength.

    If there is one verse that has pulled me through, it is “His mercies are new every morning”. So often at the end of the day I find myself quite fatigued physically, mentally, and spiritually.

    It is amazing to me what a good night’s sleep and some time spent in the Word will do each day. He truly does give me the grace I need for each day and the hope for that which follows.

  • admin

    Dear Marilyn,

    We first “met” you when we were stationed overseas and we ordered from you. I remember one time when my husband was talking in a hushed voice on the telephone…and it was with you!…he was placing an order for me and wanted to surprise me. I’ll never forget the look on his face, he was so sweet. We’ve continued to use your bread recipe thru out the years. Without having met you, I feel like we have.

    And so my heart aches for the loss of your husband. I will keep you in prayer, especially with the holidays and your daughter’s wedding approaching.

    This yr was also a trying one for us. We had a house flood, days later we lost a dear young friend in a tragic work accident, and just days later I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I thought Dec 07 and Jan 08 were months of only tears and that I would never smile or laugh again. But the Lord reminded me of His name, Emmanuel – God with us…God with me…promising to never leave nor forsake me. So many times He has reminded me of that in such a variety of ways…I’m so thankful for a personal God who knows the very need and cry of my heart.

    My prayers are with you, Marilyn. Emmanuel is with you!

    2 Thess. 3:16,
    LG

  • Lori

    Dear Marilyn,
    Just found your website today and appreciate your sharing in the midst of all that’s going on with you. My husband has serious health challenges and we are facing selling a family business we have owned for the past 9 years. It looks like I need to seek employment to supplement his disability payments. Our teenage daughter is struggling. In the midst of these challenges I know my main priority after my relaionship to God is my husband and home. I’ll be looking forward to reading from your site. Bless you as you keep your journal and see His many blessings (some not so quickly seen). I will join you with my own list! This verse has been a huge comfort lately: “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed says the Lord who has compassion on you.” Is. 54:11
    Grace and peace,
    Lori

  • Sometimes when I am driving down the road and I am passing the cars and traffic, I think how each person has their own load to bear and how massive the pain and hurt is in the world. I often, with the best intentions, try to encourage people and then wonder if what i said made their situation worse but there is something that I would like to share and when i am overwhelmed and fear or whatever feeling comes in that shouldn’t be here…I remind myself that God is not surprised over what is happening, He isn’t thinking, “oh, that was bad timing” or “wow, i didn’t expect that” I do find comfort in knowing that God knows and is never caught off guard and that He loves each of us so very much. I don’t know why things happen the way they do sometimes but I love that you are keeping a thanksgiving journal. I’m babbling and hope that what i wrote will help someone out there remember that God is the Prince of Peace and if He is in our hearts, then we should have peace no matter what the situation.

    May God reveal Himself to each of you in a very special way.
    Susannah

  • admin

    Ed Note: The following is from a longtime customer I had lost touch with. What a blessing to receive her note:

    I have wanted to write to you but unsure if you would want to receive a note from a stranger. I did not hear about Duane until a couple months ago. I wept as I read your blog; all the while knowing that God would be faithful to get you and your children through the immense grief and sorrow. I can say this because God has been faithful to me in the loss of my dear sister.

    She was my elder sister by eight years. She led me to the Lord when I was a teenager. In the early 90’s she introduced me to bread making; having bought her mill and Bosch from you. After attending one of your bread baking classes in your home kitchen (where I also met Duane) I too decided to bake homemade bread. I was active with this for quite some time, until I went back to graduate school. Most recently I have been baking again. My teenage daughter exclaimed, “Oh Mom! I’m so excited you are making this bread again!” I didn’t realize how much she had liked it. I really do love making this bread.

    Jesus said that he is the bread of life. My sister introduced me to bread that sustains me physically but more importantly she introduced me to Jesus – the one who sustains all of my life (heart, soul, mind and strength). I am forever grateful to the Lord for my sister. I miss her so very much. I lost my sister in the summer of 2007.

    My grief has been immense. It has been over a year now since she died. I am confident she is in complete joy as she is with the Lord. The verse that sustains me is Revelation 7:16-17. It speaks of the final blessedness of God’s people – despite our own imperfections we have this hope that indeed —

    Never again will they hunger;
    never again will they thirst.
    The sun will not beat upon them,
    nor any scorching heat.
    17For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
    he will lead them to springs of living water.
    And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

    Let me end by telling you that I took a trip this past summer (a year after my sister died) – to attend her son’s wedding. What a joyous time we had. My brother-in-law gave me my sister’s. Her children were not needing it, my brother-in-law wasn’t going to use it and so I had asked for it. I have my own mill, but know of a woman who would want one. She is a woman my age (mid-40’s) who has managed to be a single mom to 3 now grown women. She recently graduated from grad school and purchased a foreclosed home (and beautifully fixed it up), all the while working in a ministry job with low pay. My friend is an amazing woman of God. I packed my sister’s mill in my suitcase and brought it back to Colorado to give it to my friend. I knew my sister would be very happy for her to have it. My friend has been making bread now (kneading it by hand) and shares it with many at her little church (some who are homeless) and with people at the place where she works. My heart overflows that my sister’s mill still works after all these years. She used that mill to make many loaves of bread for people who were hurting. My friend continues the legacy.

    May God bless you and your family in ways that will surprise the socks of you Marilyn. He has done this for me, He has done this for you – and He will continue to do so. Amen and Amen.

  • admin

    Sharon Says:

    Hi Marilyn,
    I, too, am having a bit of anxiety about the coming Thanksgiving holiday. My father lost his 4 yr. battle to cancer on August 12 of this year, and this will be our first Thanksgiving without him in over 20 years.

    You asked in your newsletter to share a few of the verses that helps me get through this time of grieving. Here are a few that we had posted where dad could see them at the very end:

    “The Lord knoweth the days of the upright; and their inheritance shall be for ever.”
    ~Psalm 37:18

    “For this God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death.”
    ~Psalm 48:14

    “The Lord is righteous in ALL His ways, and holy in ALL His works.” (emphasis mine)
    ~Psalm 145:17

    and since then, I have clung to others too, such as:

    “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.”
    ~Psalm 31:24

    and then these two that I shared at dad’s funeral:

    “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” ~2 Timothy 4:6-8

    “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” ~Psalm 16:11

    Also,

    “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” ~I Thess. 4:13-14, 18

    and when the sorrow gets the best of me:

    “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?…But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.” ~Psalm 13:2, 5-6

    I hope they help you also. I prayed for you when I heard of your husband passing, as I’m sure many others did. We must remember that God will never leave us nor forsake us; He can turn all things to work for good; and make beauty arise from ashes. Jesus is the Lily of the valley…the beauty that comes from the valley we are in.

    In closing,

    “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” ~2 Cor. 4:8-10

    and

    “Thou are my hiding place; Thou shalt preserve me from trouble; Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.” ~Psalm 32:7

    May God’s love pour over you as a healing balm as you and your dear family set about to honor Him in Thanksgiving in the midst of the loss of your husband.

    Blessings,
    Sharon
    Thanks Sharon – this has been very encouraging to me.

  • Sandi

    HI Marilyn,
    I read your article – the same above – in Lisa’s NHH publication. You and your family have been on my mind and in my prayers today. Sandi

  • My heart goes out to you & your family. We lost two of our children 6 years ago last August. The pain is still sharp. I often pray, “Maranatha!” I’m glad that friends are taking you under their wings for the holiday.

  • Dear One. I have thought of you often and continue to keep you in my thoughts as I seek God’s comfort on your behalf. Thanksgiving Day was my son Nathanael’s second Heavenly birthday. The number of his days was November 27, 2006, making this Thanksgiving a particularly challenging one. But my rejoicing at his reality in Heaven is greater even that my grief at missing him. And the prospect of our reunion fills me with eager anticipation. My treasure is indeed stored up in Heaven.

    This passage has brought us comfort and peace through many hours of grief. 1 Thes 4:13ff. Blessings to you and to all your family.

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