Thursday, November 23, 2017

WHAT AM I THANKFUL FOR...REALLY?

This is Thanksgiving morning; I'm not cooking the turkey this year (my son-in-law is) and I'm enjoying the leisure.  Yesterday my daughter and I spent our first day away with the children.  On the way back from the zoo, we talked again about my marriage to her father, just a random conversation that answered some questions for her and brought back memories, some I would rather not entertain.  My mentor in the area of expressive writing and its benefits is Kay Adams, creator of The Center for Journal Therapy.  She wears a lot of hats:  therapist, teacher, blogger, editor of a series of books as well as an author herself.  She would say that my brain will go automatically to those bad memories and bad feelings of regret until I intentionally re-frame things.  That, fortunately, is easy to do.  It goes to the heart of who I am and it answers the question, "What am I thankful for, really?"

While I have memories of bad judgment on my part and logical consequences: eventual divorce, bankruptcy, failure in career and in relationships, this all pales in comparison to the overwhelming joy I have known in being loved by God.  How do I know this, you ask?  I know this because over and over, people have come into my life (our lives) as friends and guides toward a more fruitful and blessed life. Those who know me know that my children and grand-children are obvious joys. But what else is it that makes me recognize another dimension beyond the natural, human one?

My young husband and I had both grown up in church, but of course that is no guarantee that a child will automatically find God for herself, himself.  About a year after we were married, we ended up in Long Beach, California, where my husband enrolled at Long Beach State as a student and I got a job working in an office.  Karen and Butch and Don and Birdie will probably never read this blog, but they were the angels God sent to help Bob and me.  Birdie was a receptionist at that college when I went up to her desk to buy a stamp.  We had driven around the town and picked out a church we'd like to visit.   I said, "It has a funny sign out front (Jesus Saves) but the building is lovely, I want to visit."  Birdie and Don were members there, and it was there on a Wednesday evening Bible study that I "heard" the message that I needed to respond to God's love, to believe on His Son and invite Him into my life.  I did and that was the beginning of my life with Him.  

About that time, a piece of mail blew out of a mailbox near us; when I returned it to our next-door neighbors, they just happened to also love Jesus and they became our second angel couple, loving us and being our friends.  Over and over again, I can look back over my life and see how God's love has been expressed to me through people.  It's not that we always made good decisions or never had to struggle.  Sometimes it was traumatic.  But always either through reading the Scriptures (how God typically speaks to His children) or through people I happen to encounter, God shows up to teach, guide or encourage me.  And that is what I am thankful for, really. 

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