I won’t write next week as we break for Thanksgiving – my favorite holiday. In 2014, I wrote about developing a list of people who have impacted my life. This exercise helped me be more grateful for family members, friends, teachers, authors, musicians, and other followers of Jesus who have helped me draw closer to Him.
Almost a year before that, I put together another list of more than fifty trips God had allowed me to take since a cancer diagnosis in 2000. (Since then, He has permitted many more.) Once again, this remembrance caused me to praise God and thank Him for His marvelous faithfulness.
I’ve formed another list and would encourage you to do something similar. Thanksgiving should always be on the lips of God’s children. How kind He is to us! “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us – that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are!” (I John 3:1)
Write down important dates or seasons in your life, and the reasons for their significance. Perhaps you remember the day you were baptized, or the day you met your spouse. We all remember anniversaries and birthdays of loved ones.
I remember the day I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (my 41st birthday) and the times I had to enter the hospital for lengthy treatments. I remember taking our entire family to visit my brother in Cape Town, South Africa, shortly after recovering from a stem cell transplant. As we were deciding whether to purchase airline tickets, I confessed I was too weak and didn’t think I could make the trip. The kids disagreed: “Of course you can! God will give you strength!” And He did.
While sadness accompanies dates of loss, memories of loved ones live within us and bless us. God is present in every moment… and we can give Him thanks.
As I travel on life’s pathway,
Know not what the years may hold.
As I ponder, hope grows fonder,
Precious memories flood my soul.
Precious memories, how they linger,
How they ever flood my soul.
In the stillness of the midnight,
Precious sacred scenes unfold.
(J.B.F Wright, 1925)
“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen You in the sanctuary and beheld Your power and glory. Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You. I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise You. On my bed I remember You; I think of You through the watches of the night. Because You are my help, I sing in the shadow of Your wings. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:1-8