I always feel a little weird around Thanksgiving. I can remember my Mom cooking her heart out, family showing up and all the food on the table. As the day progressed, some family members would get into arguments or heated discussions around the table. By the end of the night, when everyone had gone home and the leftovers were put away, my Mom would sit down and take a deep breath. “Thank God that is over,” she would say. I was used to this and I knew that my Mom had worked so hard not only on cooking the dinner but on playing referee during these family “discussions.” I really just did not know how she could do all that work. It always amazed me.
Well, that was years ago and now I am the Mom. Yikes! So I will cook all day, make sure the house is spotless, the table neatly and beautifully set and everyone happily seated around the table. My husband will rake leaves, mow the lawn, clean off old chairs that are needed for extra guests, and rub my shoulders when I am stressing out. Yes, everything will be perfect.
But everything is far from perfect. My parents are in another state. For the last almost 10 years that I have lived in Ohio, Mom and Dad have never come out. Yes, they are getting older and have medical issues that make it hard to travel. I understand all of that and we have seen each other because I do travel to see them but it would have been so wonderful to have them here at my table. I know that when I sit down to eat tomorrow, I will be thinking of them and how much I wish they were here. My other dilemma is my children. My oldest daughter will be here along with her boyfriend. I am so blessed to have her and I know that but I do wish that she would further her career, that she wouldn’t have to always worry about money, that her boyfriend would get a car and a job where he could make more money. She is 27 years old and still lives like a teen. Will I ever see a wedding? Will I ever see a grandchild? My youngest daughter is another story. She is with the wrong guy for sure, living in her car, addicted to pills which she still won’t admit. The two of them have done so many bad things that even their friends are sick of bailing them out. Needless to say, having her boyfriend in my house will not happen. There is just too much bad blood. While I don’t blame him for everything, I do admit that before he entered into my child’s life, things were going very well. She had a great job as a medical assistant, learning x-ray technology, dealing with patients and even having the chance to go to college and become whatever she wanted. She threw it all away for a bad guy and a stupid pill. I want to help her so much but she won’t let me. I am torn at whether or not to invite her for dinner. Her older sister is so mad, hurt and angry at her. My husband is just sick with worry about her and obviously does not have any cozy feelings about the boyfriend. Even though I miss my baby, I can’t even count on her for my Thanksgiving table. The youngest child, a boy also went down the wrong path. My stepson is now spending his Thanksgiving in prison. We pray and hope to God that when he gets out, he starts a new, sober and happy life.
So, how do I feel about this holiday? I am aware that I should be thankful for what I have and I am. I know that God wants me to count my blessings and I do every day, but it is so hard sometimes. I also know that this feeling of guilt, sadness and envy are ways that Satan tries to enter into our brains and cause us anguish and heartache therefore forcing us to forget about Jesus and His love for us. I want so much for my children, I want them to have the best lives they can and I don’t want them to always have to struggle. It physically hurts my heart to think about how much I want for them and how hard they make their lives. My in laws will be here for dinner and yes, I do love them very much but they are not MY parents. Why can’t my Mom and Dad be here? My Mother-in-law also invited her friends for dinner. They are a very nice older couple who have no where to go for Thanksgiving so I told my Mother-in-law to invite them to my dinner. But they are not my family. Shouldn’t Thanksgiving be about family?
Yes, I have allowed the nagging, hurting thoughts to enter into my head today, the day before Thanksgiving. I have to try hard to believe that Jesus has my heart, that He knows exactly what He is doing and that I have to trust in Him. A favorite message enters my head and I know that Jesus put it there for me to remember. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5) This message reminds me to put all my burdens, worry and fears in God’s hands. I do know that He is guiding me. All I have to do is hold out my hand.
All of us have negative thoughts once in a while. It is natural and it is human. The holidays are very stressful and in the midst of trying to make things perfect, we forget about the love of Jesus. We get depressed thinking about family issues, the turkey being too dry, not enough food, arguing relatives and all the prep work, clean up and little details that bring us down. How about for this year, we forget about all that stuff. We should REALLY be thankful for the blessings that we are given. That is what I have decided to do. I will count my blessings. Mom and Dad may not be here but I will be on the phone with them. We will be traveling to see them in the next 2 weeks and that will be wonderful. We will all get a chance to be together. My youngest daughter may be in a horrible state at this time. But I believe that one day she will be better, she will see the light. She will make it, she is too smart not to. There is a light inside her and I believe that it will shine bright again. I do have that faith and I know that Jesus is watching over her. My stepson will be out of prison in May. I have faith that God hears my prayers and that this child will make it, he will be a better man and make the right decisions so crucial to his life. I will enjoy every minute with my oldest daughter. We will laugh, eat a lot and have a great time. I am blessed for my in laws. They will help me during the day and offer their love and happiness at the table. The friends of theirs will also have a nice time. I will make them feel loved, wanted and festive. I also will remember one of my biggest blessings, my husband who always has my back and who always finds the right way to help.
It is true that we all have difficulties and it is true that the start of the holidays can cause stress and depression. I chose to stop that this year. I chose to listen to the Lord and be happy, positive and thankful for my home, blessings and family. Jesus has my hand in His and I will keep holding on tight!!!
Happy Thanksgiving! Be Blessed and trust in the Lord.