I know that Thanksgiving looks a little different for all of us this year. The year of 2020 has been one for the books for sure, BUT God has been so, so good and faithful. Yes, we are watching our world in turmoil around us but with a God perspective that view is a little different.  Let’s go deeper on this subject.

This year has thrown a great deal of adversity and chaos our way, including the diagnosis of new health issues, online education of our kids, working from home exclusively, stores running out of Clorox wipes and no one will be able to forget the great toilet paper shortage of 2020. Living life during a pandemic has been something. But let’s get down to the amazing things that we can take away from 2020. My family went on a much needed pause in the Spring time. We were able to sit down to dinner and simply talk. No one had to dart out the door to practice. The sad but true fact was that we maybe had dinner together once or twice a week prior to the pandemic. I am beyond grateful for the pause that allowed my family to be a family unit together. Some of our best discussions as a family happen around the dinner table. It was the most amazing opportunity to just be in the moment together. I am grateful that I will take a stand I will value the family unit as a whole. We will not go back to what dinner looked like pre-2020. We have a new standard.

I cannot believe I am saying this, if you worked in the IT department at my work you would certainly agree.. but I am thankful for modern technology. I am so grateful for the ability to zoom, facetime and video chat. I find myself struggling with the need for human interaction. That is saying a lot because I can sometimes need time to decompress. I believe there is something to be said when something you normally take for granted is taken away. Modern technology has allowed our family to visit with family and friends. I have so enjoyed our Facetimes with my grandparents and parents. Of course, I would prefer to HUG them in a big way. If anyone finds a deal of hazmat suit, I am in the market.

I am also thankful to be able to explore adventures in cooking together as a family. The kids and I took advantage of Hello Fresh meals and were able to make gourmet meals together. This opportunity allowed Brogan to find a love for cooking that I dare to say, he probably would not have otherwise found. We also purchased a pellet smoker that has completely wrecked our dining world. Um, all I can say is get yourself one and your stomach will certainly thank you for it. I am grateful for the ability to see personalities show through when we cooked together. Kinsley naturally as a the first born, led. Brody liked the technical aspects of cooking but not necessarily the cooking itself. Our resident other 40 year old, Brody, who lives in a world that is very black (he does not understand his twin Brogan who is 100% living in the gray) made us follow the directions line by line on the recipe cards. The conversation was nothing short of priceless.

Another big one for me is simply TIME, no not the magazine. For example, my commute in the office was approximately an hour plus depending on traffic one way. Now days, I roll out of bed read my devotional and Bible and find one of the greats to tune in to. You know, like Louie Giglio, Jack Hibbs and some guy named Bo Gerken. I have found myself turning to the Word, worship music and speakers of the Word more and more. I have found myself reading my Bible and researching online classes to grow my knowledge base. This is a good problem to have. I am without a doubt grateful for the TIME to be able to focus and dig deeper. I have been able to focus on writing for my blog and book. There is so much peace that comes from expelling my thoughts into written word. Peace and contentment are attributes that I have been able to find a lot easier these days. I am finding who I am through my relationship with Jesus. There is so much FREEDOM to be had with growing your relationship with Christ.

I turned the big 4-0 this November. I was seriously struggling with this number. I also randomly struggled with 26- not entirely sure why. I am a bit quirky I guess. I am about twenty days into 40 and I am learning that I am proud of who I am. I cannot really say that about my 20’s or 30’s. I was constantly searching. I was searching so desperately for a relationship with the King of Kings. I did not know this then of course. I like who I am. I like who I have become. I am a perfectly imperfect mix of somewhere between an ample splash of hot mess meets a Jesus lovin’ Proverbs 31 gal, who fervently loves her family and friends and tells every dog in her path that she loves them- type of gal- otherwise known as quirky or even perhaps different. I am ok with that. I have no desire to be normal. I have reached a point in my life where I am living for Jesus not the world. I am flawed and I fail but I am not quitting, I AM PRESSING IN DEEPER. Join me!

I am grateful for church services and the ability to worship freely. At the end of the day, we all know how the story ends. I will be transparent in the fact that there have been times where I have struggled with hopeless and anxiety. For me, that is a trigger to dig deep. Some nights, I fall asleep while praying. Some nights, it is freezing cold or pouring down rain and I will stand outside and worship. I have to go outside because I was not blessed with a singing voice that sounds like angels-I might need to send apology cards to my neighbors. I am far from it. I also enjoy the alone time, just me, God, the stillness of living out in the country and with hands lifted I worship. You guys, I just know that I need God more than ever before. I need Him to be with me all day, every day.

I am thankful to belong to a family of believers who are focused on the hope that comes with having a personal relationship with Jesus. I am thankful for HIS grace and the Freedom that we can experience as a result of grace. I am thankful to be a part of something that words will never adequately describe. I am blown away by how believers come together in the face of a pandemic and pray collaboratively for a loved one. Words cannot begin to explain the gravity of what it feels like when Jesus enters the scene. Lives are being changed. God is not finished. He is moving and working behind the scenes. There is hope. I mean God knows you. He knows what you are going through. He knows your hurts. Press in. Be different.

Jesus, I come to you today with a grateful heart. I pray for our world. I pray for our country. I lift up those suffering. I am praying for healing. I am praying for believers to go viral with their faith. I am praying hearts, minds and relationships. Jesus, I am thankful for your unforgiving love and mercy. I will continue to lift you higher and bless your name during the storm and the times of prosperity. I pray that we enter the holiday season with grateful hearts and contentment and peace. Lord, we lay our burdens at your feet. In your loving name me pray. Amen.

This is the #givethanks song I am listening to while preparing for Thanksgiving.
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