Thanksgiving Reflections

Our family had a beautiful Thanksgiving this weekend. My sister, brother-in-law and niece flew in from Arizona and we spent the holidays with our parents, cousins and with many of our wonderful relatives. Aside from a possible knee injury sustained at our annual youth group football game, “Turkey Tackle”, (those junior high girls are tough), I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. I even received encouraging words for the sermon I preached this morning (not sure if/how I will post about it but the feedback is surprising when you preach on the rich young ruler in such an affluent area. I mean that it’s surprising in a good way).

I admit to being pretty sentimental these days. For the most part, things are good. I don’t just mean that things are good because God is good (though that is of course true) but I mean to include circumstantially – things are pretty good. I mentioned in today’s sermon that we have “good problems”. Everyone has problems, among ours are kids that wake up at 4 am and if they don’t, they sleep in til 5. Praise the Lord, they are healthy though that isn’t something we take for granted.

A year ago we had to take our 6 week old Dylan to the ER and he was admitted into the infant ICU. Thankfully, he was only there a week and has been healthy ever since. We have had a couple of ER visits since (two with 2.5 year old), and have grieved the loss of a dear uncle and I have a few family members that I pray for throughout the day. Further, we have close friends and know of many others who are facing financial challenges, seeking employment, and trying to figure out the dynamics of certain relationships. May the Lord give us all grace.

I don’t know anyone that lives a perfect, pain-free life – not one. I would also add that with the explosion of social networking and the new-found access into each other’s lives, again, I know of no pain-free lives. If you factor in round the clock, cable news coverage, twitter alerts, google news, (the only guy I know is that Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Man in the World”). And so this gives me perspective. In your college years, you’re quite the idealist, in your mid-twenties there is the possibility of getting pretty jaded, now in my thirties, it seems that the two are balancing.

In addition to our little growing family, here are a few things that I am thankful for.
Some dear friends having kids this year – The Hickoks, Currys, and now the Turners. Within a month, 4 more couples that we love are going to have kids – going to be an awesome Christmas.
A couple dear friends getting married – like the Peterhoffs!
Our Sr. High Youth Group had a great mission trip to New Orleans this year and we are off to a great start for the year. I could go on and on but I am really grateful for our leaders, our students and their families.
Grateful that I am making some quality friendships through our Second Mile Gathering.
Our church’s prayerful search for vision. Some important changes need to be made in our hearts, ministries, and methodologies. Grateful that we have the courage and the motivation to address this.
Finishing Seminary – I miss my cohort, miss the required reading in a weird way, miss the brilliant moments in a lecture but so glad I’m done. I’ll go for the Dmin when I really start missing that stuff. (Also loved our ‘Nambodia trip!)
And again, I am grateful that God is there in the moments of pain, tragedy, need and among other places, confusion. Like everyone I hate the difficult days, and I grieve when others go through them (some dear friends and some I only know through things like twitter). I acknowledge that sometimes our attempts to comfort may fall short and sound trite but I am confident that the Lord is near the broken hearted.

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