Each year as Thanksgiving approaches, reasons for the special day fill my mind with thoughts of gratitude. Those same feelings led the first American settlers to thank God for their new land, food and friends. They celebrated together with a feast. This dinner came to be known as the first Thanksgiving meal. Moving to another country had presented many obstacles to overcome, but that did not stop them! Their new home provided new challenges, but their faith in God gave them a way to succeed. Thinking of them is a clear reminder for me to be thankful.
I am certainly not thankful for laundry! Years ago, a friend challenged me to be thankful for the ability to do laundry. She knew that it was a detestable job for me as a wife and mother, but then she told me about others who would love the ability to do laundry. Physical impairment limited them. Of course, I never looked at doing laundry as a privilege; just an unending encumbrance that revisited me each week. I used to joke about forcing my husband and son to wear the same clothes for forty years, and thereby eliminating the need to do laundry weekly. However, a new way of looking at laundry had been presented to me. This revelation changed my focal point from dislike to thankfulness. Wash day is still not one of my favorite pastimes, but the change in my perspective broadened my view point.
On November 14th, Ken and I were married for 25 years. It really does not seem like a quarter of a century has passed by, but it has! I am so very thankful to share life with my husband. However, there are no marriage wisdom insights here. Among the many things learned, the one that stands out is what God has revealed to Ken and myself. Differences can either complement or challenge a marriage. We alone make decisions that determine the direction. Over the years, we have seen it so many times. Ken and I are so very different. We see that as a benefit of two very opposite personalities. Marriage has not been easy! It has been very hard work! The results of the hard work have been rewarding and heart changing. For instance, over the years our little family has seen a child, big moves, illness, several deaths of close family members and friends, a high school and college graduation, job loss and the list continues to grow.
God did not say our lives would be easy, but He does promise to be right beside us. The one constant in our marriage has been our Lord. He has walked through each and every situation with us. New insight has been learned each time, although some lessons we need to learn over and over again. God was teaching us something, but we do not always learn. Whether we are in marriage or not, God is always teaching us.
The day Ken and I were married, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 became a huge part of our ceremony and still is today. That scripture has been very important to us. It certainly has made us look at each situation differently. Love has become a silent acronym that talks to each of us.
- L = Laugh at each situation, EVENTUALLY!
- O = Outrageous situations can be very thought provoking, ALWAYS!
- V = Vehement acts can be laughed at, EVENTUALLY!
- E = Everyone is free to be him or herself in Christ, ALWAYS!
Paul wrote to the Thessalonian believers:
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
During this Thanksgiving meal, let’s remove all conflicting thoughts that would not allow us to enjoy the company of others. After all, our American heritage began with differences! Our children are watching! They have already learned from this world, but a different way is needed. Jesus lived on this earth, full of challenges, to give us a different way to live. Do our differences complement or challenge us in Christ? How will our children handle the challenges they see us live out before them? Will they know who to turn to when challenges arise? Will they know how to be thankful in all circumstances? Will they know who to thank?