Plenty To Be Thankful For

The week of Thanksgiving was…


So awesome that I didn’t step foot on the internet for many, many days and so awesome that the only word I can think of to describe it is…awesome.

{Which is kind of sad. Not because it is not a wonderful word (though somewhat overused), but because I’m too lazy to look up a different word in the thesaurus. The one that is sitting right next to me. The one that is so big and full of words. Thesauruses make me tired. Or better yet, exhausted. Weary…}


So why was last week awesome?

Many reasons…

1. The entire family was not vomiting (and then some) like we were last year. Read “Thanksgiving or Bust” to hear more on that jolly good holiday.

2. Seeing the last “Twilight” movie with my Mom and my cousin’s wife, Amanda (who also doubles as my soulmate) in a theater full of teenagers. There was a teenage couple sitting behind us, and I kept imagining they were making out behind us in disgusting teenager fashion, with their long, gangly limbs and their retainer slobbers. Gross. But there is nothing better than getting a fit of the giggles during a melodramatic “Twilight” movie…

3. Little things…

Like coming across these Thanksgiving crafts I let the kids make while I was cleaning. I had to laugh at the obvious difference between boys and girls. Rebekah’s turkey is standing next to a flower. Gideon’s turkey is also standing next to a flower, but is being shot by a hunter.  Poor turkey.

Or walking into the schoolroom to see that Gideon had been inspired by the Thanksgiving chalk “art” I had “made” (i.e. copied off of Pinterest). Here’s mine:

Here’s his (so sweet!):

or receiving the pinecone turkey Gideon made in Sunday School, full of “feathers” stating what he was most thankful for…

Thankfully, “Mama and Papa” is also listed, right underneath “armor”. Food and armor and chicken. Little boys are the best.

4. The family. I could go on and on for DAYS, but you all know who you are and you know how much I love you. Bunch of weirdos.

5. The food. Oh, sweet Pete, the food…

6. Watching my Mom do her magic, hosting a houseful of people in the midst of a bedroom renovation (carpet was actually installed during the mayhem), and still managing to feed all of us 2 or 3 times a day without ever losing her cool. Amanda and I were shocked one night to see her pull a beautiful and perfectly cooked turkey out of the oven. NO ONE had seen her do any preparation. But it’s always like that at her house…a timer goes off, bottabing, bottaboom, a turkey. Amazing.

7. The Janie and Jack Black Friday internet sale that enabled me to buy a year’s worth of dress pants for my little vintage boy who wore woolen slacks (with silk lining) all summer long, because he “liked they way they feeled…like I’m not wearing any clothes!” Thank you, God, for 30% off sales, $25 reward cards, and free shipping.

8. And lastly, on a very serious note, I am most thankful for something that happened this Thanksgiving week that has caused my heart to soar in gratitude and wonder. Settle in, why don’t you? This might take a while…

One morning as we were preparing once more to load up and join the rest of my family at Mama and Daddy’s house in the country, Gideon and Rebekah got into a massive fight in the living room. I could hear their shouts clear in my bathroom on the other end of the house, quickly followed by Rebekah’s heavy footfall as she came to rat her brother out.

“Gideon hit me!!!” she wailed.

My heart sank. A most punishable offense, no matter what she had done to entice him. I followed her back into the living room where Gideon met us with tears of anger and frustration gathering in his eyes.

“Did you hit your sister?” I asked him, my own anger barely in check. We had been over this many a time before. Too many times.

He nodded meekly, before defending himself: “But she stomped her foot at me and she did her mouth like this (all twisted up) and said “grrrr!!” His temper began to boil over just thinking about what she had done to him.

I’ll spare you the details, but the discipline was swift and firm, followed by a sound scolding for Rebekah for enticing him to anger, and the two were told to apologize and “make up”. But you know how these things go…you can instruct a child in the way to go, you can present them with the Word of God, you can make them look each other in the eye and say the right words, but…you cannot make them feel conviction. It has all been rather rote and mechanical for us during these preschool years.

Thank God for His Spirit.

For ten minutes later, as I was sitting on my bed braiding Rebekah’s hair, the fight forgotten, Gideon quietly walked in and stood at my door. Our eyes met.

“I’m sorry…” he said quietly, his bottom lick puckering.

“For hitting Rebekah?” I asked, intrigued that he was bringing it up again.

And right before my eyes, his little spirit crumbled, shoulders drooping, despair cloaking his countenance, tears falling freely and sincerely. “I don’t want to hit!” he exclaimed through his tears. “I don’t like to hit people.”

I couldn’t breathe for a minute over the magnitude of what was taking place – this was different than any “remorse” he had ever shown. And then Gideon ran to me, crying, and I gathered him up with all the compassion and love I have for him in my heart.

“Gid, I know you’re upset,” I encouraged, “but this is a great thing!” I shook his shoulders a bit in my excitement. “Do you know who is helping you to not like your anger? The Holy Spirit! He is fixing your heart, just like we’ve prayed!!”

“But…” he whimpered, “I just don’t like how it feels!”

Can a heart rejoice and break at the same time? Because, while thrilled with this new development in his heart, I mourned for my baby to wake up to the horror that is the sin nature. There is no greater pain on earth than realizing our depravity, but…it is a pain that leads us to the Savior, who has a healing balm of redemption for our sin-sick souls.

And the reality that my son, whom I love more than anything, is beginning to feel the very same God-breathed pangs of conviction that I feel on a daily basis…well, it just nearly bowled me over. For nothing has humbled me or caused me to come to grips with my finitude and humanity more than realizing that I have no control over whether or not my children will ever have a love for their Creator or will ever hate their sin. In desperation, I cry out to God on their behalf as we look to His Word for the tools to lead our children, knowing that the only way to parent them well is to parent them biblically.

And all that remains after doing those things is faith that He will keep His promises.

But oh how weak my faith can be.

And so this random and unexpected moment during an otherwise busy week was a holy moment for us, earth-shattering for Gideon, but faith-bolstering for me, and became the highlight of my holiday as it assured me so deeply that God is with us. He is moving. He is working. He is hearing our prayers and causing the truths that we share to take root in our children, softening them, wooing them, making their dead hearts come to life before our very eyes.

This alone would give me every reason to be thankful this holiday season.


No vomiting, silly movies, family, food, and life-changing spiritual breakthroughs. It was a good Thanksgiving.



Me and my sweet Mama, Thanksgiving 2012

3 thoughts on “Plenty To Be Thankful For

  1. Connor had a moment of conviction like that recently that had me rejoicing in the same way. Watching these little dears grow spiritually is a gift! Great post!

    And thanks for the blog mention in spite of the fact that I falied to do something absurd during the movie (wasn’t that the agreement?) I guess it helps that the movie was about vampires protecting their half-human love-child (who is viciously watched over by her future wolf husband) while anticipating a clash with the Vampire royalty from Italy. That right there is absurd enough.

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