Friday, November 29, 2013

{A Thanksgiving Blessing}

This Thanksgiving we broke tradition and hosted friends at our house instead of spending the day with family. The idea came about when our original plan of traveling to Ohio was scrapped and we heard that a family new to the area was going to be spending the day alone. It immediately brought back memories of our Air Force days, when holidays were spent gathered with close friends who felt like family. TJ and I knew breaking tradition might cause some riffs, but the Lord worked it all out for the best!

I planned and prepared in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, and when I bought the turkey, I chose the largest one I could find. We were feeding 13 people so I chose one that was 15 pounds. It would be enough for the day, but I wasn't expecting leftovers. Our guests were bringing side dishes and desserts, and I was making additional sides and desserts, so I knew we would have plenty of food for the 13 of us.

A few days before Thanksgiving, I ran into a long-time friend of mine. Our Thanksgiving plans came up in conversation, and when I heard that she and her family were planning to eat at a restaurant, my heart-strings were tugged and I invited them to join us. She accepted and we worked out details of what meal items she would contribute.

Adult table all set and ready for guests
When I informed TJ that I had invited another family of 6 to join us, he was immediately concerned about having enough food, particularly turkey. He suggested I buy a ham to go with it. I went to the store to buy one but could not bring myself to pay $1.99/lb (10 lbs was the smallest ham I found) so I returned home empty-handed. Thanksgiving day arrived and as I was putting the turkey in the oven, TJ again shared his concern over having enough food. I assured him that I had faith the Lord would work it out. 
Panoramic view of the "big kid" table

I am so blessed that I was able to see the  Lord work that day! The fellowship was sweet and everyone left feeling refreshed, encouraged, and genuinely thankful for a wonderful day together. But most importantly, the Lord showed His providence and presence by providing more than enough turkey for all of us! I had enough leftover for 2 additional meals for my family of 8 (since Ruthie isn't eating solids yet)! It truly was the Lord's doing!
Some of the kids before the start of the scavenger hunt

This is a Thanksgiving I will never forget. I shared this story with my children in hopes that they, too, will remember this day and see how God took care of us. He blessed us greatly not just in the physical sense of providing enough food, but in encouraging our spiritual walk with Him.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

{Relying on God}

Yesterday during our history time, the Lord allowed me to have a glimpse into my son's heart. We were learning about the prophet Amos. Although he was from Judah, God called him to go preach in the land of Israel because the Israelites had stopped relying on the Lord.  As we were discussing the reasons why (wealth, peace with neighboring countries, surplus of food and supplies), he casually mentioned that he didn't rely on the Lord, either. When I questioned him further, I learned that my son (who will remain anonymous) responded that he didn't have any reason to- he didn't fight in battles (against other countries), he wasn't wandering in the wilderness, waiting to enter the Promised Land, he wasn't being ruled by a harsh king who was a direct enemy of the Lord, etc.

How did I interpret his response? Like this: he didn't know how to rely on God. I put the brakes on our history lesson and had a wonderful opportunity to explain to him what relying on God looks like. For him, as a child, it looks different than it does as an adult, but the principles behind it are the same. When he is outside playing, and comes up with [what he thinks is] a brilliant idea that involves using his dad's tools, he needs to stop and ask himself, "Is this what God would have me to do? Am I to use my dad's tools without permission?" I continued to give him similar examples and with each one, I could see the understanding show on his face. Relying on God means that you trust in His way and in His plans, knowing that they are perfect, even if God's way doesn't make sense at the time. Finally he confirmed his understanding and resolved to apply it.

Our conversation goes much deeper than just a simple dialogue at the kitchen table. It caused me to examine my own life, my own dependence on the Lord. Do my children not know what true dependence looks like because I fail to model it?  When my kids are going in 7 different directions and each one has a need that has to be met at that exact moment, do I pause to pray and gain my strength from Him in order to respond in the right way, or do I respond in my own strength in the wrong way? That was a humbling thought, and one that I have not taken lightly.

As the days pass and my time with my children at home shortens, I pray that I do model my dependence on the Lord in all areas. I am not just influencing my children, but their children and all their future generations to come.