Thankfulness in All Things

As the saying and season goes, there is always always something to be thankful for.

And although it feels like a whole lot of not Thanksgiving we still grab hold of traditions of our birth country and upbringing. Tomorrow I’ll bake pumpkin pie (a healthy version Brian wants you to know!) and we’ll gather with friends for a meal. We’ll write out our thankfulness on a construction-paper turkey feather, speak it among friends and then tape it on a large poster-board turkey whom our dear friends faithfully tuck behind their living room armoire year round, just waiting for it’s next, brief emergence.

I love this part because I love reflecting, digging up the thankful. How far we’ve come, for a moment, trumps how far we have to go. And I have an intense tendency to focus on how far I have to go. Always pursuing improvement, and only with much intentionally sitting comfortably still in the glory of as-is.

I love that about thankfulness. It stops us in the now or has-been for a moment. I so so so so so value and appreciate when someone – anyone, really – stops to share a word of appreciation. It’s powerful.
And I often think of Jesus healing the lepers, noted in Luke 17:15-19:

“When one of them saw that he was healed, he came back. He praised God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him. The man was a Samaritan. 

When Jesus saw the Samaritan, He immediately wondered about the other nine men who had also been healed. 

Jesus asked, “Weren’t all ten healed? Where are the other nine? Didn’t anyone else return and give praise to God except this outsider?”

I always want to be the one who comes back and give thanks. (More often I’m one of the nine, but let’s all aspire for something, hey.)
Recently a Grace parent did just this. She took a moment to return – giving thanks for all that the Athletic Department has been to her family. Here’s what she shared:
“Jake* has had such an awesome experience in GIS athletics.  Believe it or not, there was a time when he was in 2nd grade that Chris* [her husband] told me he just didn’t think Jake would be an athlete.  Joke’s on us, huh?

Lily* was a wild card, but she’s totally risen from the ashes and she’s becoming more competitive.  I could not have seen that coming in my wildest dreams.  Seriously.

Jude* is our most complex one right now.  He lacks coordination and feels the typical, “nobody passes to me” or “I’m stuck in the goal.”  We’ve laid off of him to try and give him space. We’re balancing the push-onward and lay-off part of parenting with him when it comes to sports. We just want him to stay active. He seems to put on weight quickly and gets down on himself about it, even though in our family we do our best not to make physical appearance a focal point of parenting.

I want to take a minute to affirm you guys for the athletics program.  The department has overcome some hard obstacles through the years (we’ve been here 10 years now). I know there’s always a need somewhere, but things really seem to be going well now.

Sports leaders for the elementary classes are a huge success, according to my first grader. She adores them. Jake and Lily are committed to their teams.  Jake gets utterly frustrated with academic demands, but he gives his all in sports.  Hopefully he is learning life skills that will influence those other areas of life later on.

And in Lily’s case doing sports means she’s doing something that her normal circle of friends aren’t doing. It’s great for developing confidence, expanding social skills, and calling her towards teamwork.  She’s also been able to see that her mood improves as she engages in sports, which is critically important in a person who is a bit negative and drawn to laziness. I will probably cry with thankfulness sometime in the future when we look back on what it’s meant for her to be a part of sports teams.

I know you get all the complaints, concerns and distress of parents while you are trying to make it all work for us. That must be frustrating at times. But there is also a ton of good happening and I want you to know we see it and value it.  We value it SO much.  Thanks for serving the kids and the families in this unique type of ministry to TCKs [third culture kids].”

Yeeeeeessss. It’s so good for our hearts to be gifted with this rich insider impact. These quiet praises remind us of the depth of worth in the work.

May your day of thanks be the best kind of abundant.

We love you all and are thankful for you.


*names have been changed