As with most holiday decorations I love to see them come, but I love to see them go. We put away all our Halloween décor and the mantel was left sparse and unfinished. It may be silly, but I love to decorate the mantel. It’s the one place I can easily change up each season to give a fresh feel to the house. Each jaunt past the latest holiday display steals a smile from me.
Now left with a blank slate I was undecided on how to dress the fireplace for the pending Thanksgiving festivities.
I know November rolls around and everyone moves into “thank you” mode. It’s so wrong that we only focus on this for one month a year. It should be a monthly holiday.
Really a daily event.
The circumstances of the week lead me to a place of rolling words of thanksgiving over and over in my mind. Eventually my mind overflowed and an audible thank you left my lips in the quiet of my house. Repeatedly. It was just me and God. He needed to hear the words and I needed to say them.
Give thanks in all circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
I decided the scripture God clearly laid on my heart should be the center of our Thanksgiving Mantel scape. Here you will find some pictures to make it yours as well (pom pom wreath tutorial here).
This verse is not new to me and I have read many a devotion surrounding it. The thing is they always seem to be referring to the more tragic, heart wrenching circumstances. Sickness, death, job loss, infidelity…
Man – I get it, we need some coaching on giving thanks in the unconceivable events that this fallen world presents. The problem is I often find it hard to give thanks in the not so major stuff. Maybe I am completely alone in this wretchedness, but it doesn’t take much for a little thing to become a big thing and poison my day.
A dear friend and I were discussing this exact problem and she gave advice that I have been clinging to like a life preserver in the ocean.
When you start to grumble you have to get outside yourself. Hold your thoughts captive (2 Corn 10:5) and turn them around to thanksgiving. Some times you won’t have to go far out in the circles of thanksgiving, other days you may have to go wide. Let me explain with an honest run down of my week:
My husband travels a good amount for work. He left this week on Tuesday, mid-afternoon to drive to a bigger city with a bigger airport so he could catch his 7:00am flight the next morning and was set to return Thursday afternoon. There are a number of trips lined up on the calendar behind this one. Maybe it was their impending snatching of my husband that got me going, who can say. As he pulled out of the drive the lies and selfishness consumed me. I slide into the skin of a five year old ready to burst at the seams with a foot stomping tantrum. He gets to go relax, have dinner out, lay in a quiet hotel room. I bet he gets to read a book uninterrupted. Then he gets to go have meetings…with adults AND have dinner AND conversation AND see things AND explore a new city. Me? I am home making tacos, scooping cat litter in my pajamas, carpooling kids to and fro, refereeing fights and repeating “pick up your backpack” and “eat your dinner” till I want to pass out.
As I type this the absurdity of it is apparent, but in the moment the frustration is real. Not a single breath of it is true.
So, I heard my friends advice calling out to me and I took these embarrassingly senseless and selfish thoughts prisoner. I started searching for truth and things to be thankful for.
Thank you that my husband has a job. Thank you that I have a husband that is such an amazing worker and provider. Thank you that his job provides to a degree that I can be home with our children. Thank you that my husband loves me. Thank you that I love him. Thank you for the gift of our marriage. Thank you that I am now home alone for a few hours on a Tuesday and can spend this time however I want. Thank you for this house that you provided. Thank you that his job pays for this house. Thank you that I even have children. Thank you that my children have a safe haven.
My list went on and moved outward from me into the bigger picture and my heart was settled. I actually took that free next chunk of time to pray and read. In the posture of praise peace fell over me.
Sometimes, it’s harder for me to rattle off a list of praise so quickly and I have to search further outside if myself. Thank you that I don’t live in a war torn country. Thank you that I can freely worship and go to church. Thank you for the food on our table. Like my friend suggested, go however far out you need to find something to be thankful for.
When you stop and choose to look at what is going right instead of what is going wrong, the wrong will drown out in a sea of right. It’s the little hiccups in our day, circumstances not looking the way we want that can set us off course. The enemy loves that. He will lay a cookie crumb trail down the rabbit hole of self pity and entice you to run, not walk to a place of selfish despair. We have to refocus our gaze…to Jesus.
It’s baby steps, at least for me. I have to learn how to be thankful in the little details of every day to even get close to hoping I’ll be able to handle the hard hitting circumstances that this world promises. By training my thoughts to seek the generosity of God’s hand in my life it gets easier and easier to turn potential wins for the enemy into joyful victories bursting with thanksgiving in Christ.
My training continues with this tiny reminder placed in the center of our home on our Thanksgiving mantel. I have a feeling it might just stick around all year long.
So that it can be a daily holiday.
How about you? Do you struggle with the details? I hope you’ll share this post with a friend that might need it. If you would like to make the pom pom wreath you see the tutorial is here!
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