I love Christmas. I love decorating my tree, buying and wrapping Christmas gifts, and the number of traditions that mean so much to my family. Retailers have been offering Christmas products since before Halloween (we literally saw the days until Christmas sign at Wal-Mart on Halloween while the workers were passing out candy!). It seems like the rush to Christmas is a big deal, but I need to press pause this year on Thanksgiving.
I need Thanksgiving.
I need Thanksgiving. More specifically, I need to give thanks for my many, many blessings to be reminded of just how good things are. This has been a tremendously tough year on my little family, with a lot of changes happening in a short amount of time.
I struggled with post-partum depression after the birth of our son in February. Soon after, my husband was laid off from his job in April, and the months that followed of a new job search were stressful. We had to back out of a contract we were in to buy a house, which was upsetting, to say the least. He thankfully has since gotten a job, but it has brought a different set of challenges and transitions for all of us. And when I reflect on these things, it is easy for me to be overwhelmed and a bit upset that nothing seems to be going the way it should be.
So I need Thanksgiving. I need to give thanks. In spite of the year we have had, we are still blessed beyond measure. The old song says, “Count your many blessings; Name them one by one…” so this year, I want to pause and linger at this time of thanks to do just that.
My husband is a hard worker and a good provider. He looks for little ways to surprise all of us just to bring a little extra joy. He loves me in spite of all my faults and is a constant rock I can count in in my ups and downs. He is the best dad I could have asked for my children; he is attentive, affectionate, fun-loving, and consistent (even when I am not).
Our children are our biggest blessings in this life, no question. They help me to find joy in the simple things and remind me to slow down. The smiles and hugs and love that they give are unconditional. Sometimes I’m amazed that they’re mine and just so thankful that I get to be their mom.
I have a job I enjoy immensely, coworkers who are fun to work with, and one of the best batch of students I have ever taught. I’ve had jobs before where I would dread getting out of bed and going to work because of what the day would bring. That has not been the case in literally years. Instead, I get to have fun at work on a regular basis! This is a huge blessing, and it is one I am grateful for.
A support system
I am especially grateful to have an amazing support system in my life, something I know that many do not have. My own parents are people I know I can count on and are very involved in our lives. My sister is my best friend (a true blessing!) who I talk to on a daily basis. Our friends through church have been supportive; even if they do not know everything going on in our lives, they call, send messages and let us know we are loved. Finally, the other moms here at Red Stick Moms Blog have been a very welcoming community to me as a new contributor. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude by all the supportive people surrounding my life.
Our needs are met
We do not go to bed hungry, and there is food in the fridge and the pantry. We have comfortable beds to sleep in and a roof over our heads. Our vehicles that are in good working condition. And we all have a nice selection of clothes to wear, even if they aren’t the latest styles and trends. If we are doing without, we are doing without things that we want. ALL of our needs are met.
I must be reminded not just at Thanksgiving, but continually all year long, to have a spirit of gratefulness and thanks for the blessings in my life. If you’re struggling, too, and it seems like you are weary with life’s ups and downs and there is little to be thankful for, I understand. I know that struggle all too well. I hope you can be encouraged to count your many blessings, and keep your chin up this Thanksgiving.