God is Bigger Than Your Thanksgiving Stress

The Saturday before Thanksgiving. A disruption of our usual routine. Adjustments will happen this week, and the week will be different. Shorter hours at work, more cooking than usual, more errands. More thoughts, more expectations. Maybe more family and friends, maybe more quiet than usual, less rest, or perhaps more rest. A holiday week in America is here, and we look out onto the next few days, and we think we know what might happen, but sometimes the unexpected occurs, good or bad.

Supposedly a meteor shower occurred while we were sleeping. Isn’t that just like God? Even while we sleep, He is sending showers of blessing, announcing His presence, His all-knowing, incomprehensible intervention, mediation, and celebratory cheering into our lives!

How can this be? My soul thrills to think of my Savior, Creator God, active even in the night when my defenses are asleep. I wonder what it looked like in the transcendent space as this event took place. How much planning went into sending earth such a phenomenon? Just another exclamation point from Him to all the inhabitants on the globe proclaiming, “I’m here. I perform big things. I not only speak them into existence, but I also created each one.”

Years ago, Clark and I decided to wake up and venture into the cool night to attend a predicted and most spectacular meteor shower. If I never see another, that shower’s memory will linger as a most unusual sight and experience; an honor to witness. Each of our oculus uterque took in a supernatural display of light and speed, combined with incalculable distance in dark space! We got to see it. At times during the exhibition, we thought one might hit us! We perceived them to be falling that close to our low and humble presence. We watched hundreds of them light up the sky, and no fireworks can ever compare.

Heaven is declaring God’s glory; the sky is proclaiming His handiwork. Psalm 19:1

As we anticipate the week to come, whether it be lonely, or filled with joy or even pain, our God is still amazing. In all His glory, He faithfully chooses to light up the sky for all who wish to look up and see His glory so evident in His creation.

Prepare For Thanksgiving

Recently, I was working in my Celebrate Recovery(http://www.celebraterecovery.com/) workbook. For those not familiar with this journey, it is a Christ-centered recovery program based on eight principles from the Beatitudes. It’s for people with hurts, habits, and hang-ups!
Getting out of denial is a step that is crucial to beginning any type of recovery.

Sometimes this time of year brings old conflicts, unresolved conflicts, new conflicts, stale conflicts, same ole conflicts up to the forefront in our minds.

We wonder if things will be different this year, or maybe we hold out hope that a person has changed. Perhaps we wonder if we’ve changed all that much. It comforts me to know that Jesus never changes. He is a Rock, a Strong Tower. (Psalm 18:2 and Proverbs 18:10).

I have to remember I can only be responsible for me. How other people act is not my responsibility.

Today I was talking to someone about how a specific family situation is going to turn out. The person was speculating that if the family member didn’t respond to her good gesture, then this would be sad to her. If the family member does respond, there’s a possibility the response could be with a sharp, snarky retort. For this situation, it would be desirable if the family member responded kindly and with manners. This surely would be proof things were changing or had changed.

IMG_3968 2

Thanksgiving is coming, and likely, most people will be with other people. Some of them we see regularly and others only on special occasions. Can we get along? With some core ideas to cling to, especially for the Christian, I think it is possible. The Bible says, cling to what is good (Romans 12:9). One of the questions in Celebrate Recovery is

“What areas of your life do you have power(control) over?”

As believers in Christ Jesus, I submit we do have control over some significant aspects of life. The most important and life-changing is our relationship with Jesus. We can talk to Jesus anytime, anywhere.

On Thanksgiving day, when you are with all those “others,” you may find it stressful. You may need to slip away and have a little talk with Jesus. But don’t wait until that day. You can prepare for that special day by spending extra time with Him. Here’s some ideas:

  • Look for some verses to claim( controlling your tongue, focusing your thoughts, gentle conversation, etc.)
  • Write out these verses
  • Pray out the verses over your life and commit to obedience. These verses can become your life, help, and strength.

It’s nice to think about Thanksgiving and being together with the ones we love. We want to have warm feelings and hope for the best. But the reality is, we all struggle, and there are dynamics in families that may or may not ever heal.

  • We have to get out of denial
  • Accept the way things are
  • Keep our focus on Jesus.

If there is nothing we are responsible for in unpleasant situations, then get out of the way and let God be God.

The one thing you can control is your relationship with Jesus. He loves you. He understands your situations. Focus on Him and make some intentional choices to read His word, write out His word, and pray His word.

Prepare your heart for Thanksgiving.

Simple Homemade Cranberry Sauce

We’re two days away from the wonderful American holiday of Thanksgiving. Maybe you’re headed to a friend’s home or your family for the Thanksgiving feast. Are they expecting you to bring something?

The time it takes for you to pick up rolls from the store is about how long it will take to make this sauce, and it will impress everyone at the table. To say it is better than the canned product is an understatement! And, you’ll be taking something homemade to your gathering.  So here’s how you make it.
You’ll need:

1 bag of cranberries

3/4 – 1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup of water

Directions:

  • In a pot, add the water and let it come to a boil. This takes about a minute.
    Add the cranberries and cover with the pot lid.
  • Turn down the heat from high to between low to medium. You’ll begin to hear pops. This is the cranberries breaking up to make a sauce.
  • In a few minutes, stir the pot of cranberries and add the brown sugar. Continue stirring.
  • Return lid and let simmer a few minutes.
  • Then, uncover and stir. Mash any still whole cranberries and mash as you stir the entire mixture.
  • Once the mixture is reduced to a shiny, creamy sauce, then pour it into a heatproof dish.
  • Let cool and refrigerate.

Thanksgiving Day: Pull out of the refrigerator.  This will travel well to your destination and can be put in their refrigerator if necessary once you arrive.

Dear Lord, your bounty is abundant beyond measure. When I visit with friends and family this Thanksgiving, help me to share about your love. I can tell my story. No one can argue with it, and sharing stories tears down pretense. Lead the way Lord and help me to be a blessing around the Thanksgiving table this year. In Jesus’ Name, amen.