Oh, the sounds of Thanksgiving! There is laughter and joy coming from every room. Relatives fill every inch of the house, all while several conversations go on at once. In addition to the laughter, sounds of football, from the television, fill the family room as the sports commentator excitedly calls the plays. As people strategically maneuver through the kitchen eyes lock in on the food. Immediately following the grace, turkey is sliced, macaroni and cheese is devoured and rolls quickly disappear! Lord, please don't let anyone find my secret stash of chicken wings. This is Thanksgiving as I know it: family, food and football.
These are great memories for me and I am sure several of you can relate. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving does not evoke good feelings for everyone. For some people, holidays can be very depressing. It is a painful reminder of the hurt and loneliness that some feel.
Consider the woman who just lost a parent, lost a child or miscarried a baby. Think about the person who just lost a grandparent or a close friend; perhaps someone has no family or friends at all. The person who received a devastating diagnosis or another person who just lost their job. There is some young woman who was just dumped by her boyfriend and a widower who now spends holidays alone.
Whether the loss was recent or many years ago, loss is still loss.
As you celebrate Thanksgiving, this year, remember those who may be silently suffering. Before the turkey is carved and the desserts are inhaled take a closer look at your own family members. They may be there physically, but are they there emotionally and mentally? Really look at and love on those around you. If you know someone who will be alone, or someone dealing with loss, invite them to come along with you. Say a prayer of comfort and strength for these individuals. They need a personal touch from the Savior. Be His hands this year.
If you are someone who is suffering this Thanksgiving, God has not forgotten about you. He loves you and He cares about your pain. The Bible tells us that The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18 NIV). Though you may not feel Him, He is there. In fact, He is holding your hand and giving you the strength not to faint. If you are alone, cling to the Savior. If you are around people, but suffering silently, cling to the Savior. Your family may have no idea what you are enduring, but God knows.
In spite of what you may be experiencing this Thanksgiving, give thanks. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV) says in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Today you may be struggling to find something to be thankful for.
Pain and loneliness have a way of narrowing our focus and magnifying our problems.
Take just a moment and think about two things that you are thankful for. In case you cannot think of two or need two more, allow me to suggest a few. Give thanks because God is close to you and He will save you. Give thanks because you can remember what you are going through so you are still in your right mind. Give thanks because you still have the capacity to feel and you have not grown bitter. Give thanks because He is showing you that you are much stronger than you thought you were. Give thanks because it will not always be like this. Give thanks because your struggles will one day encourage someone else and lead him/her out of despair. Give thanks because the devil wanted to use that pain, rejection, loss, fear, and/or loneliness to take you out, but you are still here. Don't you dare give up! Don't you quit! You fight and do it with a thankful heart! As you withstand this Thanksgiving know that I am praying for you. More importantly, God is close and ready to save you. Let Him heal your soul!
Your Sister in Christ,
Prayer: Heavenly Father, We come with thankful hearts today. Please comfort every reader that may be suffering this Thanksgiving. Remind them that you love them and they are on your mind. Thank you for being close to the brokenhearted and saving the crushed in spirit. In Jesus' Name, Amen.