Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Thanksgiving Basket & The Provider

Nearly 15 years ago, we packed up all of our belongings, along with two little boys, and made the trek from Louisiana to Chicago. During a missions conference at our church, the Lord had led us to leave the Air Force and serve in full-time ministry. We didn't know what all that would entail, but we knew He'd spoken and we needed to respond. At some point during that move God blessed us with new life. While some I'm sure thought we were crazy, the Lord knew we'd need that bundle of absolute joy. A week before his birth though, my husband lost his part time job. It was his first semester at Bible college (after completing a semester at the local junior college) and not only were we about to fill up our tiny apartment with a growing family, we now had no job. I found comfort in looking back to how God had clearly directed our steps. We had to choose to trust Him, even if we couldn't see how things were going to work out.

I'll never forget the day we were notified that our family was receiving a Thanksgiving basket from the school. Isn't that just like God? To show up and make Himself known when we felt so lost and defeated. Not to mention we had two little boys excited for turkey dinner and we didn't know if there would be one that year. The boys were so excited when the basket arrived. I remember kneeling down with them, looking through all the contents and praying ..... "Lord help me to never forget your faithfulness." That thanksgiving basket would serve as a reminder to me during future difficult times that we have a PROVIDER.

As this Thanksgiving season approaches, my heart is heavy for those that need to know Him as PROVIDER. Not just for turkey dinner or clothing or medical care, but also as HOPE and LIFE and JOY. Two little children, whom I have never met {yet}, have made a way into my heart this week. They don't just need Thanksgiving dinner this year, they need a family. They need a safe place to heal and grow and blossom.

You know what is so amazing? These needs don't surprise the Father. He knew before the beginning of time every need. He knew when He gave these precious two children life that the day would come they would need another family. Brokenness, orphans, hunger .... that was not His design. We live in a fallen world though .... a place where suffering is a reality. He is still God. And He is PROVIDER.

I love spending the entire fall season focusing on Thanksgiving with my children. I often hear them share throughout the year what they are thankful for, but come September each year we start drawing in a little closer to really focus in on Thanksgiving. We celebrate the harvest and enjoy all the bustle in the fields of the rural land where we live. We pray for safety for those families who will put in long and rigorous hours. Come October we soak up all the glorious colors the Lord brings around us. And then as we near November we enjoy taking even more time to slow down and document all of the many blessings the PROVIDER has poured out.

This year we tried a new version of the Thanksgiving Tree. Our middle son enjoyed heading out to climb up and get me a nice big branch to bring in. We took turns writing down many of our blessings the Provider has poured out on us. As I sit here on the sofa, I can see the back side of the leaves where they are documented. Flowers, brothers, God, romance, apples, friends, Mtn Dew, silence, pizza, friends .... I chuckle knowing by the handwriting who wrote each one.

It is important to pause and reflect. It's important to remember things like the Thanksgiving basket. It's critical we stop and consider the children that need a family.

Are you taking time to pause this season .... to reflect on the blessings which have been poured out on you? Are you needing to know the Father as PROVIDER? Is God asking you to reach out beyond the walls of your home and serve?

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