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"In My Heart"

"I am with you always…"

Matthew 28:20

So many things I am grateful for this Thanksgiving. All week long I have been counting my blessings and doing my very best to sit before the Lord and praise Him for everything I can think of and all that the Holy Spirit places upon my heart and mind from A to Z. Its been a great exercise for me that has created the need in me to send out this note this morning letting you know how very grateful I am for you! The apostle Paul captured perfectly what I want to write you when he penned thesis words in Philippians 1:3, "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you."

Its was a number of years ago now and I recall a conversation with our church secretary about her holiday plans that year. She was flying out of state to see her mother and daughter not knowing if she would arrive in time to get to see her mom before her mother passed away after a lengthy illness. Our secretary shared how she spoke with her mom every day by phone and would always end the conversation by saying, "I might not be with you but I hug you and kiss you and hold you in my heart." Knowing the apostle Paul's love for the church I believe he felt the same way and was communicating that same thought in Philippians 1:3.

I feel that same way today as I awakened early this Thanksgiving morning both thinking and thanking God especially for people who are no longer in my life. People I wish I could say, "I might not be with you but I hug you and kiss you and hold you in my heart." Friends and family who have either passed on or moved on and whose absence has created an emptiness in my heart that not even my Mom's famous sweet potato recipe can fill. I cant remember if her recipe called for sweet potatoes with some brown sugar or if it was brown sugar with a few sweet potatoes mixed in. All I know is they were good!

I miss my Mom today recalling how much she enjoyed having the entire family over at her and my dads house which my wife and I purchased and now call home. She went 'all in' during holiday meals. My dads one job, Ok, two jobs were, one, stay out of the kitchen until it was "time", and then two, he got to cut the turkey. I miss my dad cutting the turkey as he was all man when it came to trimming the bird. Plate presentation meant nothing, results did. He started off great and cut perfect slices of meat. Then, the closer he got to the bones he must have grown impatient cutting so began pulling the meat of the bone. By the time he was done the plate of turkey looked more like it had been ravaged by a bird of prey as it was all torn up and in such small pieces you couldn't even pick it up with a fork. It did make for great turkey sandwiches later as the turkey was already in bite size pieces.

I am thankful today my Mom had so many different types of linen table clothes on the table and though I feared that it might collapse from the sheer weight of it all. I miss the holiday plate settings and all the different forks and knives and spoons that graced the Thanksgiving table. I miss the decorations and the centerpieces that she had to set the tone for the special occasion. I miss her outfits that aligned perfectly with the color of the holiday being celebrated. 

Yes, there is so much I miss today and yet its in my missing that I have become even more grateful for what I have and who is here in my life today. I am most grateful for my beautiful wife who is the centerpiece of my life. I am grateful for my wonderful children and our absolutely adorable grand babies. I am grateful for my brother and sisters, as well as my brothers and sisters in law, nieces and nephews and extended family I am unsure even how we are related but am very thankful they are. I am grateful for a wonderful church family made up of staff, key leaders, first time guests, regular attendees and volunteers who have blessed my life this past year in ways no words could fully explain. I love them dearly. We are family!

You might be separated by miles from the people you love most, my friends, but I hope you find the time and a way to communicate your love to the people you hold dear over the Holidays. I am sure our church secretary would be honored if you took her words and made them your own as you seek to communicate to the people you love most but find yourself separated by the miles between you this Thanksgiving. Try it, pick up the phone and make the call. Say something like, "I love you and though we aren't together this Thanksgiving I want you to know I hug you and kiss you and hold you in my heart." It might just be the sweetest part of their Thanksgiving Day!

Like the Last Supper Jesus shared with His disciples before the Cross, Jesus knew there was a day coming when they would all be together again, seated at a table enjoying the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb" in heaven! Yes, loved one, the greatest Thanksgiving celebration ever is still yet to be. One day we will all meet up again, every one who has ever placed their hope and trust in Jesus will be there. One day we will all sit together at a table where everything has been prepared for us and we are free to enjoy the One who made it all possible as well as one another. What a day that will be! So, count your blessings today, express your gratitude to God for both those who are present and those who have passed on remembering Jesus own words,

"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."

John 14:3


"Keep Stomping"
"I am Grateful"



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Monday, 10 December 2018