Lasting Memories

“Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.”

2 Peter 1:15  

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 let you know who read this blog how very grateful I am for you! The apostle Paul captured perfectly what I want to write you when he penned these words in Philippians 1:3, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” The little church in Philippi had made a lasting impression on the apostle Paul, one that whenever he thought back over his life about the things he was thankful for, they immediately came to mind. My hope and prayer for all this Thanksgiving is that we communicate with those we love how thankful we are for them as we never know when our last Thanksgiving together might be. Make memories today that last beyond a lifetime.

Its was a number of years ago now and I recall a conversation with one of our staff members 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 in person before her mother passed away after a lengthy illness. She shared how she spoke with her mom every day by phone and would always end their 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 as he recalled them to his mind and to his prayers.

I feel that same way today as I am thinking and thanking God for people who are no longer in my life. People I wish I could talk with in person and 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. As I think back I can’t 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.

I miss my Mom today recalling how much she enjoyed having our entire family over at her and my dads house which is now our home as my wife and I purchased it after my mom’s passing. Even though we are in the middle of a kitchen remodel and don’t even have a sink or a stove, we are still hosting a Thanksgiving celebration as Thanksgiving is more than food. Its family and friends, its sharing life just as much as it is sharing a meal. My Mom went all in during holiday meals. My dads one job, Ok, he had two jobs. One was, stay out of the kitchen until it was “time”, and his number two job was, 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. 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 he just began pulling the meat off the bone with his fingers, (and unbeknownst to most he was licking them along the way, ha). By the time he was finished picking and pulling and slicing the turkey, the plate looked more like a pile of meat that 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 however 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 cloths on the table and the fear I had 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. My beautiful wife, my wonderful children and our absolutely adorable grand babies. My brother and sisters, brother in laws and sister in laws, nieces and nephews and family I am unsure even how we are all related but thankful we are. I am grateful for a wonderful church family made up of staff, key leaders, first time guests, regular attendees and volunteers who bless my life in ways no words could fully explain. We are family!

You might be separated by miles from the people you love most, but I hope you find the time and a way to communicate your love to the people you hold dear over the Holidays. If you find yourself separated by the miles between you this Thanksgiving you might try doing what our staff member did. Pick up your 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 that we read about in the book of Revelation! Yes, loved one, the greatest Thanksgiving celebration ever is still yet to be when we all get to heaven. 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. Like the song says, “What a day, What a day that will be!” So, count your blessings today, be thankful for what you have and express your gratitude to God for both those who are present today in your life as well as for those who have passed away remembering Jesus own words as you do,

“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



Michael Osthimer





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