Give Thanks


Thanksgiving pic

I’ve been thinking about how I can say to others, “Give thanks.” If you’ve recently lost a loved one or are still grieving the loss of a loved one, you may think, How can I give thanks?

As I thought about what I wanted to write to you this Thanksgiving week, I thought, Can I say that I’m thankful that God took my husband home to Himself? Can I say I’m thankful that I am a widow? “No.”

I realized I’m not thankful for those precise things. But I can say that I’m thankful that God didn’t allow my husband to linger in great pain and suffering.  I’m  thankful I know Phil is in heaven with our Lord.  I’m thankful God’s promises have continued to be true. He’s remained faithfully by my side. God promises that He’ll work all things for good if we just trust Him. I have experienced that in my own life and am eternally thankful.

I’m thankful for the normal things in our lives: my family, my church, food, clothing, and health. But I’m also thankful for so much more. I’m thankful for my salvation, that Christ gave His life for me. I’m thankful God never leaves nor forsakes His own.  I’m thankful  I had a loving husband and the evidence of that love that still surrounds me. I ‘m thankful for the healing of my grief and strength for those first few years. The beauty of this earth, even in its fallen state, can’t go unmentioned.

I could write pages about all the things I’m thankful for. Instead, I’ll close with this verse, “Jeremiah 33:11 “Give thanks to the LORD of hosts, for the LORD is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”

Let’s praise the Lord for His goodness to us, which  is everlasting!

  “Thank You, Father”

(by Marsha Hubler)

 Thank you, Heavenly Father
  for your strength
which has seen me
through many trials.
Because of you,
I have had the courage
to face tomorrow’s unknown.
Your wisdom
from days gone by
now guides me
to make the right decisions
when I reach the forks
in the road of life.
Thank you, Father,
for the cherished cloak
of family ties
which has molded me …
now enfolds me …
… and fills me
with love and gratitude.
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Alone with God


 

“Retreat from the world’s noise and the clamour of your worries. In silence you can hear the whisper of the Infinite.” (1) These are the words I read on the pamphlet in my silent retreat packet. Preparing for the five- and-a-half hours drive to my favorite retreat, I felt so ready!

There’s something about driving away from everything and going into a quiet spot. Some people feel close to God by listening to music. Others can sit in a cafe with people around them and immerse themselves in their own private world. As for me , I need to be away from my normal surroundings. I relish being surrounded and immersed with nature. Most of all, I need to be in quietness without distractions.

Last year as I read one of my favorite blogs by Ferree Hardy, “A Christian Widow’s Place”, I read about a retreat called God’s Quest. As I read about taking yourself away from your usual busy life and surrounding yourself by God’s nature, talking to no one but him, I found myself thinking yes, this is what I need! While reading the information, I read that the second day is called a “hermit day.” Silence starts at 9 o’clock the first evening and continues through the next day,” hermit day,” and ends 10 a.m. the third day.

There’s something special about this length of silence and solitude without interruption while talking only to God. Jesus often separated himself from  others to be alone with His Heavenly Father and gave us this example to follow.

God speaks in a still small voice. How will we hear him unless we take time to sit still and listen?

Arriving after dark, it wasn’t until Friday morning that I was greeted by the once-again beautiful foliage. The air was brisk, but as I nestled in a blanket relaxing on a glider next to the pond, I felt God’s peace and love. Once again I pulled out my journal and started listening to what He had to say.

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latest pond pic

I imagine  many secrets are hidden in those waters, as others over the years have sat there and talked to God.

After Friday night’s delicious Amish-cooked meal, we attendees met for devotions. Following that sweet time of fellowship and song, we went our silent ways to focus only on our Lord.

Pampering myself in the Jacuzzi in my cottage and sleeping late the next morning were both extra bonuses I enjoyed. It was great knowing that nothing was awaiting me to attend to that day. What a great way to clear one’s mind of all distractions than to remove yourself from them!

I had previously determined not to drive so far for my retreat nextyear, but as I walked across the vacated ski slopes enjoying the view while I talked to the Lord at this special place, I’m afraid I may find myself on that drive again next year.

Regardless of where I spend my retreat, I hope I always take time to go someplace alone to be refreshed. If our Lord needed this, how much more do we?

You may be saying, “It’s not necessary to drive a distance or even to go away from your home to meet with the Lord.” This is true; however, in the busy world in which we live  and the hectic life we live, for me, I know I need to retreat at least once a year.

In Exodus 33:14, God told Moses, “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” This is the verse God  gave  me as I prepared to retreat. Still, His promise is true in all of our situations. As long as we have God’s presence, we can have rest. No matter what trials we face or where we are, we’ll always find a quiet rest in the Lord.

I pray that I keep my mind stayed on Him while I continue in my everyday life.

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May God bless you and help you to find your private “retreat.”

Kathy

  • 1.  texts from the Elf-help Therapy book “Acceptance Therapy” (by Lisa Engelhardt).