HOUSTON -- I'm writing this to you the afternoon before Thanksgiving. I will be too covered in family to have much time for written reflections on the actual day. I'm here by myself at my house of so many years. From where I'm sitting at our big round dinner table (my favorite piece of furniture in my house), I can see the top of the stairs. It seems like only yesterday, two little blond girls stood at the top of those stairs with their nightgowns on, their blankets clutched tightly in their arms, and adorable little bedheads, looking down at me in the kitchen, saying, "Is it morning yet, Mommy?"
It usually wasn't what any decent sleeper could ever call morning but who can resist warm, snuggly preschoolers fresh out from under the covers? Especially if they hadn't wet the bed? And, thank God, I was spared a pair of bedwetters. It really was yesterday that I saw two other children those same ages apart at the top of those same stairs, both with an uncanny resemblance to the first two. "Bibby, can I have a treat? And milk? Or juice? And can it be chocolate?"
"The juice or the treat, Buddy?"
Thinks for a moment.
Well, that's what the oldest one said anyway. The younger one just echoed, "Treat, Bibby! Treat!" I was standing within three feet of that one. She only gets to be arm's distance from Bibby most of the time.Her smile melts my heart. Her little short pony tail slays me. And her miniature track suit is more than I can bear. I can't stop laughing over the mysterious fact that, when you ask her what her (hard-to-pronounce) name is, she emphatically says, "Paw Paw." You can imagine that Keith isn't about to be the voice of reason. He likes things just like they are.
I feel so thankful today. And not because it's been a sparklingly spotless year for the extended Moore/Jones/Fitzpatrick family because it hasn't. Is any whole year like that?? Any whole month?? It's certainly not for this flawed crew. I feel gratitude because God has been gracious to us and right there with us through every up and down. I don't know about your house but life can be a roller coaster here at this address. He's kept His word to us even when we didn't keep ours to Him. He is always better than He has to be.
Sometimes we just need the quiet to reflect on His goodness. I'm getting that today. Keith's running errands. The dogs are outside. Sweet potatoes are cooling off on the kitchen counter and I just pulled a large iron skillet of cornbread (yes, drenched in bacon grease) out of the oven.
It's everything I can do not to tear off a piece of that hot cornbread and butter it and shut my eyes and be back for just a moment in my mama's kitchen with her and my grandmother. They'd crumble theirs up in "sweet milk" and eat it with a spoon but I wouldn't. I'd just laugh at their wonderful countryside and eat mine like I was mostly city side, except for licking my fingers and maybe my hand. And they'd say in unison, "Well, you're snubbin' your betters." I miss them so much today but I'll try to do them right with my turkey and dressing. Thoughts like these make me grin really big and feel like I could cry if I'd let myself.
But I won't. Because I'm too busy.
Georgia Jan (who I became friends with through Siestaville) and I have already compared notes today on our dressing recipes. The holidays make us want to reach out and connect with people who have touched us through the year. Or through a lifetime. Thanksgiving is about so much more than cooking and traveling. We all know that. It's about being audaciously deliberate in celebrating the goodness of God with at least a few people you really love. Or maybe just really like. Even for one day. People as quirky as you are. And probably because they're kin to you.
Here are a few things I feel especially thankful for today:
For a belief system where we can have absolute certainty of our salvation.We know this isn't it. We know where we're going and it's good. We know that this turns out very well.
For a belief system where nothing – not even your worst disaster or failure – gets wasted.
For a belief system where every day is a new day and every act of repentance is a brand new beginning.Who has that but us???
For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is the entirety of my belief system.
For His indwelling Spirit who enables me to be so different than the old me. And different tomorrow from today's me.
For the sacred holy Scriptures. Oh, thank You, Lord. My food and my drink.
For my man. Every year we defy the odds. He just walked in the door and kissed me on the forehead. I'm thankful we're at it again.
For the inestimable, ongoing gift of my blood daughters, Amanda Moore Jones and Melissa Moore Fitzpatrick. My best friends. I really don't know what a soul mate is exactly but, as best I can tell, they're both mine. I never have a thought they're not some part of, in this way or that.
For my three beloved sons, each "my true son" in the spirit of the Apostle Paul's words to Titus: Curtis Jones, Colin Fitzpatrick, and Travis Cottrell. They are that to me.
Oh, mercy, for my darlings, Jackson and Annabeth. If life is a meal, they are my constant dessert.
For my co-laborers in the great Gospel of Jesus Christ at LPM. "The Village." I love them so much.
For my extended family on both sides. Blood brothers and sisters and the same in-laws for decades. For the inexpressible privilege of having my older sister, Gay, back in my everyday life. Not a day goes by that I take that for granted.
For Keith's parents and, gracious me, at this point my own: John and Sue Moore. We want them next to us for the rest of their years.
For the unspeakable gift of spiritual daughters. I did not see that one coming. DELIGHT.
For my dear friends. The kind that have had my personal cell number since my first phone. And don't mind carrying on a whole lot of relationship by text.
For my pastor, Gregg Matte, and his wife, Kelly, and their two children. For the church family they shepherd. I've never seen one exactly like it.
For my neighbors who love me even though they think I'm a tad whacked.
For renewed physical strength and health. I was one sick girl this time last year.
Yep, you, Siestaville. I thank God for you. You've made my life richer in Jesus. And at the end of the day, that's what I care most about.
For just this moment, I picture all of you on this list right here at my small table and I smile.
Praise be to the Lord, for He has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song. The Lord is the strength of His people, a fortress of salvation for His anointed one. Save Your people and bless Your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever. Psalm 28:6-9
Beth Moore is a passionate writer, speaker and teacher of the Word of God. Founder of Living Proof Ministries, her books and Bible studies include "Breaking Free," "Believing God," "The Patriarchs" and most recently, "James: Mercy Triumphs." She hosts an interdenominational Bible study for women at Houston's First Baptist Church and is a member of Bayou City Fellowship in Houston.
This letter was originally posted Nov. 24 on blog.lproof.org.