I was diagnosed with walking pneumonia this past Monday. That explains why I haven’t even had the energy to attempt a run in weeks or to walk up the stairs at night to tuck our little girl into bed. I had been pretty sick the past few weeks, barely getting any sleep because of my coughing, running myself crazy trying to work extra in the pharmacy (with long commutes), take care of our children, Greg, our home, and manage a lot of other pressing responsibilities. Of course, the week before I got really sick, I barely got any sleep because I kept getting up at all hours looking around the neighborhood for our lost kitten – who did show up 9 days after he escaped from the house. (Thank You SO much, Lord!)
By the time I could get to the doctor on Monday, I was actually doing a lot better than I had been the week before. But, it was obvious, I have to slow WAY, WAY DOWN. I need to rest. I need to focus on trying to sleep and just being in bed. We have Thanksgiving plans with my family and Greg’s family on Thursday. I probably won’t be able to go because I am very likely contagious and I also need to be in bed as much as possible.
It is awfully easy to get our hopes and expectations way up about holiday celebrations with family or friends. When a wrench gets thrown in our plans, how are we going to respond? What do you do when a child suddenly gets very ill, you get sick, a parent or grandparent has to be admitted to the hospital, a snowstorm closes the roads, the flight gets delayed, the finances won’t allow for traveling, or family tensions mount and everything seems to fall apart?
- We could choose to be angry and upset.
- We could choose to cry.
- We could become angry or bitter at our circumstances, at other people, at the weather, or at God.
- We could resent not being able to get together with our family or friends like we had planned.
- We could try to force our way to make things work out the way we want them to and lash out when we can’t do what we wanted to do.
- We could argue with our husbands or family about possible solutions.
- We could complain non-stop.
- We could get really irritable, grumpy, and negative and ruin things for ourselves and everyone around us.
Here are some other ideas:
- We could acknowledge our feelings to our husbands, ourselves, our children and God. “Oh, I am so disappointed! I was really looking forward to going to Mom and Dad’s house and being together with everyone. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! I feel really sad about this.” We may even need to cry about it for awhile.
- We could write down our expectations, our fears, our concerns, and how sad we feel. Journalling can be very therapeutic, especially if we then write down things to be thankful for and invite God to intervene in the situation however He might believe is best.
- We could stop and be still before God and spend some time in prayer.
- We could acknowledge God’s sovereignty and that He is in control, not us.
- We could thank and praise God for our circumstances and even for the plans falling through, waiting in anticipation to see what He plans to do through this situation for His glory.
- We could make a favorite food for ourselves if we are home sick, or make our child’s favorite sick-time food.
- We could watch a fun movie together with our children.
- We could listen to some David Platt Secret Church sessions or praise music on Youtube or an MP3 player if we are home alone sick.
- We could look for ways to make being stranded at home (or when traveling) fun and memorable (hopefully we were prepared just in case!).
- We could seek to be flexible, thankful, joyful and careful to shower the love of God on everyone around us.
- If we are home alone all day (or for several days) with a bowl of chicken noodle soup – maybe we could savor this precious time alone with God and seek to listen to all that He has to share with us.
- If we are home with a sick child, how blessed we are to get to be that child’s mother and to get to be the one who takes care of him/her! We could think of ways to make this time together extra special and cherish these precious memories.
- What if He, in His sovereignty, allowed one of us to get sick so that we don’t get in a wreck we would have gotten into when we were traveling? Wouldn’t that be an incredible blessing and miracle?
- What if God, in His sovereignty, wants us to slow down and be still and just spend time at His feet?
- What if He has things for us to learn in the midst of this test?
- What if He is orchestrating an opportunity for us to reach out to someone we hadn’t planned to see – and maybe He will allow us to share the love of Christ with that person in a way that we never would have our plans had gone smoothly?
- What if our travel plans getting cancelled means that we have the opportunity to invite that divorcee, widow/widower,or a single man/woman from church or the neighborhood or work to our house and enjoy a time of fellowship for a meal that they will always cherish?
- What if everything “going wrong” gives us a chance to show respect to our husbands and honor for their leadership in a trial that ends up greatly increasing the intimacy and strength in our marriage?
- What if God desires to use us as an example to our extended family, friends, and children of a thankful, humble, godly response to adversity that impacts them and strengthens their faith in God or draws them to faith in Christ?
Thanksgiving is really a mindset much more than it is a holiday.
For a believer in Christ, gratitude is mandatory. We ALWAYS have MUCH to be thankful for. I pray that we will continue to be truly thankful even if we face a test this week, and that we might respond in the power of God’s Spirit when things don’t seem to work out as we had planned. I pray that God might be greatly glorified in our lives. I pray we might lay our expectations of the holiday down at the feet of Jesus. I pray that we might allow Him the freedom to move and work as He sees fit. I pray that we might trust Him with all our hearts and that we might be sensitive to anything He wants to say to us.
Much love to each of you, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Would you like to share about a time when your Thanksgiving or Christmas plans fell apart, but in the end, it turned out to be a blessing? We would love to hear your stories!
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (I Thes. 5:16-18)
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Phil. 4:13
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.