The Shabby Lawn Furniture At My Thanksgiving Table

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Sometimes when we’re struggling, we just want the holiday "Hip, hip, hooray" to GO AWAY! Yet God is good ALL the time!

I’ll never forget the Thanksgiving at my house on Glenn Drive, Euless, Texas.  (And that is pronounced – YOUless, not USEless.)  Indeed, the lessons I learned as a brand new single mom in that house were anything but useless.

Thanksgiving was only three weeks away and I was a freshly hatched single mom. My heart was devastated that my kids would not be with me, but with their dad.  I dreaded that day and could not wait for it to be over.  Sometimes when we’re struggling, we just want the holiday-hip-hooray to GO AWAY! (Did I hear an amen?)

So, on this particular Thanksgiving, my extended family voted to gather at my table in YOUless. They thought it’d be good for my spirits, and then we girls could all go shopping after the meal in the mall next to my house. (Shopping? Oh yes, please.)

The family descended on my household with food in hand. My job was to decorate the tables. However, I realized in the process that I didn’t have enough chairs. So inside the house came the lawn furniture: torn, stinky, stained in what I thought was a ghastly disruption to the lovely fall ambiance.

That was over two decades ago; yet, I still remember when the chairs entered the kitchen.  I was aghast! Maybe it’s because they represented my heartbroken life.  I muffled, Lord, shouldn’t my husband and kids be in this household sharing this day – laughing, bonding, sitting on mahogany chairs instead of these tacky ones?  

I discovered much the first couple of years of being a single parent without Jason and Sara on that day. I learned that chairs don’t matter and more importantly, the children don’t either. Thanksgiving is not just about thanks living (everyone all nestled down in their jovial little families), but thanks giving (offering oneself as a sacrifice in blessing others.) So for the next five years, I joined the people at the homeless shelter (without my children) making that day an official act of worship to God by substituting my personal pain for His personal pleasure.

This November, for the first time in twenty-five years, I’ll celebrate Thanksgiving with both of my children and their children at my table, and yes, even in mahogany chairs (I have to chuckle at God’s attention to detail!) Yet the lesson branded deep within is far above that blessing. God is good all the time whether we see it, feel it or think it, fulfilling His promise to make everything beautiful in His time.

Are your circumstances causing you to sit in scruffy lawn furniture or in mahogany, wing-backed chairs?  Whatever the case, Thanksgiving has a unique purpose -- one that is not useLESS, but rather useFUL in God’s economy and timing. Therefore, we can enter into the Thanksgiving season with a grateful heart.

In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus. Psalm 107:1 

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