Last Friday we had Thanksgiving Round 1. Not the usual Thanksgiving. But it was Thanksgiving - for us. We are empty nesters this year.
The newlyweds came through and when one or even two of three kids are home near the holiday - you set the table, eat turkey, drink good wine, and give thanks. It was a very good night.
The easiest way to adjusting to all of this empty nest stuff is learning to be in the moment. There's a lot of joy in letting go and realizing your holiday can be any day where two or more are gathered. And intentionality does count too - believe me, they will ALL be here for Christmas and I'm counting the minutes. Ho ho ho!
As usual for our Thanksgiving meal, since 2008, I pulled out my phone, searched for "turkey" in my gmail and found the trusted gobbler recipe I've been using for seven years from a trusted friend when I finally decided at least the main course on Thanksgiving and Christmas should not be picked up from Central Market or Whole Foods. I should hand down at least ONE recipe, right?
In January of this year, Mark and I were pretty sure THIS would be the year with no huge 'life events.' The year prior marked a year of a LOT of change - a relocation from Texas to Tennessee. Both of our boys got married - in Texas. Surely, 2015 would be a more quiet year.
In summer we decided we would celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary with our most invested partners- our children and their spouses (secretly suspecting and embracing that this might be the only time we'd all vacation together again without an infant).
And the boyfriend proposed to our baby girl during our vow renewal.
Last weekend (only FOUR months later) she married Her Prince Charming (out of State).
Our oldest and his wife are expecting our first grandchild (we were right about that whole vacation without an infant thing) in February - a GIRL. Pops is TOAST.
And oh yeah - I wrote a book titled "Re-Written" and it's in final edits.
Not a year without "life events" but so much to be grateful to God for.
However, as we enter this week of Thanksgiving and the beginnings of Christmas festivities, there is a group of people that are heavy on my mind and heart. A group I can relate to. A group that doesn't feel like their lives look anything close to a Christmas card or letter.
A group that wants to just skip November and December.
I remember the year I wanted to skip it all. I felt forgotten by God. I felt beyond His reach.
I recall just three years ago when our story looked nothing like a Christmas card letter and happy photo. It was a very sad season. The first year in twenty plus that Thanksgiving and Christmas was nothing like the family traditions we had worked hard for and established. We were so broken and I was a mess.
But God. Since then He has rescued, restored, redeemed, and healed over the course of time. This is part of our story and our journey I will continue to share and unfold in my book. I will forever the rest of my days be mindful and watchful for those who may be in the station I, and we, once were.
Because Jesus. HE IS HOPE.
If you are someone facing disappointment, confusion, hurt, loss, brokenness, fear - hold on.
PLEASE hold on.
YOU are not forgotten.
You are loved and GOD IS ABLE. Sometimes everything screams for us to doubt the goodness of God. But there is still hope because GOD IS STILL GOOD. His compassions and faithfulness are real. Lamentations 3:22-24 assures us, "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself. 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
God invites us into the unseen for intimacy with Him. It is in this place where hope is born, which produces faith and belief. Hope is one of our greatest gifts and weapons. The unseen is not meant to make us weary in the waiting. It is meant for us to know and trust God's heart more.
He loves you and is so for you.