Thanksgiving: One Noodle at a Time

by Heather Spring {Gilion}


Since Hobby Lobby already has their Christmas decor out, I can write about Thanksgiving, right?

I can get swept away in to-do lists with calendar alerts dictating my day. Frustrations rise up when I have to tie another shoelace or wipe another bottom. I can also get grumpy when I have to realign the pillows on my couch… one more time! Didn’t they see that I JUST straightened them? Or when my husband ends up having another meeting, I can inwardly throw a little grownup pity party! Seriously, are we going to have some family time or not? When all those frustrations, or {let’s get honest} moments that don’t revolve around me, are really opportunities to release “control” over my day and have a moment of thanksgiving…that my husband has a job, or that I have bottoms to wipe, or pretty pillows for my couch.

Or maybe it’s BIGGER than that: a tire blows, I find out someone I care about is in the hospital…again, a friend’s marriage is falling apart, there’s a school shooting, or a family member’s addictions are leading them to pull away. When things are not in our control, or simply don’t go as planned—BIG or small—I’m quick to get frustrated and short. Hello, didn’t everyone get the memo of how this day should roll?

But lately the Lord has been quickening my heart to pause and give thanks. I’m practicing the art of gratitude. I’m giving thanks when things don’t go my way. I’m trusting He’s in the details of my life and having a peaceful knowledge that He is leading me to holiness not a life of ease… and being okay with that.

So, to celebrate Thanksgiving in my heart today, I’m giving thanks for the times that have shaped me, that are shaping me, and that will shape me.

“In everything GIVE THANKS; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

{1 Thessalonians 5:18}

Giving thanks should be like eating spaghetti… one noodle at a time. So, here’s a list—not comprehensive—but today’s noodles:

1. I’m thankful that my dad told me that I was pretty. When I was a teenager, he wrote me a letter {that I still have today} that spoke more about the importance of inner pretty than outer pretty. I might have acted like I wasn’t really listening… but I was.

2. I’m thankful that God’s mercies are indeed “new” EVERY morning!

3. I’m thankful that in fifth grade, when I decided I was going to start cussing, a couple friends told me to stop it. They said I couldn’t cuss right. Instead of learning how to do it right, I decided to speak like a lady rather than a sailor.

4. Even though I do have short, fat toes; I’m thankful that I have ten toes. {I’m wearing flip-flops today… trying to be thankful.}

5. I’m thankful for a husband that tells me when I’m not being nice. This might seem like a weird one, but this sharpening means that he loves me—that he cares about my heart more than my ego. He was given to me to make me more like Jesus.

6. I’m thankful for my two boys that keep me dancing, make believing, and praying! I love learning more about sacrifice and grace by these two characters.

7. I’m thankful for the still small voice that’s within me that guides me, directs me, and points me to the path of freedom. God’s own Spirit inside little old me! What power and fullness resides within my beating chest! Who am I that I should carry around such beauty and perfection?

8. I’m thankful for friends that I can be vulnerable with. I have friends that know me and still love me, friends that aren’t “yes-women” but are God-fearing, God-loving ladies. Oh, and I love a good friend-hug!

9. I’m thankful for taste buds. Working on a banana with Nutella right now, get you some! Yuuuummmmm.

10. I’m thankful for black… its slimming. {#9 and #10 go together}

11. I’m thankful that in seventh grade Jeremy broke up with me because I told him I couldn’t make-out with him. Oh, yeah… and for the break-up with Chris over not being able to go to dances. Oh… and when I got the big dump-dump-a-roo from Brad, Brian, Jay, and Steven. Tears were shed, but God even protects us from ourselves.

12. I’m thankful that my sister Holly told on me when I started smoking in college. The fear of my dad’s wrath was enough to put out my cigs fast!

13. I’m thankful for music that leads me to see beyond this world and realigns my heart as I meditate on what’s true.

14. I’m thankful for mascara.

15. I’m thankful for the storms that have come in my life. When I think about His nearness during my darkest hours, my heart spills over with gratitude. I have never been alone. NEVER. Even when He allowed storms to come, in His perfect way, He stilled the storm in me. Plus, I have a new affection for rainbows—they are a constant reminder that God’s promises remain.

16. I’m thankful that I am not trapped in a pit of bitterness, fear, or anger anymore: from hole to whole. God rescues those that call on His Name!

17. I’m thankful that people can change. I can always grow, change, and be more of who I was created to be.

18. I’m thankful that He’s made me a dreamer. At times it feels as if I’m standing on the edge of a cliff, without a lifeline, but trusting Him is getting easier and easier as I’m witnessing His equipping the called. I’m joyfully dreaming God-sized dreams.

19. I’m thankful for rollie pollies. Enough said.

20. I’m thankful for really good laughs. The kind that make tears stream down your face. I had one of those the other night watching a new hire at Sonic, delivering food on skates. He was clinging to the side of the building as he maneuvered from car to car. At one point he rolled into the side of a car. It was dinner and a show, people! Tears were shed over the new kid. Now I feel bad… praying for his bruises and skillz!

21. Speaking of laughter, I’m thankful for Zach’s laugh when he watches “crazy cat” youtube videos.

22. This one could actually be my list, just this one. If I would let this take root in my heart every morning, there would really be no need for any other number: I’m thankful that I was loved to death. Jesus and the cross is the ultimate act of love. A love that daily motivates and changes me from the inside out.

23. I’m thankful for pimples… they keep you humble. {Okay, I struggled writing this one.}

What are you thankful for? Join me in practicing Thanksgiving today and every day as a way of fighting the rhythms of forgetfulness and annoyed duty. You have no idea what your day will bring, but thanking God for His hand that is ever present in your life will be fuel to your faith. As the sun breaks through to dawn, may His presence pierce our darkness. His light illuminates and fills.

So, who doesn’t like a full belly and a full heart? Are you ready to devour a giant plate of spaghetti? There’s no need to hurry or worry about etiquette. Fill up your plate. Pick out a noodle and enjoy it. Slurp away. Feast, my friends. A heart of gratitude will leave you full.

{Here’s Noah showing you how to eat spaghetti!}