“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving.” Psalm 69:30 NIV

It’s that time of year. When the frenzy begins. Can you feel it? It’s like electricity coursing through the air. Halloween seems to kick it all off, and we start counting down the days until Christmas and the new year. Our weekends quickly fill with parties and plans. Days seem to fly by in the blink of an eye. And many of us are left feeling a bit empty. Frazzled. And not the least bit thankful.

ToughThanksgiving1aEach year I vow to do better. I say I’m going to practice 30 days of gratefulness. I honestly believe I will too. Life though, it gets busy and somewhere around day 3 I quit, because if I’m honest, it feels less than genuine when I follow the same list each year. I promise myself, and my husband, “Not this year! This will be the year we slow down.” That holds for a day or two, then we fall into the same cycle of saying yes, when we really want to say no. Of not being able to say yes because we’ve already filled our schedule too full. We find ourselves victim to the holiday time thief. 

It’s a hard truth to face. That I am often the biggest problem when it comes to how I feel during this season. Thankfully, that hard truth is also a glorious opportunity. Just because I am the problem, doesn’t mean with God’s help, I can’t also be the solution.

ToughThanksgiving2aThis holiday season, I want to say no to rushing, and yes to fully immersing myself into the moments that matter. To forgoing the things that cause me to stress [I’m looking at you Party #8571 that I don’t really want to attend], so that my mind can be still and present with the ones I’m with. I want to be generous with my time, so that I can spent it with the people who fill me up, honoring the relationships God has given me.

That sounds all well and good, until I start looking at the calendar. My November is already full and the month has barely even started. Oh dear friend, that doesn’t stop me though from continuing to say yes as the month goes on though. As we approach the busiest 8 weeks of the year, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always look at my calendar with thanksgiving – it’s more like pure exhaustion and resentment over time I don’t have.

ToughThanksgiving3aSo this year I’m challenging myself to find my thankfulness in the tough moments. You know the ones I’m talking about. The family event you can’t say no to, but 100% don’t want to be at. The last minute requests that consume your already limited time. The class party that needs extra volunteers. The cookie exchange. The service project. All are individually great, but combined, they collectively become smothering. It’s in those difficult events that take everything I have to be present and joyful, it’s in those moments I want to be looking at them with praise for what God is doing, instead of what I’m not doing.

During the month of November, I’ll be sharing my tough thanksgivings on social media, in an effort to remind myself that blessing don’t always look like the obvious choices.

Today, it feels like the weather is taking every ounce of energy I have left. I’m tired of running to sport practices, freezing in the rain, and listening to the general grouchiness that comes this late in the season. Oh how amazing is our Lord though. He humbled me and reminded me of the path we’ve walked to get here. I would have never believed my challenging first born would have taken to a sport and found a place with his peers. From my cold pop up chair, God is using my son to remind me how important community is. How it can literally change how we look at life. And for that I’m so thankful. Not just for my boy, but for my own heart and the little community that has embraced my family.

Won’t you consider joining me? I would love it if you would share your tough thanksgiving too! Be sure to tag me @messytogether and use the hashtag #toughthanksgiving all throughout the month of November.

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