Baskets, Grey Hair, and God's Blessings
"Mom, do you realize how
old you are in dog years? If my calculations are right,
you're over 300 years old!"
Isn't that the way life is?
You teach them how to multiply, and then they use it against
Sometimes it's hard to be thankful.
Houses get dirty right after you clean them, children must
be taught, then re-taught the same thing again…animals add
to the mess in the home…time brings new wrinkles, grey hair
(as do children!)…
Just a glance at my "sock
basket" can send me into a slump. Most of us wear flip
flops in the summertime because I hate folding socks. And
it's not the kind of chore that I can just assign to the
kids. It's complicated! Everyone has their own size and
style, and it's just not always easy knowing whose socks
are whose. But now that the weather is cold, I have no choice!
Eventually I'm going to have to wash and fold socks.
Recently my sweet mother sent
everyone a new package of socks. They arrived at our house
in 2 medium-sized boxes. I counted 77 new pair of socks!
"I won't have to wash socks for more than a week!"
I thought happily as I unwrapped them, folded each pair
of socks, and placed them in everyone's clean laundry pile.
Well…that was over a week ago. Sigh. Now I have 77 pair
of newly washed socks, unmatched and unfolded in my sock
basket, ready to be folded and put away.
It's easy to forget the blessings
of life, especially when there are so many distractions
and "socks to fold." But I'm truly thankful for
Thanksgiving! I can't wait to celebrate it this coming Thursday!
Each year we take time to read about the Pilgrims and their
struggle with first living in our land. Do you know the
story? Just tonight I told the story of the very first Thanksgiving
to the kids in our home Bible study.
Do you know what really happened?
Life was hard for the Pilgrims
their first year here. There were so many delays in actually
beginning their journey, that by the time they arrived in
the "New World," it was very cold. It took months
to build shelters, and then they were faced with the dilemma
of what to eat. They found small supplies of corn, and had
a few supplies left over from their journey, but it was
barely enough to sustain all of them. Food became so scarce
that the Pilgrims had to ration the corn they had found
-- it was all they had left! 5 kernels a day -- that's all
each of them received.
5 kernels a day! Think about
that…how would you eat them? All at once? Would you make
them last throughout the day? Would you share them with
your children, who were becoming thinner and paler every
day…? What about with your husband -- who had lost so much
weight that you hardly recognized him?
Over half of the Pilgrims died
that first winter, though not from starvation. There were
only 5 women left! But these men, women, and children never
gave up. They never turned their backs on God. They trusted
Him to sustain them and carry them through. Their religious
freedom was worth their very lives.
It's astounding to be reminded
of how Squanto came into their lives. He was a lot like
Joseph from the Bible -- he had been sold into slavery --
from the New World into Africa. From there, he escaped and
found passage to England, where he worked until he saved
enough money to buy passage home again. While in England,
Squanto learned to speak English fluently. He learned the
ways of the "white man." God had a plan -- for
the Pilgrims and for Squanto.
When Squanto returned to his
home, his whole tribe was gone! They had been wiped out
by some sickness -- a disease believed to have been brought
to the New World by the white man. Heartbroken, Squanto
really had no place to call home. He lived among other Indian
tribes in the area.
God sent the Pilgrims to the
New World according to His own perfect timing. The Native
Americans knew that the newcomers had arrived, and some
tribes would have slaughtered them -- seeing them as a threat
to their homeland and, understandably, to their health.
But Squanto was there to bridge the obvious gaps. Because
he spoke fluent English, he translated for the Pilgrims
and helped to establish peace between the white man and
the native tribes. Then, he stayed with the Pilgrims for
a time, teaching them to plant, to fish, and to hunt in
a way that enabled them to survive.
God is truly amazing. God is
our Great Provider.
That first Thanksgiving feast,
many months after the Pilgrims had arrived in the New World,
was truly a joyous one. The Native Americans came and brought
food. The Pilgrims were able to harvest and cook the food
that God had provided them through Squanto's help. It was
a time of sharing.
But the Pilgrims would not
forget that hard first winter. Though there was much food
to eat that first Thanksgiving celebration, the first course
that day was an empty plate…each with only 5 kernels of
In silence, they took the time
to ponder what God had done. Five kernels were a reminder
of what God had brought them through.
After a moment of gazing at those 5 kernels -- right in
front of the Native Americans -- they bowed before their
God in deep gratitude. They would never forget their hardships…and
the God Who sustained them.
Admittedly it's been a tough
year for the Lovelace family. We've stumbled through job
loss, bone disease, hospital stays, financial trouble, wheelchairs,
heart problems, tears, and discouragement.
But pondering the experiences
of the Pilgrims makes me feel truly thankful this season
for what we DO have -- life, family and friends, our church,
food to eat, and even our sock basket! Life is a gift, you
know? And it's precious.
Oh loved one of God! Look at
your empty plate. See the 5 kernels? God is using them to
sustain you -- to remind you that He is there.
Has your year been a tough one?
He loves you. He has a plan.
You want to know God's will?
joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
I Thessalonians 5:16-18
© 2011. Faith Matters by Lygia Lovelace. All rights