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Are We Thankful?
by Kathy Ritchie
When I think of “Thanksgiving” I used to think of turkey, good food, football, (yes, Dallas always plays on Thanksgiving) and of course lots of family time. I have loved adding the Thanksgiving ministry to my life as well. It is fun to shop for lots of food in Walmart with Rachel and to get all of the questions about why we are loading down carts with turkeys, gravy in jars, vegetables, bread and pies. No doubt, Thanksgiving is about lots of good food and fun traditions.
Thankfully, no pun intended, Thanksgiving goes much deeper than that for believers. We have much to thank our God for all of the time but how are we at giving thanks? I stand convicted. It is easier to cave into the worries of life all around us whether it is the state of our country, our health or our family life. Sometimes it’s hard to be grateful when things just don’t feel right. Indeed, I think we can have a “heart” of stone sometimes. I know I do. Thanks be to our gracious, loving Savior for giving us a “heart” of flesh that can be broken so we can really “see” all of the wonder of the gifts He so freely gives us all of the time.
A few years ago, a dear friend gave me Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. Needless to say, God used that book to show me how much I live with tunnel vision and in such a hurried way that I forget to live fully in the “now”. There is so much to see if we would just open our eyes, ears and hearts to really see Him right now. We can see His gifts in the most mundane things that we just take for granted or ignore all together, like the leaves that are covering the ground in my yard. Each one was unique and beautiful once but I never paid much attention. Now they have my attention because they are a mountainous chore waiting for me. I have to admit it is hard to thank God right now for all of these leaves.
It has been a difficult year in some ways for me. I have lost some dear friends this year; some through death and some through moving away. Both have been losses that have brought pain and it was hard to give thanks. But, now I see how God has used these circumstances to “press” me closer to Him; to find peace and rest in Him and His plans for me. His grace always amazes me. He never disappoints me.
I think I always assumed that things would somehow stay the same and my life would “float” into eternity without all the bumps along the way. But it’s the bumps that send me to my knees and to the One who is always there. It is on my knees that I need to be the most thankful. Where would I be if I didn’t have the Holy Spirit to convict me, draw me and point me to Christ? I shudder to think. You see, I NEED Christ all of the time. I’m so needy that I don’t even know how bad it is. But He is so wonderful that He knows and He has taken care of it.
So what am I trying to convey with these random thoughts? Just this, open your eyes, your heart to Him and live “fully” right now. Soon, we will be “crazy” busy with Christmas. Some of us already are. Slow down, deep breaths and ask Him to show you what He has for you to see, experience now. Then thank Him for whatever it is. Keep a thanksgiving journal and read it back to yourself occasionally. It will change your perspective.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice. Let your gentleness be know to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
About Kathy: I was born and raised in Richmond, VA. I am the middle kid of five. I graduated from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in Child Development. I became a believer through the ministry of Campus Crusade at the Episcopal church in Blacksburg, VA when I was a freshman at Virginia Tech. It was at Virginia Tech that I met my amazing husband, Dan, and we are getting ready to celebrate our 37th anniversary this December. We have four kids who are all married and we now have seven grandchildren. We stay very busy with Dan’s business, Express Auto and with all the grandchildren. For those of you who may not know, we are the other grandparents of Judah, Wren and Sybil Kittredge. Our children and grandchildren bring so much joy to our lives! I also love sports, all types. I love football especially when my Hokies are playing well. I love tennis and have made many friends through that sport. My other love is music which has been so important in my life. Other than that, I’m a “graduated” home school mom who enjoyed home schooling all four of our kids.
Still need Pies for Thanksgiving Ministry!
Rachel Whitman reports that we are short about 8 more people to bring 2 pies. Please contact her if you can help. In case you are not a pie baker and are wondering – pies do not have to be homemade!
Farewell Potluck for Doug and Ann Park – This coming Sunday after Morning Service in the Fireside Room
Doug and Ann are heading to Chicago to open a Chick-Fil-A. December 1st will be their last Sunday worshipping at NLICC. If you would like to join their current and past care groups for lunch following service that day, please RSVP and let us know what you will bring by clicking HERE. Even if you are not sure what you are bringing, we’ll want to have a count for setting up tables and chairs so please let us know if you are coming.
Selah Leigh Greenberg has arrived!
Please contact Lisa Capitano if you are willing to help with meals for Jeremy and Tracy’s family.
Cookie Exchange – December 13th at 6:30pm in the Fireside Room
A Christmas goodie/cookie exchange will be held following the JH/SH departure for caroling. Make your favorite Christmas treat and package them in individual bags (3-4 items per bag). Bring as many bags as you want. You will leave with the same amount of bags of yummy Christmas treats! Bring some extra to snack on while we have a wonderful time of fellowship! No RSVP required, just bring treats if you want to exchange or just yourself and a friend if you just want to fellowship.
Has God taught you something through His Word that would be an encouragement to others? Have you seen His providential hand at work in your life? Consider sharing your story with the women of New Life in Christ Church. Send your story to email@example.com. If you have a friend who has encouraged you with her testimony of God’s faithfulness, encourage her to share.
Enjoy your time with family and friends this Thanksgiving and remember to give thanks for our wonderful Savior and the works He has done.
in His grace,
for the Women’s Ministry Committee