A Thankful Heart

21 Nov

This week, we will all be gathering with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Never in my 42 years of living has this day, this celebration, this Thanksgiving season meant more to me than it does this year.

2011 has been one of the hardest – if not THE hardest – year of my life, and I will be happy to bid it farewell on December 31.  Even though this year brought with it fear, uncertainty, and grief in gigantic portions, my heart is overflowing with thanksgiving and gratitude.  Maybe more so this year because of the fear, uncertainty, and grief.

I’ve heard people say that a serious health crisis changes you, changes your perspective on life, and changes your priorities.  It’s true.  It does.  You can’t face the uncertainty of cancer and not view things differently.  Well, I guess technically you could face a serious health crisis and not be changed, but it’s hard to imagine how it could not change you in some way.  I’m ashamed that it took this, a cancer diagnosis, for me to stop and take a look around at all the blessings in my life, but it did.

And maybe it’s not just having cancer.  Maybe it’s that plus the loss of my brother-in-law, and the near loss of my dad last year to a heart attack.  Maybe it’s all of those things combined that are making me take a closer, more appreciative look not just at my life, but at the people in my life.  I am surrounded by living, breathing gifts – people who God has placed in my life and who make it better it countless ways.

Ann Voskamp writes in her book, One Thousand Gifts:

Eucharisteo means to give thanks,
and “give” is a verb,
something that we do.
God calls me to do thanks.
To give the thanks away.
That thanks-giving might
literally become thanks-living.
That our lives become
the very blessings we have received.

She has such a beautiful, unique way with words.  I love her writing.

Thanksgiving – Giving Thanks – is something we do, it’s not just a day for eating (an extremely delicious!) meal with family and friends and watching football (although those are great things to do!).  Thanksgiving is (or should be) a way of life, something we do every day.  Because truthfully, don’t we all have things for which we can be thankful each day?  Some days we have to look really, REALLY hard to see them, but they are there – those things for which we can give thanks.

And if you are reading this, YOU are one of those gifts I’ve been given this year.  I have been incredibly blessed by your love and encouragement, and I am THANKFUL for each one of you!

♥ Rachel

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8 Responses to “A Thankful Heart”

  1. Jo November 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    As I’ve told you before you make my day–everyday. You are a true blessing to all of us. I’m thankful to call you cousin and friend.

    • rachturner November 22, 2011 at 8:21 am #

      Jo! You are such a sweetheart!! I am so grateful for you, your prayers, and your encouragement. Very happy that I “landed” in your family. :)

  2. Jim Fugate November 21, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    Rachael: Reading your comments for some time now has enabled me to not take things—such as life–for granted. You’ve modeled a spirit of trust as you’ve dealt with cancer and I believe many others have been blessed by your attitude.

    So, I’m thankful this season for still being teachable and able to change where needed….all because of you.

    With you I’ll look forward to 2012 as a year of good health and optimism!

    Jim Fugate, West Virginia

    • rachturner November 22, 2011 at 8:23 am #

      Jim – You are such an encourager! :) Thank you for taking the time to write to me, and especially for keeping me in your prayers. I hope you and your family have a truly wonderful Thanksgiving!

  3. Jeannie Evans November 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    Rachel, you will never know what a blessing you have been to so many of us. I continue to hold you in prayer every day and am amazed at your strength, your faith, and your humor. You have become a wonderful gift to me from God. Enjoy this Thanksgiving. Next year you’ll be the one doing all the cooking.

  4. rachturner November 22, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    Jeannie – That is so sweet!! Thank you very much. Hard to believe that I am a blessing to anyone because you all are such incredible blessings to me. God gives us exactly what we need when we need it, and he has placed special people in my life like you to encourage me through this challenge. Thank you! I hope you have a beautiful Thanksgiving!!

  5. createdtobebeautiful November 22, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    I so admire your courage as you are walking this path! I don’t understand why it takes the adversity or tragedy in our lives for us to truly see our blessings… but as you know, I am so very guilty as charged! You are an amazing person who radiates God’s strength! Oh, and the 1000 gifts book… can’t wait to get this! I have heard about this book sooo many times over the last 2 weeks! I think God is speaking loudly to me!!! Many blessings to you… praying for your complete healing! :)

    • rachturner November 28, 2011 at 9:06 am #

      Hey Tara! Thank you for your prayers! I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

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