An Undivided Thanksgiving

Originally published Tuesday, 24 November 2015.


I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders. I will be glad and exult in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High. Psalms 9:1-2 NASB

I’ve never been very good at memorizing Bible verses, or memorizing much of anything, for that matter. So when we were blessed with our bundle of joy, I knew I wanted to help him be better at memorizing Scripture than I am. He’s still too tiny to really be memorizing or reciting anything, but I figured instilling the habit would help us both. So on the wall above his changing table hang two verse cards that I change from time to time. He points at them to remind me to read them and sometimes he wants to hear them over and over.

As the Thanksgiving season drew near, I taped up some appropriate verses. And in the squirming diaper changes, something simple, yet important, struck me with a fresh awareness as we read our little verses. Scripture tells us to give thanks with all our heart. Not a tenth of our heart. Not with a bedraggled, exhausted, distracted tiny piece of our heart. The whole thing.

I’ve been noticing as I trudge farther down this road of life that I really can’t do quite as many things as I once thought I could. I can try to do lots of things. But to really do them well requires more singular focus than I’d previously thought.

As a wife, I’ve seen how supporting my husband can often mean making sure I don’t stretch myself so thin that I’m too tired to notice when my man’s back hurts or when he needs a little encouragement. My hubby is one of those quiet guys who tries to be strong and trudge on without burdening anyone else. So I’ve learned I can easily miss the signals that he might need extra encouragement or support if I am all caught up in my whirlwind. As a mom, I’ve learned my little one has tons of unscheduled needs. In order to be prepared for his needs, I must have a margin built into life so there’s something left of me to tend him. As a pastor’s wife I’ve seen how a posture of stillness can actually accomplish more kingdom progress than all my frenzied, passionate efforts. Sometimes, doing less and trying to be a little less actually makes more room for the important things.

I think the same holds true in our approach to God. When we are going six-ways-for-Sunday, we miss Him. We miss His quiet nudges. We miss His fingerprints on Creation around us. We miss the little delights He fashioned into the day. And we just plain miss Him.

No matter how hard I might try to stretch myself, I can’t be in two places at once. Spiritually, emotionally, and mentally we can’t be in two places at once either. Our thanksgiving to our Father deserves our whole heart. Gratitude and grumbling don’t grow in the same heart space. We can’t experience the awareness of being blessed when our senses are overloaded with stress. Maybe this year we could cut out some of the hoopla so we could have more heart space to focus on simply being thankful.

So this Thanksgiving (admittedly, amidst more than enough flurry already) I am trying to center my whole heart, not a wearied tenth of it, on being thankful for my Lord and all His many blessings.

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