I hope you’ve had a great week. Last year in Tennessee we had record breaking heat around this time, and now temps are about where they should be. It’s chilly in the morning, warm in the afternoon and fire-pit worthy at night. In short, perfection.
As Anne of Green Gables said, “I’m so glad I live in world where there are Octobers.” That quote starts playing in my mind pretty much as soon as fall is in the air. And I’m not going to let the state of our world impact that sentiment one bit. In fact, I am more and more convicted that what we need is a revival of gratitude. How often do your recent conversations center on how thankful you are? I bet you are like me, not enough. And we know that whether you are full of gratitude or full of misery, both attitudes are highly contagious. Why don’t we commit to be super spreaders of gratitude?
My mom came from a very large family. Her dad had six siblings and his mother, Ida Mae, was widowed at the age of 36. This amazing woman refused government assistance during the Great Depression and by God’s grace alone raised amazing, God-fearing, hardworking children. Ida was a three-pound preemie born in 1894, who they incubated on the wood stove. She was hardy to the core, and lived to the ripe old age of 99. If she’d lived just two more years, she could’ve been at my wedding! Which is kind of mind-blowing.
Anyway the descendants of Ida are a special, special bunch. My mom’s cousin Gayle is one among a handful that I keep in contact with. She lives in Michigan and most summers (like 15 out of the last 17) I get to see her when we vacation there.
Gayle called me on the morning of August 11th. I missed the call so she left a message. She told me how much she missed seeing me this summer, how much she loves me, how often she prays for me. I called her back. We chatted about a whole host of things. How her family was doing, how she was doing since losing her husband two years ago. And then I told her that that very afternoon we were driving to Knoxville to drop my son off at college. Inexplicably I started sobbing on the phone. If you know me, you probably know this is an exceedingly unlikely event.
My own mother’s funeral was three years ago today. Can you even fathom what a gift it was that Gayle (a mother-like figure to all who are blessed to know her) called me and comforted me on August 11th, of all days. That was my Savior whispering via Gayle, “I love you.”
Sometimes I’m reluctant to share something like this because I feel like my own spirit could respond to such a story with skepticism. But on the other hand, for me, a handwritten note on the table from God Himself would have been only marginally more impressive. I never talk to Gayle. I’m certain God prompted her to call me. How can I not be eternally grateful for such tender comfort?
I’d love to hear something you are grateful for too. Maybe it’s this lovely time of year — the smell of a cider mill, even. Maybe it’s some special way that God demonstrated his tender affection for you. Truly I’d love to hear. May we all be super spreaders of joy and gratitude this weekend and always.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
P.S. I took the photo above this afternoon. This park is right up the street from me but has been closed during the pandemic. It opened again this week, and it is possibly even more majestic than I remember it being. Rejoicing that I can walk here once again!