POTPOURRI IV

Plans, Preparations and Prayer — It’s that time of year again. We start planning Thanksgiving dinner—who’s bringing what to my sister’s house. I always cook the turkey, and along with that, make the stuffing and gravy. It’s tradition, and in our family we are really BIG on tradition! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year, right after Christmas. Not because of the meal, and certainly not for the parades or football games. I don’t really relish spending the whole morning in the kitchen. The gathering of the family is always wonderful, of course, but even more than that, I really take to heart the part about giving thanks.
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I try always, every day, to have an attitude of gratitude for all that God has done and is doing in our lives, and to be thankful for not only what He does, but for Who He is. I don’t really need a special day of the year to remind me to count my blessings and be grateful. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older and more introspective and reflective, or because I’m walking closer to the Lord, or that the last ten years have been so hard and yet so good and we have seen the hand of God sustaining us through it all—whatever the reason, I thank Him every day.
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I think something that opened my eyes to how rich we are was visiting Ecuador for the first time eleven years ago. I had the privilege of returning last year and celebrating Thanksgiving there. Once again I was struck with how much we have physically and how blessed we are compared to most of the rest of this world. Being truly grateful was especially brought home to me when I spoke to a group of ladies about the spiritual riches we have as daughters of the King, regardless of our economic situation, citizenship, class, or race. Thanksgiving last year was probably the most meaningful of my life.
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This year I have been putting together shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. I have to turn them in at church tonight. I loved shopping for them and then trying to squeeze everything into the boxes. With every little gift I bought, I wondered about the child who would receive it. Where did he or she live? Would the shirts I bought fit them? Would the older girl like a little stuffed poodle or would she think it was too babyish? Which ball would the boy like better? Too bad a soccer ball won’t fit in the shoebox! Do they really want a toothbrush and toothpaste, wash cloth and soap for Christmas? Not my idea of a great gift, but apparently those things are precious to them. Into the shoebox they go, and with them the thought once more that things we take so for granted are of great value to those who cannot get them. It is hard to imagine that while our children and grandchildren have so much, these kids barely have the basics in life; that the yo-yo or harmonica or markers or jump rope in that shoebox will bring the same happiness to a poor child that a Wii or a IPod would bring to one of our kids.
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I have bathed each of those shoeboxes in prayer, that the child who receives it will know Jesus as his or her Savior and feel the love and watchcare of Christ throughout his/her life and follow Him faithfully. With each box, too, I have breathed a prayer of thanksgiving for the privilege of sharing with that child and for all that God has done in my own life.
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II Corinthians 9:7-13 reminds us to share with the poor for we are abundantly rich and have much for which to thank God. “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men.” Our giving brings thanksgiving to God both from the one who receives, and also from us, and glorifies God.

Pain – My mother is back in the hospital this week with terrible pain in her back. No one is sure what is causing it, for it is not in the usual places where you would think of back pain and seems to move around. Mom is a pretty stoic person. You seldom hear her mention when she is hurting or if she is sick, so when she does finally say something, you know it is pretty serious. When I called her Thursday morning and heard the almost panicky, excruciating pain in her voice, I knew it must be bad. She went to the emergency room that day, but they couldn’t find anything and sent her home with some pain pills. Later, after phone calls to several doctors, they decided to admit her, but for almost two days she waited for a hospital bed to open up.
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It is difficult to watch your mother, or any loved one, suffering. I had never heard such pain in my mother’s voice before. My sisters Cheree and Corinne had to watch her suffer, for they are the ones who could be with her and take her to the hospital. (Bob was in Michigan and I had to be home with Robbie.) The pain pills helped some, but it wasn’t until they got her in the hospital with painkillers delivered by IV that she got some real relief. We are praying that the doctors will get to the bottom of this and be able to fix whatever is wrong.
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As long as we are in our earthly bodies there will be pain and suffering, disease and injuries, and the inevitable aging. How wonderful for the believer to know, though, that these sufferings are but for a little while and we will have new, perfect bodies someday! No more pain, no suffering, no diets or contact lenses or hearing aids! Romans 8 says in verses 18-26, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
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I hate seeing my mother in pain, but I am so thankful that we can trust the Great Physician and know that He has His purposes in suffering, and her life in His hands. One thing is certain—we surely won’t take our new bodies for granted after all we have suffered through with these old carnal ones!
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Pink, Pink, Pink! – I started crocheting a tiny baby sweater this week. I will also make a matching bonnet and blanket to go with the sweater. I love the yarn. It is so soft and a beautiful shade of lustrous pink. Just looking at that color makes me happy! I crocheted a “coming-home-from-the-hospital” sweater set for each of my grandbabies and it makes me happy to be doing this one now.
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Everything I have sent for the new baby so far has been pink, pink, pink! If little Amanda turns out to be little Michael instead, he is going to look mighty funny coming home from the hospital in all that pink! We certainly enjoyed having a boy, Matthew, the last time after his four big sisters, but it will be fun to have a precious little girl again, too.
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I don’t think you’ll find “Thank Heaven for little girls!” anywhere in the Bible. It’s not exactly Scripture, but I’ll still quote it and believe it! What is Scripture, though, is, “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD…” (Psalm 127:3) and “Children’s children are the crown of old men [and old women!]” (Proverbs 17:6.) The first time in my life that I truly felt I was leaving a heritage behind me was the day my first grandchild was born. It made me want to be a better person, a more faithful follower of Christ so that my grandchildren would have a godly example to follow. And every grandparent can tell you that there is no better reward or crown in this life than to have grandchildren!
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Thank you, Lord, for pink—and blue!

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