by Brandis Trionfo
Last year in March, my sister-in-law was killed in a tragic bus accident as her Lacrosse team was headed to a game. She was seven months pregnant with my nephew and it shook our whole family very deeply.
My mother-in-law is very rooted in her faith and it hasn't wavered since the accident. I've questioned God a few times since the incident and I can always look to her to see not only how strong she is but also how God has worked in her and through her from the time I've met her until now.
Last year they didn't do their big Thanksgiving celebration in light of what happened. This year they will have it again, and fortunately for us, my husband will be able to take leave so we can be with our family in Baltimore.
I think it takes on a whole new meaning to be thankful, even when times are tough. God says in the Bible, "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). We know that we're going to have trouble. We never understand what God is doing or how He's working, but I know this: If you are thankful for what He's given you, you'll continue to see how He works for you. I know that the day Kristie was killed, her entire team was spared. The only people He called home were the bus driver, my sister-in-law, and her unborn son. And every single one of those girls will go on to do amazing things; I believe it without a doubt.
Being thankful is about the little things and the big things. We're called in the Bible to be thankful. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT) says:
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in ALL circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
In a time where Thanksgiving is more about Black Friday than gathering with loved ones, I hope (in my family at least) we'll pause to remember that no matter what troubles we face, He is with us. He is for us, and we should always be thankful.
If I doubt it, I'll just look to my amazing mother-in-law, who knows beyond a shadow of a doubt where her daughter is, and where she'll be someday.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends.
Questions for Reflection:
How can we pause to be thankful even during times of trouble?
What or who can we look to when we feel doubt?
Lord, I thank you that we're able to gather in this season to give thanks. I thank you that you're mighty and so much stronger than I, and I pray that you will help me to remember, day in and day out, to be thankful for what you've given me. I pray that you will reach out to me and help me to give you the attention you deserve and to be aware of your presence, especially during these holiday seasons. Help me to praise you in all I do. In your name I pray, Amen.
Editor's Note: On this Veterans Day, we'd like to express our sincere gratitude for all those who have served in our country's military. Thank you all for your tremendous sacrifice and bravery, and for serving our country in such a big way.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
The table is set with Grandmother’s China. The kitchen is filled with the delectable smells of turkey, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie and baked apples. The men are watching football and the ladies are chasing kids out of the kitchen. Sound familiar? This is the Thanksgiving I’ve always known, until last year. Our family spent Thanksgiving standing in long lines at Disney World making magical memories for our children that none of us will ever forget. I felt beyond blessed to be there but it just didn’t ‘feel’ like Thanksgiving. A phone call was all it took to put things into perspective.
For my husband, every holiday is an occasion to celebrate ‘Thanksgiving.’ Whenever friends and family call to wish him a ‘Happy Birthday, Father’s Day, Veteran’s Day and ‘Merry Christmas,’ his response is always the same, “It’s great to be CONUS!” A reality check every time I hear him say those words, it still warms my heart that he is thankful for the things we often overlook. In his thankfulness of being “CONUS,” I’m reminded that we have so much to be thankful for; he’s state-side, with family at home!
Never mind my grandmother’s China or the pumpkin pie, my husband reminds me of what is most important- our love for each other and the quality time spent with our children. This Thanksgiving I am not only going to be thankful that he is home, but I am going to be thankful that HE IS thankful to be home. I am thankful to be loved by a hero, and to be on his list of things that he is thankful for. I am thankful for the opportunity to love a warrior and to be loved by a warrior.
What are you most thankful for?
Are there any people in your life that help you keep an attitude of ‘thankfulness’ despite your circumstances?
What is one thing you can thank God for today?
Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of my husband. Thank You for filling his heart with so much love for me and our children. Thank You for the special times we spend together. Bless and protect us when we are apart. Open my eyes to see the blessings all around me, and the ones I take for granted too often. Amen.
Heather Tabers is the wife of a wounded warrior and the mother of five children. She is also currently a full time student, a specialty cake baker, and a volunteer with the VA Public Relations office. She writes about her life and her faith to encourage other women on her blog, Wives of War.