November is dubbed the thankful month and rightfully so. With a holiday named Thanksgiving, it’s only natural to pause and reflect on everything we are thankful for. It’s a wonderful exercise for the heart.
I always seem to ask myself, though, “How can I live in this thankfulness year round, this pausing and reflecting…how can I make it a lifestyle?”
I just returned from Uganda where I witnessed people who have been down to the pits of despair only to say in the same breath that God is good. These kind of trips always have a way of tugging at your heart and reminding you to live life a little differently, to live life with purpose, meaning, and HOPE. As I heard countless story of…
"Hi, my name is ___________. I’m widowed with five children. I’m HIV positive, and God is good,"
I couldn’t help but think how these people sitting across from me knew HOPE in a deeper way than I ever could. They counted the blessings of each and every day and thanked God for life.
You can’t be thankful for life to that degree unless you’ve stared death and despair in the face.
You also can’t cling to HOPE unless you’ve risen up from the ashes and are looking with expectancy at what is to come. As we come upon this Thanksgiving season, let us look at the blessings right in front of us and be thankful for the small and the big. Let us live life with purpose and HOPE.
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As I sat in the chair directly across from Olivia, listening to her story, watching her roll paper beads to make shoes, I was inspired to live in the beautiful moment of each and every day. Widowed 13 years ago, her husband left her with seven children, a dilapidated shack to call home, and a positive HIV status. It sounded like a hole you could never crawl out of, and yet Olivia has done it. She was hardly without a smile as she told her story. She breathed HOPE. She showed us her beautiful jewelry she makes for income. She took us outside to see the coffee she was growing to sell. She has crawled out of the dark hole of despair and she's living life with joy, thankful for what she has.
Olivia is my joy inspiration and my reminder to let my heart live in a spirit of thankfulness. Let her be yours, too, friends.
Happy Thanksgiving today and everyday.
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