A Different Kind of Thankful / by Joshua P Jacks

Each year when Thanksgiving comes around, it always looks a little different than the year before. We grow over each year and have new and different experiences that change our perspective and ways of thinking. Sure we have our staple “thanks giving”, but if we allow ourselves to reflect on what we are thankful for, I am pretty sure we will always add different things to our list. I also think each year the way we feel and the view of our giving of Thanks will change also.

I have some of my Lao friends over for lunch on Thursdays. I try to do it most every Thursday. It just so happened that this Thursday was Thanksgiving. It also ended up being a very different lunch. Normally, we eat, laugh, and talk for a while and then they go to their next thing on their busy schedules.

This Thursday, however, was different. My family and I are in the process of a few different projects. We are putting information and other things together so that while we are in the states our loved ones can get to know and love the people as we do.

I asked 3 of my girls some questions and their answers yet again reminded me how thankful I am to be able to know these amazing girls. My question to the girls was “what is the most difficult part of following and living in this country”.

One of my girls responded with “when I first started following and told my parents, they told me they would chain me to the house or send me to jail to stop me from following, but I knew despite my fear or the outcome, I needed to continue to follow.”

Another one of my girls talked about how her future husband is a “teacher” and because he has chosen this profession he cannot always guarantee there will be food to eat or money to buy the things they need. (Most ”teachers” here do not get paid, but have the truth so alive in them they trust Him for everything, just so they can go and tell). Her response to his comment with tears was “I know it is scary, but I need not worry because I can trust my Father.”

Did I mention all these girls are between the ages of 22-24 years old?  All are well educated by their own hard work and sacrifice and are qualified to get and keep good paying positions, but they all have no desire for that.

I am a different kind of thankful this year. I am thankful for the hard times. The times I don’t think I can make it. The times where I have no one, place, or thing to turn to and I have to rely on my Father to come through for me. I am most thankful this year to have friends who have shown me how to count the cost and even more thankful for friends that live their lives as proof that after you count the cost, it is always worth it.

So what does your Thankfulness look like this year? Don’t run by this holiday too quickly. This is the only Thanksgiving you will be thankful for some of the things on your list. Experiences and perspective will change, even if just a little and next year will be different. So please slow down and be thankful!