On Being Thankful

On Being Thankful

I thank God every time I think of you Philippians 1:3-5 NET

My best friend at Oklahoma State University would place this verse near her signature on the cards she gave to me. It always warmed my heart that she would use scripture to greet me. I have immolated her on more than one occasion.
The other day, I looked at the sentence in this verse more closely; when I did, I had to acknowledge the modifier every.  The connotation sets us up for gratefulness in joy-filled times, but the actual meaning of “every” leads us down a more inclusive path.

Every leads us down a more inclusive path

“Every” means I am thankful for Coach when his khakis are sitting pretty across his firm backside and when he is acting like a pill. It is easy to steal a quick look pre-game and marvel at God’s workmanship! The difficult chore of thanksgiving arises when he can remember the score of a game during its third-quarter from 17 stinking years ago, but the regular Thursday trash pick-up has slipped his cunning mind yet again!!!!
Loving my coach and being thankful for his hand in the lives of young men is easy when his broad shoulders are ready and waiting to embrace our babies running towards him or the kids he coaches; it’s harder when your own shoulders ache from hauling around the edger and the weed-eater and shrub trimmers because you know Coach won’t fit the yard work in again this week either.
Likewise, we can love our communities when the points on the scoreboard add up in our favor, and everyone shares their joy with us, hugging our necks and liking our posts. Still, it’s harder to be thankful for the same souls when the politics of athletics finds its way into our homes or social media feeds.
Our children, those blessed little cherubs who we dreamed about and prayed for - oh, we are always thankful for them, aren’t we!  Sometimes, being the “mean” parent, the keeper-of-everything-for everyone, the “funsucker,” as my two yahoos so lovingly named me, just sucks, and it is nothing short of impossible to be grateful you GET to play this role - all alone.
The word “every,” my sisters, doesn’t give us a pass in those difficult moments. Instead, the term “every” asks me to increase my thankfulness -  even if I want to drop-kick my coach, my child, our fans, or the parents into next week.
Try not to discern whether the busy-bodies on social media deserve your appreciation; try only to practice the sincerity of thanksgiving:
“I am thankful these patrons have this amount of pride in their community.”
Try not to win the argument (if only in your head or the sanctity of your home) about coaching decisions or playing time; try only to see the motivation behind the complaint:
“I am thankful these parents feel they need to advocate for their kids.”
Try not to sink slowly into the self-pity the middle of your season brings; try only to see the endearing characteristics that drew you to your spouse:
“I am thankful my spouse is passionate about his work.”
Try not to resent your spouse or your kids because you are the disciplinarian during the season; try to remember the greatest form of love we can offer our babies is healthy, constant boundaries.
“I am thankful God trusts me with these growing souls and grateful I get to guide and direct them.”
Note that I said, “try.”  Because what you do for your husband and your family in and out of season asks a great deal of you, and sometimes - you will try and fall short. When you do, log on to your favorite @FridayNightWives site, grab your beverage of choice, and know that we are here for you and that we truly “thank God every time we think of you.”
Note to Reader: We all bring our different life experiences when we read any kind of literature - but especially Scripture; consequently, the body of the work will resonate uniquely with each of us. My goal is not to put the Holy Spirit in a box by saying or implying - "Here's what these words mean…" Instead, I hope you read each devotional knowing that God wants to speak to you too. Our experiences may be different, but we can all learn from each other's lives. God will meet you where you are, the same way he meets me if you ask him to.

Lisa Witcher

A retired educator, Lisa loves writing and chasing her husband's football coaching dreams (currently in the great state of Texas. Together they have raised 2 fabulous children, been a part of 6 state championship teams, and enjoy calling many former players, friends. When she is not watching high school athletics, you can find her and her favorite over-grown eighth-grader at a Yankee baseball game. #golighttheworld
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