Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks with a Grateful Heart

Over these past few weeks, I've found myself reflecting on all the blessings I've received over the past few months. These months haven't been easy- a new marriage, a new vocation, a new town, and a new church family. Different traditions I must now accept, a different culture, and in some ways, a different view on life. But as I realized once again during church tonight, different doesn't have to mean bad. Of course, I find myself not always appreciating the different, especially when it comes to traditions (not surprising there- I am very traditional and very much a proponent of my own traditions). But that doesn't mean God stops blessing me. Although the months haven't been easy, and there have been weeks I wondered if I could make it through, God continues to pour blessings down upon me, in ways I may not even realize at the time.

Aside from my faith, the biggest blessing I have is my husband. Yes, it's been a challenge at times learning how to live with someone who is almost my complete opposite in every way. But honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. I know that when I have a great day, he's there to celebrate with me. And when I have a rough day, he's there with foot rubs and hugs. He encourages me to be and do my best no matter what, and most importantly, to be myself. Living in a world different from many other married women- the realm of the pastor's wife- where it's not always easy to be my true self, I've been given a great blessing in my husband as an encourager. There isn't enough good I can say about him, so just know that I am truly thankful and can't imagine life any other way.

The Thanksgiving Dinner sponsored by our church last weekend also showed me another thing for which I have to be thankful- the ability to provide for others. Even though we're currently living on one salary, and have disgusting amounts of student loan debt looming on the horizon, we're still able to live comfortably and don't lack anything we need. What's more, we're able to help others through gifts of food, time, encouragement, and anything else we can give. What a blessing that we're able to help others in such a way!

We've been blessed to join such a warm, welcoming church family who cares about and provides for us, both financially and spiritually. When I find myself frustrated with certain situations at church, I remind myself that we could have been called to a very different congregation, which would have made the transition into ministry much, much more challenging. As it is, I'm blessed that although differing in some respects, this congregation is actually very similar to the congregation in which I was raised. And for that, I'm thankful. I'm thankful that members are so welcoming, that they're patient with me as I learn everyone's name and face and as I adjust to living in such a "small" town.

And finally, I'm thankful for my knitting group. Although I did feel somewhat awkward and out-of-place, this group welcomed me from the beginning, giving me a once-a-week-relief from all the other stresses and frustrations of life. It gives me a chance to be seen not as the pastor's wife, but as a normal, young wife living in a small town for her husband's job. And it's allowed me to meet other people in our town outside of church, which has helped me make all these adjustments more quickly.

For all this, and so much more, I give thanks with a grateful heart.

And finally, since tomorrow's Thanksgiving, I leave you with a pictorial representation of the deliciousness that came from my kitchen today: Pumpkin Apple Bread. Hostess gifts for the Thanksgiving festivities ahead (and the wrapping turned out surprisingly cute!).

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