God's sense of humor, or rather irony, seems to be a pretty on-going theme in the story of my life. His constant little "tests" to see if I'm going to practice what I preach. OK, so maybe that's not God, maybe that's just life doing what life does while God is preparing me for it, but doesn't it seem like every time you try so hard to master something, every little thing is going to start going wrong? I've been trying to "master" the art of Thanksgiving over the past 25 days, to truly be thankful for the hard things in my life. To pour the fruits of the Spirit into everything I do rather than living through my own strength. Well, the past 24 hours have been just one test after another (hopefully, I passed more than I failed, although I know there were times I could have done better...but, hey, I'm a work in progress!) It was one of those times when I could almost feel God's eyes on me, wondering "Is she going to have a pity party, or is she going to put into practice everything she preaches?"
I think the quote "Life's what happens when we're busy making plans" perfectly describes my Thanksgiving this year. While I had everything all planned out a certain way, while I had my ideas of how to make this Thanksgiving successful, life had other ideas. I've had an on-going migraine for 4 days now. We've had a difficult time juggling family schedules this year and, of course, no matter how hard you try someone's feelings get hurt. My house is a disaster zone and none of our projects have been finished. And, on the children front, my oldest got a stomach virus, while my daughter began having nightmares, and my baby is going through a growth spurt. All of this is a recipe for disaster for me. Not feeling well + already feeling like things are just not working out + a not-so-inviting and increasingly stressful environment + dealing with sick, cranky, non-sleeping children = perfect opportunity for me to completely lose it. Thankfully, I feel like God has been preparing me for this moment. From learning how to parent in the Spirit, to my gentleness and wife challenges, to learning the art of being truly thankful, everything God has been speaking to my heart is what helped me make it through this week with my sanity still intact. So, even when (or maybe I should say "especially when") things seem to be going perfectly in my life, I know that right around the corner are those not-so-perfect moments just waiting for the perfect time to ambush me and it's normally all at once. Luckily for us, as Christians, we are prepared, we can handle it, and we can make it through these times. And even though this Thanksgiving is probably the "worst" when I look at it from a situational standpoint, it has been the Thanksgiving of the most learning, the most growth, and the most opportunity for growing together as a family.