Giving Thanks when Things Aren’t Perfect

Giving Thanks when Things Aren’t Perfect

by Meredith Mills


What does the perfect Thanksgiving look like to you?

christmas-583369_1280I think of Norman Rockwell’s painting Freedom From Want – all the family gathered around a beautifully decorated table laden with once-a-year favorites. Sweet smells, pleasant company, happy hearts.

But real life isn’t always that perfect, is it?

Just last week, we had a “Thanksgiving Feast” with our homeschool co-op. I should have known it wouldn’t be a perfect Thanksgiving when my car refused to start that morning. My hubby, mom and dad were all out of town.

Thankfully, a family friend was working from home that day and came over to jump my car. It ran long enough for us to arrive at co-op, dying once again as I turned it off the in the parking lot.

Thankfully, I had all day to figure out what to do next.

As I took our feast contributions to the kitchen, I realized I’d forgotten the two-liter soda I was supposed to bring.

Thankfully, a friend would be joining us later in the day. I sent her a quick text and she agreed to pick up the drink for me.

Festivities were scheduled to begin around noon, so I hurried to our abbreviated classes. A few hours later, I looked up to see my daughter’s face in the door. She mouthed the words, “We have a problem!”

Her costume had ripped, and she needed me to fix it. I had neither a sewing kit (who knew a mother should carry one in her purse?!) nor the skills to mend it well.sewing-kit-1468262_1280

Thankfully, another sweet friend offered to run home and get hers for me. And thankfully, my visiting friend had just arrived and is quite skilled in sewing. She fixed the problem in no time.

We enjoyed a delicious meal and an adorable program with more little pilgrims and Indians than I’ve ever before seen in one place. Before the program started, my friend texted her husband and asked him to come look at my car saying, “He’s pretty handy with cars.”

Thankfully, he knew just what to do. While we watched to our little ones perform, he jumped it, drove it to buy a new battery, installed the battery and brought the car back.

Later I found yet another friend washing my dishes in the kitchen when I forgot to pick them up after the program. Thankfully, she overlooked my forgetfulness.

As I returned home in my recently-repaired vehicle, I thought about the precious gift of friendship. It was a rather imperfect day – car troubles, costume troubles, memory troubles (not to mention the flu bug that hit that night!)

But my God supplied my every need…using my friends. His people were His hands and feet to me that day – sharing Jesus’ love in very practical ways.myGodwillsupply

Perfection isn’t often experienced outside of fairy tales (or Norman Rockwell paintings). And sometimes things are much worse than a day ridden with frustrations and forgetfulness.

But, as my daughter reminded me after my husband’s car wreck several years ago, “There’s always something to good” for which to be thankful. Because our God delights in lavishing love on His children – and in bringing good out of imperfect circumstances.

So this year as we celebrate Thanksgiving, may God help us see His abundantgood gifts. May we savor His kindness and enjoy the people with which He’s surrounded us.

For what are you most thankful today? Please comment below!

Related Posts:

Thanksgiving in the Midst of Failure

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Daily Bread Provision

And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” Phil 4:19 (Amplified Bible).

Do you ever catch yourself worrying about the future? Sometimes it happens before I even realize it. I am anxious and uptight and fearful about something that’s not even a need yet. It will be a need, for sure. Tomorrow. Or next week. Or at some unforseen time in the future. But I’m already stressing out over it.

I like to think I’m just planning ahead, but really I’m worrying ahead.

Lately God has been teaching me about His “daily bread provision.” I personally like it when He provides well in advance of my needs. But I’m learning that He often doesn’t work that way. Jesus taught us to pray that God would provide our daily bread (Luke 11:3), that He would meet today’s needs.

And if I stop to think about it, all of today’s needs are met. We have food and clothing and shelter and so many other things – today. I have grace and wisdom and strength to handle the problems and situations that come my way – today. And tomorrow He will be just as faithful (Phil 4:19, above).

But sometimes I’m not worrying about a need. I’m just discontent over what I don’t have. Like that remodeled kitchen I’ve been planning for years. Or that robotic vacuum cleaner my floors so desperately need. 🙂 Or more alone, quiet time. Or…and the list goes on.

In Hebrews 13:5 we read, “Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.'” The motivation behind contentment, the reason for not worrying about having more, is God Himself. He is with me. Enough said.

There are plenty of other promises that He will take care of us, but it all boils down to Emmanuel. God is with me.

The promise-keeping God. The all-powerful Creator. The God who owns everything. The One who has infinite riches in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:19). The God who commanded ravens to feed Elijah (1 Kings 17:4) and rained bread from heaven (Ps 78:24-25). Who made water flow from a rock (Ex 17:6) and kept the widow’s oil jug and flour jar from running dry (1 Kings 17:14). Who multiplied five loaves and two fish to feed over 5000 people (Mark 6:37-44). That good and faithful God is with me. I am His child and He loves me. He delights in giving good things to His kids (Matt 7:11).

Second Peter 1:3 reminds us where our focus should be. “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” In God’s realm – outside of time – all that we need for living and being godly is already ours (past tense).

We can rest in His provision and focus on knowing and loving Jesus.

What are you worried about today? How does “God with you” meet your need today?