Giving Thanks? Really?

Giving Thanks – Why?
Tomorrow is a day designated as the time we reflect and give thanks for all of our blessings, both large and small.
But can we really give thanks when someone we dearly cherish is desperately ill or when our spouse of many years has taken the trip to eternity this year?
I know that God’s word teaches us that He makes it rain on the just and the unjust. He created us all, therefore he loves us all terribly. We make him smile and we also make him grieve.
But we’ve lost dear friends, comrades in faith and even our Mother this year, how do I REALLY give thanks?
I heard a familiar tune this week at the memorial service of a friend. The tune is called “God is Good – all the time”. The grieving (but joyful) family sang along with this song because their husband, dad and grand-dad believed this little catchy song. That God IS good ALL the time. In the good and the bad.
From my limited knowledge of God and His place in my life I know that he has strategically placed me or allowed me to be in situations when good has resulted when all indicators pointed toward defeat. This concept is hard to verbalize or explain to folks who don’t yet know and understand the grace and mercy of God. It is outside of reason and comprehension. And I understand. It’s a faith thing. It’s a God thing.
Unrighteousness or “darkness”, if you will, is blinded by the bright light of truth and goodness. But as we all know from living on a planet that craves and needs light for sustenance and survival, we also deeply crave truth and “light” in our human lives.
Even if we are not willing to openly express this, our creator placed an urge in us to desire goodness, even though this seems to be in contradiction to our nature after the “fall” of man. Our tendency or “bent” to do wrong is strong and came to us because of what happened in a garden one day. But I submit to you that the urge God imparts a “longing for truth”. And that force is greater, wider and deeper than we can possibly understand or fathom. Some call it “imputed righteousness”.
How can righteousness be injected or “imputed”? Does God insert a magic syringe and give us goodness and faith? Might be a graphic way of saying it, but He does inject into those who know Him, His very “own” righteousness. That new force breaks the bent to wrong and replaces it with a bent to do what we “know” is right. And that struggle goes on each day we live.
Have you experienced the injected righteousness of God? If so you do have something HUGE to be thankful for. Not “injected” yet? Ask me and I will tell you how.
I am VERY thankful for the wife and children (grands too) God has blessed me with. I bless His name for giving me a healthy body and a good job in a tough economy. I prayed today that God would give me a renewed for compassion for others that are going through dark times. I feel his hand moving today. Do you?    

November 2nd, 1973

The day it all began for us
Today we celebrate 38 years of marriage.  Wow, has time flown! Seems like only a couple of months ago that we celebrated 25 years.
We were so young and innocent. But that’s not so bad. We, together, lost our innocence as life happened. And boy did it happen. I could dwell for hours tell about what we’ve “gone through” together. Admittedly, life was tough for way too many years. But life has a way of being that way. Some parts of our lives are brought about by choices we make. Others might be “chance” or “circumstance”. Or are they really?
Details are not important, but the big picture is important. The woman that God brought into my life and the person she was and is today is the important part of the big picture. She is my rock and my joy at the end of the day, everyday. She deserves much more than I’ve been able to provide her. She is my crown and my joy. She is a Proverbs 31 woman. (look it up).
When we joined our hearts and lives together  (even at our teen ages!) we made the commitment to each other that the “D” word would never be in our vocabulary. We were and still are committed to each other. All in. Sewed up. Sealed and delivered. Anything other than a complete life together would never be acceptable. …for better or for worse.
Having said that, there have been issues and events in our 38 years that have tried desperately to destroy us and the life we have. But the commitment we made and the love that we share transcend “issues” , “challenges” and time.  I must tell you that the basis of our love and commitment began on the foundation of commitment to our faith in God. He has been the one that has given us everything we have together. And that list is a long one.
Somewhere along the way we picked up 3 munchkins. What can you really say about your children in a public forum? I will attempt it since I am not ashamed. And the reason is because what I tell you about each of them is a good story. They are each one in their own ways, amazing adults full of faith, creativity and joyous life. We cherish each one. They have been a cosmic glue that God gave to help hold us all altogether. And to add joy to fullness, we have a daughter-in-law and son-in-law that we adore and consider them our own.
Now for some icing on this cake. Grandkids!!! Our quiver of  blessing grew this summer  with the addition of 2 little princesses. Verbal explanation about what these little girls mean to me (us) cannot expressed. All I can say is “wow” I (we) love these little gifts from heaven.
Life’s road has leveled out for us a bit. There are still bumps in the lane, but we take them as they come. Surely there will be more obstacles as we grow old, but we’ll take each day  we have and attempt to live our lives “to the full”.  We laugh a lot now. And when we do cry, they are worthy tears.    
So for those of you who are not yet married, don’t fall prey to society telling you it doesn’t work. And when you give it a go make the commitment ahead of time to stay the course. Finish the race. The rewards greatly outweigh the risks. Commit your marriage and life to our great God. He will see you through it all. We owe it all to Him.  
Doll, I love the life we have together. It is getting sweeter all the time. Let’s try for 38 more years!       
Love,
JWH (Jimmy)