I was so blessed to be able to spend Thanksgiving with my family this past week. We traveled up to Lookout Mountain, Georgia, to be with my aunt and uncle, my cousins and their families, my grandparents, my mom and her husband, and my sisters and their families; that’s a total of 26 people comprised of 9 family units representing four generations. Needless to say, some of the logistics were a bit crazy (fourteen of us – including six children under the age of five – stayed in one three bedroom house). But to be together, and to be reminded of God’s covenant faithfulness to those four generations, was a fun and beautiful thing. It has been hard for me to live far away from my family, especially during this past year, so I really value the time I am able to spend with them.
It was especially neat to sit down with all 26 people in one room and spend time hearing how the Lord has been working in each family’s life over the past year. I shared about how I have seen God care for my body and my soul in this past year. Last Thanksgiving, I had just started losing my hair because of my chemotherapy treatments, and I was dealing with a harsh allergic reaction to the contrast dye used in a recent MRI. This Thanksgiving, I am cancer free and can point to a multitude of things God has taught me through both good circumstances and hard circumstances. I am so thankful for what God has done in this past year!
During our family’s last meal together my grandfather read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
It was neat to reflect on how these verses applied to my year, as well as to those of my other family members. God has given me times to heal, times to weep, times to laugh, times to embrace, times to speak, times to lose, and times to love. Not all of those times have been easy, but they have all been given to me in God’s wisdom and faithfulness. What a comfort it is to know that our times are in His hands (Psalm 31:15)!