High Holy Days to Hurricane to Israel to…

Happy ThanksgivingHappy Thanksgiving! It’s been just over three days since I’ve been home and I am still caught somewhere between Israel and the U.S. – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Is this jet lag? If it is, it’s not the kind I’ve experienced before.

I did end up with an extremely high fever on Sunday, but come Monday morning, my boss was so happy to have me take my territory back, that calling in sick was out of the question. So, I hit the floor running (or more accurately – crawling) to get my work done.

This morning I woke up thinking about the last few months. It’s been a whirlwind of activity. We started with the High Holy Days and the ShabbatOns. Immediately on the heel of this was the hurricane scare that chased me to Georgia. Then there was the packing and prep for the trip to Israel, with the homecoming of Thanksgiving and Black Friday challenges.

Today I’ll be making baked ziti for Thanksgiving dinner at the home of my second born son, followed by packing, snoozing, and then heading for Jacksonville to visit my #1 son and his family – and retrieve my puppy, Sherman! (I can’t believe I’ve missed that little guy so much.)

So, what’s next? In a few short weeks is Chanukah/Christmas. They happen to fall on the same day this year. For those who don’t know, I am in retail, so this is a very busy time of year. Then right around the corner is The Sabbath Experience.

The Sabbath Experience is a weekend retreat for the whole family where we will learn how to enter the rest God gives us – not just in the world to come, but right here, right now. And boy do I need some of that right here, right now. I think it’s the only way I make it from day to day. It’s one thing to stand on God’s promises, it’s another thing to actually experience them. And we all, if we care to admit it, want to experience His promises. To be able to enter God’s rest while life seems to be so full of activity and our ‘to-do’ list grows longer, is not something that comes naturally to us.

Standing in the land of Israel, with the realization of a prayer, is an exhilarating experience. Yet if I’ve learned anything, it’s not just the big prayers/the big promises we should look at, but the everyday little things that our Abba does for us. Getting up in the morning, being able to stand, walk, talk, hear, see, feel – these are precious gifts that not everyone enjoys. We should start our day with a grateful heart for waking up, for walking, talking, eating, living.

As we go through our day, we should look at all the little blessings we have. I think about myself as a child. My mom (who was a single mom for a period of my life) worked hard to pay the bills and keep the three kids clothed and fed. She did her best to keep a clean house, to drive us to school even though she worked late nights, and give us the love and encouragement every child needs from their mom. But was I grateful? No, there was a sense of expectation. After all, isn’t that her job?

With the knowledge of an adult, I wish I could go back and let her know how much I appreciate all the things she did for me and my siblings. Having been a single mom myself, I know how much a little show of gratitude would have encouraged her to press on, on those days/nights when she just felt like giving up (especially dealing with my difficult teenage years).

Do we do that to God? Do we expect Him to provide the basics for us, without a show of gratitude? I know I’m guilty of it.

Today is Thanksgiving. If we really think about it – if we are alive – then we have a lot to be thankful for. If we have a place in His Kingdom, then we have even more to be thankful for. Now, God doesn’t need our encouragement, He is perfect in Himself. Yet He created us. He calls us His children, and He is a good, good Father.

Will you join me today in thanking Him for the life He has given us; for His love, mercy, and grace; and for the plan He has for our lives?

Rejoice always, pray constantly, in everything give thanks;
for this is God’s will for you in Messiah Yeshua. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


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