We’ve come to the week when we write and discuss gratitude in general, and giving thanks to God in particular. This Thanksgiving is different for me as I’ll miss teaching my rambunctious Chinese junior highers.  One aspect I will miss in particular, not being in the classroom this week, is teaching about Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving proclamation of 1863, given smack dab in the middle of the Civil War. Near the beginning Lincoln says,

“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.”

So constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget ….others are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften. Off the top of my head here is what I so constantly enjoy:

  • Running water.
  • Education. My life would be so different without the education I’ve received it’s hard to even fathom.
  • People stopping when the light turns red. Or at least stopping often enough that we comment when they don’t!
  • Books and literacy.
  • Health.
  • Music. And especially holiday music that creates atmosphere and brings memories.
  • Heat!
  • Haircuts.
  • Variety in food choices.
  • People who love us.
  • People who we love.

So constantly enjoyed we are prone to forget. How often did an “Oh yeah, that is good!” run through your mind at you read the items listed above?  Honestly, this is a short, short list of the blessings that surround me. I listed them in under a minute and often I’m not even aware of them.

Until a crisis.

So many parts of life are like back ground noise and we just tune them out. And then suddenly that which is important zooms in. This can be the gift of a crisis. I don’t want to candy coat crisis or pain or the many added troubles that can come. Two weeks ago Tuesday morning I received a call from my sister saying she was at the hospital with Mom and Dad because Dad had broken his hip. And like that our world zoomed in. I spent the first two days in a fog unable to focus on any task before me, feeling very far away and yet also very near. Crisis lifts the curtain and reminds us of what life would (will) be like without that person as it slaps us in the face with the new reality. Once again on Tuesday mortality waved at me and I wanted to give her the metaphorical finger shouting, “You will not have the last word!”

Because of his network of relationships, Dad’s fall was felt round the world! One of the gifts of crisis is the reminder that we are not alone (side note and soap box: crisis is not the time to build relationships, it’s the time to rely on them. Build them before the crisis.). We fell hard into them — getting the word to pray out far and wide. Fielding phone calls. Sending emails. From present active relationships to previous “I still care very much about you” ones, the word got out. And each of us in the immediate family have been sustained.

Abraham Lincoln nailed on the head, we are prone to forget. I am prone to forget. Yet, it is true; we are truly blessed by God. These past two weeks amongst the pain and sadness and scare that come with crisis, we have seen some of her gifts as well.

What gifts have you received in a crisis?

Please share one by hitting the comment button.



Leave A Comment

  1. Emily Theresa Wierenga November 24, 2011 at 5:18 am - Reply

    a pertinent and poignant reminder, friend. thank you.

  2. Julie Weiss November 29, 2011 at 10:54 am - Reply

    Through crisis I have received God’s gift of his presence and reassurance (through His Word and words of friends and family) that He is not done yet! Crisis has produced a strengthened character that never could have happened without the trial.

    • Amy November 29, 2011 at 11:20 am - Reply

      Julie, it really blessed me that you read this AND the replied. Thanks for sharing some of what you’ve tasted in the midst of crisis. Amy

  3. hoehlkathrin December 3, 2011 at 12:03 am - Reply

    Amy, thank you for sharing your thoughts. This year I was diagnosed breast cancer at age fourty, and, well, this pushed me into a time of understanding that my life- and everybodys life- is fragile. God was and is faithful in every step of my journey, and this was my most precious gift. But precious as well was the love of friends. And often I didn’t knew they loved me so much. But first I had to learn to ask for help, and this was a hard one to learn. But I understand now that to show weakness builds a new depth in relationships. My friends were moved seeing me getting surgery and chemotherapy and all that stuff. But they were thankful that they could do something (e.g. to care for my kids, to drive them to the swimming lessons, to send me books to read). And this was one more gift I received: the ability to ask for help, to show weakness and let others see it. Grace and strength to you and your family. Kathrin from Germany

    • Amy December 3, 2011 at 4:29 am - Reply

      Kathrin, thanks for sharing your experiences. Oh asking for help is hard! But you are right, if we can learn to do it, there are many who receive it so well. I’m actually conversing with a woman who just can’t believe she can show ANY weakness or others will reject her. It’s so sad to see the Lies she is believing (I’m not saying you were believing lies!), but I do wonder the path God may or may not take her on to show her that in her weakness, others will reach out to her and not reject her. I appreciate you taking the time to share. Amy

  4. Marianne November 5, 2013 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    I have had the worst 3 years ever. I never knew life could get so bad. Divorce after 30 years of marriage with betrayal, thievery, you name it. Almost died from a pulmonary embolism and bed ridden for 4 months, my only sibling a brother abandoned me because my mom left me her condo in her will even though he is a millionaire having received much money from them to start a business, he didn’t even go to her funeral, lost some ” friends” due to the divorced, my ex left with no job, tons of debt in my name and completely ruined my credit and am selling my home of 22 years to pay off some of the debt.So lost marriage, health, money, family and friends and my home. Still not over as I have to have another surgery for which I have no money and need $1000 to pay for dental work needed they won’t do until I give them the last $1000 even though they know of my circumstances! So two teeth in the back are missing! Where am I gonna get $1000?

    But I am remaining faithful but at times angry and yes it had brought me closer to the Lord and that is priceless and am thankful for that. Waiting for better days I know will come.


    • Avatar photo
      Amy November 6, 2013 at 9:04 am - Reply

      Marianne!! This sounds like more than a crisis. This sounds like a crisis gauntlet. I am impressed with your strength!

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