Thanksgiving Devotion Nov 20
Written by: Linda Trekell
Scripture: Psalm 95:1-2; Psalm 89:1; I Thessalonians 5:18
Back in the day, we were taught to say please, thank you and you’re welcome. It was the polite way of our world. It was sometimes hard when the Christmas box contained clothes and not a toy. Were our parents teaching us to be polite or to have an attitude of gratitude? Did our thank you convey joy or just politeness? The best thank you my husband and I ever received was from our 8 year-old grandson. He opened our gift and shouted, “I have been wanting this all of my life.” He didn’t use the thank you word, but we knew for sure that he was grateful.
Scripture teaches us to be thankful in everything. Really? It is easy to be thankful for food, fun, fellowship and good gifts, but being thankful for illness, abuse, loss of job or rejection is a challenge. Every year at Thanksgiving, our family shares their thanks for the past year. Usually family, health, friends, vacations, raises but rarely adversity. Until…HARVEY…We had never flooded and we didn’t expect to; but we couldn’t deny it as water came in through doors, pipes and weep holes. Our three children were frantic to help us. Neighbors shouted encouragement across the street. Finally, a rubber dinghy took us out and our daughter took us into her home for six months.
That storm was truly a gift of God for us. We regret the damage it caused for so many people, but it burst from our hearts with gratitude. Every Thanksgiving since, our thanks at the table is for Harvey and the outcome for us. The day we were able to start cleanup, our yard overflowed with volunteers. FUMC members we had never met, friends of our children, family from out of town were dragging out wet carpet, ruined furniture, collections of magazines and too much stuff we had accumulated during 46 years of life in the house. Friends and strangers dropped off water and sandwiches. HEB brought by a $25 gift card. Strangers washed our clothes. Our daughter was CEO of the crew. One son brought fajitas to feed 30 people one day and our other son recruited the most volunteers. We were able to share food as well as work crews with neighbors. A car dealership in Fayetteville, Tenn., rented a van and paid for a family member to drive all the goods donated by that town. Overflow went to a nearby church to distribute. We called the volunteers our Angel Crew. Saying Thank You seemed so trite. hose people not only did physical labor, they encouraged us and gave us hope. Our daughter designed a coffee mug to share with them, etched with Harvey Angel Crew, Forever Grateful, The Trekells.
Yes indeed, there was chaos and stress. My husband David said the waiting and decision making were more stressful than when his fighter jet was being hit by Migs and ground fire during the Vietnam War. Grief hit at various times, but joy also overflowed. We cannot stop praising God for Harvey and His blessings. We saw God’s hand in everything. Two of our children lived in Connecticut for 25 years, but moved home about three years prior to Harvey. We had flood insurance; we found a Christian contractor; David got the last car for rent at a nearby Ford dealership; friends sent gift cards; we got an almost brand new house. We sang a new song and made joyful noises to the Lord.
Prayer: Lord, we enter your presence with thanksgiving in our hearts. We will sing of your mercy every day, for you are our defense and refuge in times of trouble. You are great and deserve our praise. In Thee we put our trust, for you are our rock and fortress. You are our strength and our shield; our heart rejoices and with song we will praise you. Your mercy is new every morning and we thank you for this day, whatever it may bring. Amen.