“As my large family waited in the dining room to begin eating Thanksgiving dinner, I hung back in the kitchen trying to calm the storm of stress in my spirit. I knew I was blessed to host everyone for the holiday, but as their laughter and chatter rang out, I didn’t feel thankful at all. From planning and prepping the feast all on my own to perfectly plating every course, I was exhausted. Even the thought of saying grace felt like it was too much! Instead of feeling joyful, I just felt sorry for myself and prayed, Forgive me, Lord, but I don’t see how all of this work is worth it!
“When I finally joined everyone at the table, my 6-year-old nephew, Georgie, asked to say the blessing. He folded his hands and scrunched his eyes closed. ‘Thank you, God, for this yummy food, that we have teeth to eat it with because my baby brother doesn’t, and for my new hamster. And thank you for Aunt Susie and the things she did to make today special. Amen.’
“Chuckles sounded, but his adorable prayer moved me to tears. Thanksgiving was tiring, busy and stressful for me, but I’d forgotten to focus on its true meaning: the enjoyment of God’s blessings—everything didn’t have to be perfect for that.
“As my brother stood to carve the turkey and I scanned the sea of smiles around the table, I felt renewed and joyful, knowing that stress had no space in my heart when it was overflowing with gratitude…and that was what really made it all worth it.”
—Susie Winchester, 55, Abrams, WI