I love the holidays. November and December are absolutely my favorite months of the year. I do maintain a strict Christmas embargo until after Thanksgiving, though. We all love the Christmas songs and decorations, movies, and drinks; but what about Thanksgiving? Let’s make way for the Starbucks Thanksgiving blend coffee! The pumpkin pie! The turkey!
Of course, the most important part of Thanksgiving is the “Thanks” part. I like to see people giving thanks for what they have! Thanksgiving is a perfect time to reflect. Like the song says, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” This year has been one of blessings for me. I’ve had hard years before, and I’ll have them again, but this one was marked by blessings and positive change. It seems appropriate to take some time and count some blessings:
1. My wife
I’m celebrating my 6-month anniversary in a few weeks. I feel like I talk about getting married a lot, but that’s ok; it’s a pretty big deal!
I can’t express how thankful I am for my wife. I had loved her for two years before we started dating. It still overwhelms me that God blessed me with her! I love having someone to go through life with me. I love having someone to serve God with me. She has been so amazing in helping me in the ministry. She has great ideas and always spurs me to be a better man, youth pastor, husband, and Christian. Her constant care, love, and support are incredible. The love she shows for others, especially our youth group, warms my heart.
2. My home
My wife and I also recently bought our first home. Our home-buying process was almost as smooth as it could possibly be! We placed an offer on the second house we looked at and had it accepted. We had a great deal to begin with, but the seller even made improvements and changes that we didn’t expect him to. Washington is a tough real estate market; homes are expensive, and the ease we had is almost unseen. It was truly a blessing from God! We love our new home and the opportunity to use it to be a blessing to others.
3. My church
Working at a small church without a building has unique challenges. We weren’t able to use our normal meeting place in October, and ended up meeting in four different locations during that month (including a McDonald’s)!
Buildings are great, but it’s truly the people that make the church. Our church family constantly surprises me with their heart for God and my family. One family allowed my wife and me to stay in their trailer for free while we saved for our house. When I asked for volunteers to help with morning setup, the response was more than I hoped for! One faithful lady had signed up for half the open spots before I could even email out the signup list! I’m also seeing many of our members step outside of their comfort zone to participate in our Christmas play.
Finally, I’m so encouraged by how God has grown our youth group numerically and spiritually. A few years ago, we had only three teens, and I thought I might not even have a youth group the next year. Now we have 19 signed up to go to our next youth activity! God has been growing them spiritually as well. We have young people involved in every facet of ministry. I’ve seen one young lady saved in part because our teens shared the Gospel with her.
I’ll stop at these three: the biggest blessings of my 2018. My hope is to help you reflect on similar blessings in your own life, as we look toward a bright 2019!