“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 100:4-5 (ESV)
This past Thursday, I sat at a table surrounded by friends who have quickly become like family. We ate delicious chicken, mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls, and even sweet potato casserole (just to name a few). This is my third Thanksgiving not spent in Pennsylvania with family, my second Thanksgiving spent out of the country, and my first Thanksgiving in Uganda. God has been so incredibly good to me, not only this year, but every year! His goodness is unfathomable, his grace and mercy undeserved.
This year, I am abundantly grateful that God brought me to Uganda. I am thankful for the kids I teach, the students at The Amazima School I have come to know and love, the amazing ministry partners with whom I work. I am so glad that God gave me a place to live here with wonderful roommates and incredible neighbors. I am beyond blessed to have loads of food to eat on Thanksgiving Day while families just down the street struggle to get by. I have family and friends who whole-heartedly support me being halfway across the world. I am grateful for the unexpected chance to see all those people in just a couple weeks! I have a nephew who gets the biggest smile on his face whenever I pop up on the FaceTime screen and another niece/nephew on the way. I have a Father who loves me, is so incredibly patient with me, forgives me, and sent His Son to bear the ultimate punishment so I would not have to.
Words cannot express my gratitude for all God has given me. But I have to stop and wonder – would I still have a thankful spirit if He didn’t? Would I continue to praise His name if I didn’t have the things and people who make my life comfortable? Would I be able, like Job, to say, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord,” (Job 1:21, ESV) if everything around me crumbled? Would I still believe God is good?
I pray that I would. I pray that I would be most thankful for God’s gift of salvation above everything else. That I would worship Him in all circumstances. That even in the trials of life, I will continue to proclaim, “Blessed be the name of the Lord!”
Let’s continue to count our blessings and praise the One from whom all blessings flow!
What are you thankful for this year?
Grace and peace,
*Note – the above image is not from Thanksgiving but is actually from a dinner one of my neighbors put together from our compound. But we didn’t take pictures on Thanksgiving, and I’m thankful for all these people, so it works =)