The irony of an “unhurried” post on Black Friday

I have never really been a big fan of Black Friday shopping. Some years I couldn’t consider walking the stores with my belly still so full of Thanksgiving dinner. Often I have not yet thought through my Christmas gift list. It has never been because I have already finished my shopping, that’s for sure!

This year, I have been content to unhurrry my way through Thanksgiving, fully enjoying the special people who came to visit, without any plans for Christmas shopping yet. I know I will get drawn in to the festivities, the decorating, and even the present buying soon enough. However, I want to practice unhurried living as much as I can this season.

I have learned this… unhurried living has to be intentional. Scattered, frantic, boundary-less busyness comes naturally. Healthy rhythms of work and rest require planning. An unhurried pace requires commitment and it requires discipline. 

Kevin DeYoung says it well:

“We all know we need rest from work,
but we don’t realize we have to work hard just to rest.”

During our Thanksgiving prep, I worked hard to relax about what time we would eat and how things would look. We took time to get outside together, enjoy God’s beauty, and to thank Him for it and for the special people He has brought into our lives. We put our phones down more often – except for the mandatory beautiful food documentation 🙂 – and played games together. 

It wasn’t always easy, but it was intentional and that was progress.

How can you be more intentional about unhurried living?

SAVOR the moments. FOCUS your mind. REST your body.

power in forgiveness

IMGP8357 (2)
What is it about forgiveness? 

What is it that makes forgiveness so hard to ask for, so hard to give, and so life-changing when it happens authentically?

In my memories, my parents fought through all of my childhood. Different personalities, life and work pressures, insecurities and immaturities all added to the fire, and alcoholism added fuel. Eventually, they divorced after 25 years of marriage. It was not pretty. It was not amicable.

For almost 30 years they have lived in the same city, but never saw each other. At first, we could not even mention my mom’s name in front of my dad. We arranged every holiday and every family event around which parent we would visit when, or which one of them would be invited to attend. It could never be both of them at the same time. They will never know how many hours of planning, debate, maneuvering, and heart anguish accompanied each special occasion through the years.

This Thanksgiving, something amazing happened. My parents agreed – for the first time in almost 30 years – to give thanks…. together. The death of a spouse, terminal cancer, and many years passing finally cleared the way for reconciliation, acceptance, forgiveness, and peace.

There were a few uncertain and awkward moments (mostly by the siblings who were orchestrating the event), but all in all, it was one of the most significant and inspiring holidays that I can remember.

It was a powerful, healing moment for everyone – even the grandchildren – to watch my parents greet each other at the front door… both very frail, very tired, and finally… very at peace.

Neither could eat very much, but the meal was sacred. They did not talk of anything substantial – dementia has stolen that opportunity – but their interaction was deeply meaningful to all who were there.

My parents’ reunion after all these years does not change much at this point in time… and it changes everything.

Their willing hearts were a testimony to hope.

My family watched the life-end desire for peace overcome long-guarded anger and separation. We experienced genuine humility vanquish pride, regret, and deep pain. stubbornness lost to prayer, patience, and perseverance over time.

There is a new freedom in our lives – and in our children’s lives. A freedom won by broken lives restored and divided families reunited. A freedom earned by barriers torn down and destroyed. A freedom gained by letting go of bitterness and grabbing on to forgiveness. A freedom that carries a belief in the impossible, because we saw it happen with our own eyes.

Forgiveness is powerful.

Is there someone you need to forgive today? You don’t have to wait.

learning to be thankful

ID-10087368I’m not very good at being thankful. Well, maybe I’m not that bad when it means saying “thank you” to the waitress or the hotel clerk. I do that pretty well. I am less quick to express my gratitude to those closest to me… my husband, my family, my God. That is a bit ironic since they are the ones who give me the most and the best of themselves. They give over a long period of time. They give well.

I suppose it is that very consistency that leads me to take them for granted. I hardly notice the effort, or I deem it expected and obligatory… just an ordinary part of life.

But love and sacrifice are so not ordinary.

When a husband stays with his wife through hard times and sad times and keeps loving and laughing and giving and forgiving, that is something special. When children respect and enjoy their parents… and each other… in spite of hurts and differences and distance and time, that is something special. When God loves without limits, unconditionally and unendingly, that is something special.

Not to be taken for granted.

I want to notice these special gifts and be more grateful. Thanksgiving is such a wonderful reflective time of year. It so frequently gets lost in between the other holidays, and yet it is so important for me. I need the continual reminder.

So I don’t just expect and assume with those I love… so I remember to say “thank you”.

Who do you want to thank today?