I debated whether or not I would write a thankfulness post, just because that’s not who I am. I don’t need a written account of all of God’s blessings to remind me how fortunate I am. And I don’t need a singular time of year to make me remember that I ought to be grateful. Gratefulness, for me, is far more a way of life. I’ve learned to count my blessings, to measure good fortune, to always remember that if I’d had my own way with my life I’d be dead and my husband might still be alone and my kids would never have existed- so I know well enough to be thankful.
But then I got to musing on how ironic this time of year has been for me. I have a lot to NOT be thankful for. Our family had a four year run of really bad luck that left us nearly five digits in debt, I’ve been looking for a job for six months and have yet to find one, we still don’t know how we’re going to be able to afford to buy Christmas presents this year, and our budget for buying groceries for Thanksgiving is $10. (And top that all off with a pregnancy scare last month, and I’d have every excuse to just want to scream at God. It’s been a long, hard four years, and we’re just now beginning to come out the other side.)
But that run of bad luck has been sprinting hand in hand with similar good fortune. While our city has the highest jobless rate in our state, and our state’s unemployment rate is TWICE the national average, my husband still has a job. We managed to move into a place that is nearly twice as large as our previous home but with cheaper rent, plus I can have a garden. Usually the winter is the “lean” time when it comes to paychecks, but my husband’s hourly bonus is actually higher than it was throughout the summer. And my book has been selling well enough for us to keep making payments on our debt and not get a judgment against us- so we may make it through the winter, yet. While I have no money to buy groceries for Thanksgiving, we’ve decided to have it with some close friends, and between the two of us couples we’ll still have a proper feast. My grocery list looks like the following: apples, garlic, butter, onions. That’s it. Everything else I need to make all my dishes I have in the pantry- due to some fortunate grocery purchases earlier in the month and a big box of food from my mother-in-law.
There have been so many times in the last month when I wondered where we’d get the money to buy food, or pay bills that were overdue- and every time a check would come in the mail, like clockwork. Granted, I knew this month would be hard and I worked like a devil (or angel as it were) to get my book out in time that we’d have some money coming in- but I never expected things to go as well as they have.
We may make it into the next year without sinking to the level of desperation. And, for that I am grateful. There are a lot more young couples having to be taken in by family than I like to think about. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to make ends meet, especially with our current economic climate.
But for me? I choose not to see the darker side of our current situation. I see a measure poured out and overflowing, I see grace, I see $10 for groceries and still being able to feed my family a feast.
Praise be to the author of our salvation.