Counting Joy

I thought about something this Thanksgiving morning; I’ve been sober for almost as long as I had my mom in my life. My mom passed away when I was 18.

I took my last drink Thanksgiving Day 17 years ago. Wow.

I still remember back when I turned 36 years old and it dawned on me that I had reached the age where I had lived life without my mom for as long as I had lived life with her. I’m not sure why these milestones interest me so much, but they do. It’s crazy to think how on some days the passage of time feels like a blink and on other days it feels like an eternity.

I guess this may not be how a typical Thanksgiving post is supposed to kick off.  I’m pretty sure  it’s considered bad etiquette to mention death in the first sentence. Oh well. 🙂 It’s just hard for me to “count my blessings” without including all the ways the Lord has and continues to redeem the painful chapters in my life too. They count for something. I think of how James said it.

“Count it all joy, my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

As I look back over my life, more often than not, it’s been the seasons when my hands were empty when I’ve learned to understand and appreciate the beauty of a Savior who can hold us  and carry us in all things and through all things.  This is a strange kind of beauty that, unfortunately, I think we only truly recognize through trials and suffering.  These chapters have taught me more about thanks-giving than any of the easy or pain free ones. At least, this has been my experience.

I’m thankful for the losses that have taught me how to cling to my Rock.
I’m thankful for the addiction that taught me I wasn’t strong enough to save myself.
I’m thankful for the mistakes and wrong turns that taught me God’s grace never runs dry.
I’m thankful for the friends and family who love me right where I am.
I’m thankful for my husband and my son…undeserved gifts in my life.
I’m thankful for sobriety and sweet freedom.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Take some time today and count your blessings.


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