“Have a Nice Thanksgiving Life”

by Christina Rose

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.                                                                                         Psalm 100:4 NIV

Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.  For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.                       Psalm 95:2-3 NIV

 My dad was a dreamer and had big plans for his family.  While working for the government in Washington, DC, one day he noticed a job posting to enlist in the foreign service.  I had just finished sixth grade when he came home from work and announced that we would be moving to Bogota, Colombia. Our family of six was so excited. Within a few short months we were embarking on a life-changing adventure.

We spent six exciting years traveling throughout South America. Our three years living in Rio de Janeiro were the most memorable. We lived in a beautiful home on the water and went to the International School, where we met students from all over the world. Rio has many spectacular beaches; surfing after school was our favorite pastime.

After graduation, we returned to the United States, but my brother Chuck could not forget Karla, his high school sweetheart from Rio. He drove an ice cream truck for countless hours and saved every penny to join her in Colorado where she attended college.  They were married shortly thereafter. Then an unthinkable tragedy struck.  Karla’s brother Brek, who had recently married, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Brek was a handsome, blond, blue-eyed soccer star who was loaded with optimism and love for Christ. Shortly after the diagnosis, it was discovered that Brek’s wife was pregnant with what would be their only child. As Brek’s condition worsened, his daughter was being formed in her mother’s womb. Beautiful little Keah came into the world nine months later.

For more than 15 years Brek’s wife Kim devotedly assisted her husband as his body deteriorated. By the end of his life, he was confined to a wheelchair, unable to speak, walk, talk, feed or bathe himself. He was fed with a syringe of blended food through his stomach, yet through it all he never complained. His unwavering faith inspired all around him.

“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day”  (2 Corinthians 4:15-16 NIV). 

A friend rigged a keyboard so that he was able to use his computer with a muscle in his left leg. “Brek’s Briefs” were newsletters about his life. When I consider the many hours that it required to painstakingly type each brief, I am in awe of his perseverance.  Every brief was insightful and encouraging. They reminded us to approach every day with gratitude, knowing himself that any day could be his last.  He closed each brief with “Have a nice Thanksgiving life.”

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV).

The last time I saw Brek was a few years before he passed. We both attended a large family wedding full of dancing and celebrating.  Brek could only look on in silence with his devoted wife by his wheelchair. He glanced at me for a moment and instantly I could see that sunny, blond kid with the big grin from my childhood days in Rio. He seemed to smile at me while the steadfast light of devotion streamed from his eyes.

In his memory, I pray that all of you will “Have a nice Thanksgiving life.”

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV

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“Have a Nice Thanksgiving Life” – insight from Christina Rose on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

christina roseAbout the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership.  She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. A devoted mom of two daughters and great aunt to over 40 nieces and nephews, Christina loves spending time in nature and hosting gatherings for family and friends.

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. Her marriage in shambles, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself. After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power that is available to us all, especially those who are in need of hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: How had God refined your faith lately?

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No Need to Be a Hero

by Kolleen Lucariello

I was a bit nervous when I arrived at the doctor’s office to have a suspicious spot removed from my left shoulder. I am definitely not a fan of needles or scalpels. The doctor came in, took a look at the site, and asked me to lie down on the table. He began to outline the area he would be removing. When he finished, he said, “A little poke as I give you some Novocain.”

I don’t think he waited quite long enough for the Novocain to work, for I felt that first slice of the knife. I gasped and he said, “Oh, did you feel that?” I assured him I did.  He didn’t say anything, but just continued working. Within a few minutes, he was ready to stitch me up.

There was a painful sensation with every prick of the needle.

Me: Ouch.

Me: Ouch.

Me: Wince.

Me: I don’t think the Novocain went down far enough.

Doctor: Is this hurting you, or does it feel like pulling?

Me: It HURTS. It feels like a severe pinch…like a needle is going through my skin.

Doctor: Oh. No need to be a hero. Let’s put some more Novocain in there.

“No need to be a hero?” I wasn’t trying to be. In fact, I was actually feeling pretty weak after enduring the pain during the procedure.

But as I thought about his comment, I realized how often I struggle with the Lord over pain, too. I prefer a life with no discomfort—no pain for me, thanks. I’d like life to be comfortable and easy – but it never is.

A knife cuts deep with a scary doctor’s report, a middle-of-the-night phone call, a police officer’s arrival, or a rebellious teenager’s actions. We wince as angry words pierce our hearts, or as we receive a wound from those whom we least expect it. Our first reaction can be to run for something to numb the pain; whatever might make us feel better. I headed straight for the ice cream when I came home from my procedure – and ate it right from the container, too.

We can also react by trying to be a hero in the midst of our pain, building a wall around our hearts by refusing to allow anyone to help us through the worst of our days.

But wouldn’t it be great if we first ran straight to Jesus? After all, He can enable us to overcome those bad times. He promised to leave us with His peace: “Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge]” (John 14:27, AMP).

There’s no need to be a hero. We already have One; His name is Jesus. Only He can give the strength and peace we desperately need in times of trouble.

“I love you, O Lord, my strength.” The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.  Psalm 18: 1-3 NASB

Kolleen LucarielloAbout the authorKolleen Lucariello, #TheABCGirl, is the author of the devotional bookThe ABC’s of Who God Says I Am. Kolleen shares her struggle with identity authentically, bravely and yet, with compassion and humor as she seeks to help others change their identity – one letter at a time. Kolleen and her high school sweetheart, Pat, make their home in Central New York. She’s mother of three married children and Mimi to five beautiful grandkids. For more information about Kolleen, visit her at www.speakkolleen.com.

Join the conversation: What do you tend to do in reaction to a painful experience?

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