There are countless people who shaped my faith as a child. The older I become, the more I realize the impact they had.
I never heard a negative word spoken about Alice. She had more energy than the rest of the church put together. Always showing up. Always serving. Always loving. Throughout her life, her health attempted to hinder her serving, diminish her activity, and dampen her spirit. Diabetes took both legs and her eyesight, but she continued to serve the Lord with a smile however she could.
My last memory of her was when I visited my home church on the morning of my grandmother’s funeral. Alice was on the front row, smiling, listening to the prelude. I walked up, crouched down as close as I could get, and asked if she knew me. She grinned bigger and hugged me. Her overflowing heart of Jesus’ love flowed into mine once more.
Last night, Alice entered heaven. I have a feeling, she didn’t just enter, I guarantee you, she ran full speed with completely healed legs into the first face her clear eyes saw, Jesus.
I can be sad in reflecting the life she led and the loved ones she left behind. Alice’s sweet daughter who lovingly cared for her and precious husband who always followed close behind helping however he could, were examples of the impact of Alice’s overflow of love. I can also be joyful Alice ran to Jesus last night, fully whole and fully healed. Alice, say hello to others in the faith for me who raised me to love and to serve from our little church with big heart. I know my grandmother is there waiting and you hear Joyce blessing heaven with her voice. You will be a welcome addition to their fold.
Thank you, Alice, for showing me what it is like to not only love Jesus, but to serve Him in a way that radiated His love on everyone around you. Your impact and legacy will go beyond your short time here. It is Christ-followers like you who have kept me in church my entire life. I am so honored you will be in the large cloud of witnesses waiting for me.
Throughout my life, I remember when specific holidays looked different for me. I remember the first time I divided Thanksgiving between my family’s home and my fiancé’s (at the time). I cried, not because I didn’t love my fiancé or his family, but because change is hard especially when it makes you feel things you didn’t expect to feel. It was the first year I enjoyed Thanksgiving with my new family as they welcomed me warmly into their fold.
I also remember Thanksgiving four years ago when our extended family was 16 hours away and we were spending our first Thanksgiving in a new city. I grieved, not because we weren’t happy in our new home, but because change is hard. I pushed through and made new memories. That year was the first time I attempted my grandmother’s infamous chocolate meringue pie. While it wasn’t perfect the attempt was still delicious.
This week will be different for some of us, whether intended or not. There may be feelings of sadness and grief, weariness and complacency. Although it may not be the first thing you want to do, I encourage you to make a new memory. 2020 will stand out in our lives for eternity, but do not let it create in you only feelings of grief. Make a new memory, or multiple, so that you can look back on this year and say, “Thanksgiving 2020 was the year I/we…” .
For multiple reasons, this year will look different for us too. We are making a “Thankfulness Jar” by filling a jar with what we are thankful for and reading them on Thanksgiving day. We will be making goodies to say thank you to special people in our lives. On Thanksgiving Day, each person gets to pick a game and we all have to play each game (time limits for the super long ones).
I have also been scouring Pinterest looking for ideas to make new memories for our family. I am including links below. Leave a comment and let me know some of your ideas! I hope this inspires you to make new memories even though 2020 will look a little different for all of us.
For the Kids:
For the Family:
Encouragement for your Thanksgiving 2020 week. Stay tuned tomorrow for ideas to make special memories with your family this Thanksgiving when life may look a little different.