About the Author

Elizabeth Spencer is a great sinner redeemed by a great Savior. She’s been married for 20 years to a man after God’s own heart she picked up in church and with whom she gratefully parents one tween and one teen daughter. Instead of cleaning her house, she spends time blogging...

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  1. Elizabeth,
    This is a great reminder as I approach Thanksgiving. More times than not, the day does not go exactly as planned. I need to not let it derail me, but instead delight in what God has planned instead. His ways are higher than my ways after all. Thank you…I needed this!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Thank you so much, Bev! “…delight in what God has planned instead.” Yes, yes. I will try to remember this wisdom as we host my gracious and lovely in-laws this year. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

  2. So glad for this reminder that we can’t micromanage every celebration. Like you, some of my best memories are from times that really blindsided me. You’ve said all this so well, and exalted our sovereign God in the process.
    Blessings!

    • Thank you, Michele! Maybe I should be preparing myself to be “blindsided” by good this year? 🙂 Love it. Thank you for reading my ramblings…may your Thanksgiving Day be blessed by the Giver of every good gift.

  3. I love this, God knows what we need and His plans are greater than ours! Just curious, what is your favorite Thanksgiving book?

    • Steph, you are so right: God’s way is always the best way! We love a book called “Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember,” by Barbara Rainey. It has a lovely music CD of Thanksgiving songs with it, much history on the entire Pilgrim voyage to the New World and about the “first” Thanksgiving, Abraham Lincoln’s entire 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation, and space to record gratitudes–plus much more. It is a treasure we love to revisit year after year. Thanks for asking…and blessings to you and your dear ones!

  4. Lovely reminder, Elizabeth; thank you! This Thanksgiving is shaping up to be something like that for my family as plans haven’t been finalized and I’m hanging in the balance counting down how many days I have left to buy – or not buy – a turkey. But God is in it all. I know He sees and I’m trusting His providence for a beautiful gathering however it shakes out. And praying for a grateful heart that can see see true beauty in all of it.

    • Thank you for sharing your story, Katie! In spite of lessons taught me by our great God in the past, this is a new and different year with brand new challenges along “a way we’ve never been before” (Joshua 3:4), so I hope you don’t mind if I follow your wise lead and pray for “a grateful heart that can see see true beauty in all of it” myself! Bless you!

  5. Another great post, Elizabeth! I have really been struggling lately with my expectations vs. the reality of situations, and have been trying to let go of some of my (ahem) type A personality traits. 😉 There really is beauty in the unscripted!

    • Jamie, my friend, thank you once again for the gift of your encouragement! I feel and share your struggle so closely. But I love how you put it: “beauty in the unscripted”! I will join you in looking for that in the days and season ahead! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your medium-sized family! 🙂

  6. I needed to be reminded that God’s plan is more important than all of my planning. The holidays can become an overwhelmed calendar of events that simply stress me out with checklists. I need to chill out and remember that God’s got this. Thank you for sharing.

    • Megan! “God’s plan is more important than all of my planning.” Love it! That’s a shareable graphic just waiting to happen! Thank you for reading and encouraging me with your thoughts. Let me know when I can share your image! 😉

      • Ok, I made a shareable image at your request! (I just posted it to the comments on your Facebook page for your blog…which I love!!!) My first official one. Thank you for inspiring me to finally put together two things I love….my photos and my words. I cannot express enough gratitude. Happy Saturday, friend.

  7. Thanksgiving has never been my holiday until now, I can celebrate it every with Jesus! I wish I’d learned that sooner. When you are single, and look young, you get stuck off with the children, and the dirty dishes. when you only get together with people a couple of times a year, they hardly know you. Friends often become family instead of family. I’m determined not to let that happen, maybe not this year, but I can still hope for more family get togethers when people aren’t watching your weight for you or talking about what you did when you were little, I see a nice table, flowers, food and family, faith, hope and love. A girl can dream.

    • Dear Rebecca, thank you for so honestly sharing your heart and story! I think you are dreaming a beautiful dream, and I truly pray that God, in His wisdom, makes it–or something better–come true for you! Lord, Lord…we give you the desires of your hearts…

      • Thank you, Elizabeth, I was trying to be truthful and funny. I hope everyone has a blessed holiday.

    • Rebecca,
      Prayers for an adult Thanksgiving this year! May God bless you and your family!
      Blessings 🙂

  8. How fun! So often big, tradition-filled holidays like this can have all sorts of expectations…then the actual experience falls short. I’ll definitely have to remember these two Thanksgivings of yours while wondering why on earth I was looking forward to my aunt’s marshmallow salad…

    • Oooh…marshmallow salad. 😉 Lisa, I want you to know something: “meeting” you has been one of the great blessings of my year and is surely something I am putting on my 2015 gratitude list. Thank you, my friend…for all sorts of things.

  9. We have had many unexpected, not as we planned Thanksgiving dinners. Christmases too. A good attitude can change things around though. Sounds like you have that. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Well, Michelle, I’m always fighting my “natural” attitude! 😉 But with and in Christ, I can be who I’m not, feel what I don’t, and do what I can’t. Happy Thanksgiving right back to you!

  10. Elizabeth,
    I don’t usually plan a big fan fare for Thanksgiving. The last couple of years I have invited my in-laws and one of my hubby’s nephews to our house. If you want to cook something fine, but we will supply the food! I just want to get together and enjoy each other’s company and the blessings of God!!
    Blessings 🙂

    • Brilliant, Beth. This in particular: “I just want to get together and enjoy each other’s company and the blessings of God!!” Amen, sister! May this be yours and all of ours this Thanksgiving. Thank you so much for taking to leave your lovely thoughts!

  11. I love how you embraced the unexpected and even undesirable results of that first Thanksgiving in your home. What a wise reminder to us to be content (actually FIND the contentment?) in all circumstances. And then, I almost chuckled with delight to read about the next Thanksgiving that turned out so perfectly. Thank you for the reminder, Elizabeth, that everything God plans is good–not only appropriate now, as we plan for 2015 holiday celebrations, but applicable always, every day. What a glorious promise!

    • Bless you, Nancy, for sharing my delight in God’s goodness! Truly, God always gives us what we need, but often He also gives us what we want…in ways only His divine mind can conceive! Thank you for taking time to read my little tale of two Thanksgivings, and may yours this year be both what you need and what you want!

  12. I love this, Elizabeth! It’s so easy to be thrown off and grumpy because things don’t go as we expect them to. But you’re right, so often what God planned is good and even better than we wanted. Thanks for the good words.

    • Well, hello, Hannah…what a treat to see you here! 🙂 Thank you for your kind words on mine. Now, I’m on the record and need (and want) to put them into practice this year…whatever kind of year God has planned. Have a lovely (!) Thanksgiving!

  13. Aw I love this. What a great reminder to leave out our expectations and seek the Lord’s will. This made me smile.

    • Aw, I love your sweet comment, Cheryl! Thank you so much…your encouragement in recent months is one of the things I’m so grateful for this year! Blessings on you and all the Long Ladies (and the Long Gents?)! 🙂

  14. Elizabeth, I enjoyed this post so very much!!

    I LOVE your sense of humor. You are my kind of person! 🙂

    But I most especially loved how you pointed us to God’s plans and His blessings in His perfect timing.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you, my dear Karen! You are such a blessing to me. “Meeting” you is among my richest blessings this year. Can’t wait to read your guest post on gentleness. I know it will be wonderful…as you are. Happy Thanksgiving!

  15. I love that you just went with the flow. You didn’t lose your joy or become angry because of things not going according to your expectations. That is an important lesson to take away for sure!

    • Thank you, Anastasia! I have to give all credit to God–Who makes us who and what we aren’t–because “going with the flow” could not BE further from my default setting! 😉 And it’s a lesson I’m going to try to put into practice again this year. Thanks for taking time during this busy season to stop by…I wish you an abundance of good things at your feasting table this year!

  16. God’s plans are always so much more perfect than anything I could ever conjure up! I love it when I can see His handiwork in my day!

    • Yes, Liz…and you nailed the crux of it: His plans ARE always more perfect–and sometimes we actually get to SEE what He’s doing. He is good and what He does is good, but when our human eyes get to glimpse that goodness, we know true joy. Blessings on your Thanksgiving…may you be surprised by good!

  17. I’m so grateful for the way God gives me what I need and not what I want – especially when it comes to high expectations and perfectionist tendencies involved in hosting dinners! 🙂

    • Thank you, Mary! I “gave up on perfect” (I think you know about that!) a long time ago. 🙂 I am the hostess with the leastess, but there God shows His strength. Thank you for reading my little tale of two Thanksgivings, and may your celebration this year be blessed and bountiful!

    • Thank you, Lori! I always want to know what’s going to happen and how it’s all going to play out, but I am reminded that faith in what has happened is not really faith but gratitude. Thank you for stopping by…have a blessed Thanksgiving!