As if serving Thanksgiving Pig instead of Thanksgiving Turkey wasn’t breaking with tradition enough, this particular year we managed to take Thanksgiving sacrilege to a whole new level.
But isn’t it just like God to tuck divine lessons into the most ordinary of life?
Who knew a simple card table would become sacred ground?
By the way, lest you get the wrong idea, this was no big, fancy, plastic table, à la Target. Nope, this was just your standard vinyl-topped, four-chair table from the corner discount store. And bless the soul who came to supper last, ending up with the “special seat.” Read: lawn chair tightly squeezed into a corner sliver of the table.
That November, we had a house for sale in one state while renting in another. And I’ll give you three guesses which house held the furniture. While this humble card table represented my outside circumstances, my inner circumstances were a disquiet all their own.
The raw, un-sanitized truth was that I didn’t recognize my life.
My world was stuck on spin cycle, and I was exhausted. (Which I hereby nominate for the Understatement of the Year Award.)
Hard as I tried to settle into transient life, I struggled deeply with feeling lost and displaced. Somehow, this little stint hadn’t found its way onto my bucket list. This Thanksgiving, I’d have given just about anything to feel a true sense of home.
Instead, I was trapped in the “Uns.” Perhaps you’ve been there, too?
Unfamiliar, unexpected, unpredictable places in life.
While our circumstances may vary, the feelings that shadow them are common to man.
How in the world did I get here?
This wasn’t how I’d planned it.
Did I do something to cause this?
How do I reset and find my way back to normal?
And then, to make matters worse, we get all frustrated with ourselves for not rising above — not conquering the changes like a boss.
There we were — serving Thanksgiving ham from an unfamiliar kitchen around a card table with lawn chairs. Oh, but friends, what if that is exactly what rising above looks like?
What if coping with daily life, even when we feel like a hot mess, is us rising above?
Why are we so prone to denying ourselves grace?
Those days when we wake up overwhelmed, yet pull off the covers and put our feet on the floor anyway, we’re rising above.
And when we feel we can’t pray another prayer, yet whisper broken praises into the wind anyway, we’re rising above.
And the times we walk out our faith, trying to be strong, even while wishing for someone to notice our brokenness, we’re rising above.
And, ladies — even when we can’t manage to put on our Everything’s-Fine face some days, opting instead for a book on the porch or television in bed, who says that, even still, we aren’t rising above?
I wonder, might we need to redefine what it means to be okay? Re-measure the grace we afford ourselves?
Sometimes we’re absolutely okay sitting fancy in the palm of a holy God, even while eating holiday meals around a card table in an unfamiliar place with empty walls and make-shift furniture.
That Thanksgiving, all we needed was right there, sitting in those five mismatched chairs around that shy, wobbly table. And God was in our midst. How much more do we really need? Isn’t faith the proxy for all the rest? All the “Uns?”
The disguised blessing in life is that all doesn’t need to feel well to be well. His security is sustainable because His promises are faithful.
Faithful is He who:
• Walks before us and behind us. (Psalm 139:5)
• Commands His angles to guard us. (Psalm 91:11)
• Delights in His plans for us. (Psalm 37:23)
• Makes a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert. (Isaiah 43:19)
This year, whether we’re having a fancy, fine-china Thanksgiving or a Chinet, card-table Thanksgiving, let’s say we submit our “would be” and “should be” expectations to the One who makes all things beautiful in their time.
Because we know He’s in the business of redeeming the days of affliction.
And Redemption always rises above.