This time last week I was standing in my kitchen peeling potatoes with my mom and grandma for our Thanksgiving dinner. It was my first time to ever host, but I was so excited and did my necessary research to ensure the food would be at least a close level of delicious to my mamma, grandma, and mom’s. That’s a lot of pressure! These ladies have made amazing Thanksgivings happen for the last 24 years of my life, so I had a lot to live up to. 😉
But, after weeks of prep, last Thursday nine of us squeezed into Paul’s and my little apartment for what ended up being one of my favorite Thanksgivings ever. We live in, what, 821 square feet I think it is, but somehow we all fit just fine. We piled on our sofa and love seat, a bench and folding chairs. Even better, we played games, shared stores, and laughed more than any of us have in a long time. All I wanted was as many people as possible that I love who could come up (or down) to gather in my home, no matter how small or unfitting, to serve dinner to and truly say “thank you”.
Thank you for raising me, thank you for loving me, thank you for watching me as a kid and taking me to Garden Ridge, thank you for teaching me about Jesus, thank you for being a solid pillar and provider in my life, thank you for sharing your son with me. Thank you. I have so much to be thankful for, even in all the mess that life has thrown at us all, I am so grateful.
We brought our table out- we have to keep it in storage because our new place doesn’t have a dining room- and set it jetting out from the island, tacking on a card table to the end of that to create a makeshift long dining room table. We covered it in two cream tablecloths and Christmas decor, because that’s all I really have, in an attempt at making it look festive. It was certainly no Martha Stewart set-up, and I probably broke a million and one hostess rules for putting my Christmas garland on the Thanksgiving table, but it was absolutely perfect to me. We set our puzzle piece table with my great grandma’s china I inherited, labored in the kitchen for hours creating about 10 different dishes, and then we feasted together.
I won’t lie, my turkey, Fred, that I brined for over 24 hours ended up being… amazing. I am not kidding. I will absolutely toot my horn and say that was a dang good turkey. Grandma made her stuffing- both oyster and traditional, mom made her corn casserole, and my mother in law made her macaroni and cheese. I made cream cheese whipped mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pecan pie and an apple pie… DE-LISH.
But here’s the best part:
More than the meal, the wine, or pie, though all were great, what an overwhelmingly satisfying feeling it was to look to my left and right and see people I adore. People who have shaped me and played massive roles in making me who I am.
(Although we were still missing a few people!)
We all joked about how we spend hours, I spent days, preparing for this feast that in 15 minutes is over. The hype, the mouthwatering, heart-wrenching hours of watching your turkey in the oven, they all end at the snap of a finger. Or, at the slice of a pie, I suppose. But, what is so beautiful about it all is that I know with everything in me that the people sitting at that table, unlike the food we inhaled, won’t be gone any time soon. Or, really, ever. They aren’t something I labor over and then lose, they’re stuck. And I think I can speak for us all when I say we are okay with that. Despite my usual need for things to be perfect and well put together, this Thanksgiving setting wasn’t even close, I mean, seriously, we had a Texas flag folding chair at the table for the 9th seat… but, even still, it was one of my favorite Thanksgivings. Our hodgepodge of food and display of 10 different serve dishes was exactly what I needed. I love that our table setting was reflective of our families meshing together, a dream of mine and Paul’s. All different, all from different places, but in the same spot at that moment because of where life led us. We loved watching Grandpa talk with my brother in law, and my grandma laugh with my mother in law. These are the things that make family- a collection of a million different ideas and backgrounds, but when put together are a beautiful picture of how God adopts us into his family. We are all imperfect, a hodgepodge of different pieces that have morphed us into who we are, some pretty and some not so pretty broken pieces, yet when put together in the right way create a work of art.
How good is our God? His grace to make beauty out of our imperfections and messiness.
Even when we put the Christmas garland on the Thanksgiving table or have to run to Wal Mart at 8 AM on Thanksgiving morning for table cloths- he loves the messy. I am fighting to be okay with imperfect lately. That’s my battle. I have felt a disconnect lately, reflective in my overwhelming anxiety if I am being honest, and in fleshing it out (though I am nowhere close to fully getting it), I have come to the conclusion that I have lost sight of my identity. That’s the core of it. I know in my head what I should be living out and walking in, but my heart has had a separation. My heart isn’t hearing what my head knows. This means I am not putting the Lord first in everything, despite me knowing that I should. And, to be frank, without realizing it.
That feels icky to say, but we all go through seasons of it because we are imperfect beings leading imperfect lives.
I have lost sight of the truth that I AM imperfect and that’s why I needed a savior in the first place. I can’t make everything run perfectly, but God can. I can’t make this or that right again, but God can. I can’t nail everything perfectly every time, but God can.
I have put myself in a position of, dare I say, God of my own life. And it hasn’t worked out for me, y’all. Stop trying to fix the imperfections, embrace them, or you will wake up at 12:45 sleep walking in the kitchen trying to clean things in an attempt to make something right in your life. (Ugh, I wish I could say this was theoretical.) When, in reality, to see that everything is right in your life, all you have to do is look to Jesus. To say, “I know I am imperfect”, open your fists that are holding tightly to things you want control of, and move forward with freedom and grace. If you keep your fists held tightly, all you will find is fear. You will live in fear, because you’re clinging to things that, like my Thanksgiving meal, will disappear. You cannot control it. You cannot promise, because whatever your clinging to includes things of this Earth, that it won’t hurt you or fail you. Newsflash, it will. I don’t care what it is, it will fail you.
Living in fear is no way to live. I am done living in fear.
So, my Thanksgiving was… amazing. It feels good to say that. Remember that the holidays are hard for so many, and know that if you connect with that, I am right there with you. But, I am done being fearful of what could happen if I take a step forward. Satan wants you scared, believing you are mediocre, not good enough, not loved. Join me in saying, “not today, bro.” I added bro, because it makes me feel a little more intimidating. 😉
God gave you Jesus, and he is fighting for you. Soak that in today, friends.
So grateful for you. Now that Thanksgiving is over, we are in FULL Christmas swing over here at my little home. I will be showing it on here soon for you! I hope your Christmas season is beautiful, stress-free, and maybe even healing. Jesus came, he conquered, and that’s all you need.