My alarm goes off at 6:45 this morning and I hastily get ready for the day, head down to the guesthouse where 150 team members are eating breakfast, grab a cup of coffee and scoop some oatmeal into my bowl, and help among the [organized] chaos of sending teams off into the villages for the day.
Can I be honest? It didn’t “feel” like Thanksgiving this morning.
I head up to my apartment to get some work done, and I try and muster up the nostalgic feeling of Thanksgiving. I even ate a gingersnap cookie…at 9am.
I spent some time reflecting on this season of life: on the journey up to this point, and the excitement of what is to come. I truly am thankful to be here, but it still didn’t “feel” like Thanksgiving.
I send some emails and do a little work, then head down to the guesthouse for lunch. I find out someone has hurt their ankle and is needing to go to Port Au Prince to get an X-ray to make sure nothing is broken. I hop in the vehicle with them and ride to the hospital.
The drive to the hospital, I’m combating bitterness that is trying to fester. Bitterness toward people that are sitting around a dinner table this evening amidst all of their family & friends. Bitterness that I’m not playing football with my brother in the front yard. Bitterness that I’m not going to have my Granny’s mashed potatoes at dinner.
We wait at the hospital for about an hour while the boy gets an X-ray, good news – it’s not broken, just a sprain!
On the way back to the mission, our Haitian driver, Joslyn, tells me “Happy Thanksgiving!” I tell him thank you and then he looks at me and the others riding in the back and says, “I’m sorry I do not have a turkey to share with you all, but I share by heart.”
“I share my heart.”
My eyes brimmed with tears as I thought: yes. this is what it is all about.
What a posture of the heart to have. Share it. Share your time, your words, your joy. Be intentional with the moments that the Lord has laid before you.
I’m embarrassed to admit how ridiculous I was being earlier today. I fell for the trap of bitterness for a few hours, and I’m so grateful that the Lord used a soft spoken Haitian man to show me His heart and to gently correct my thoughts.
I learn more about Joslyn, and that he was one of the drivers here at the mission that drove the ambulance after the earthquake – moving people from Port Au Prince to the mission so they could have surgery, receive proper medical attention, etc. I also learn that he has worked for Mission of Hope for over 15 years. He is a hard worker and a wonderful driver.
“I share my heart.”
Isn’t that what it’s all about?
And when the temptation of bitterness comes (because it will), you have the choice to listen to those thoughts, or to combat those thoughts with thanksgiving.
Share your heart, friends. It’s better that way.
I am thankful that we serve a God who shares with us His heart through His Word, and that He is in fellowship with us through His Holy Spirit. I am thankful, so so thankful to be here in Haiti this very moment, working with these precious people, on this very special day.
Wherever you are – give thanks! Jesus is good & He does good. If you are gathered around a table smelling the sweet aroma of pumpkin and watching football this evening, be thankful for these blessings. If you are struggling with an empty seat at the table and the loss of a loved one(s), I am so very sorry for your pain. If you are away from your family in this season, or holidays seem to offer more reminders of broken hearts or broken families, sweet friend – I hope you deeply know this: the Lord comforts, & He is near to the brokenhearted – that’s a reason to be thankful.
Psalm 100:4 // Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!