Autumn has been my favorite time of the year for a long, long time for many reasons. As I grow older and hopefully wiser, I try to take some time to contemplate as often as I can. I like to think that mostly I’ve usually been a thankful person, but the longer I live, the more I realize I have so much to be thankful for. The obvious things that most of us think of when we count our blessings during this Thanksgiving Season and into the Christmas and New Year usually start with family, home, health and the like. I’m thankful for all of these too, but with every year and certainly with certain life events that pass, I find that I’m thankful for things that some may not even consider.
I’m thankful for the mistakes I’ve made over the years and especially the ones that taught me the hardest but best lessons. I’m thankful for injuries and illnesses that remind me of the frailty of life and the necessity to care for the body that the Lord has blessed me with. Additionally, some of these injuries and illnesses have forced me to slow down or even stop, consider, perhaps rest or redirect in the way the Lord desired that I go. On the other hand, I am thankful for the health and strength that the Lord has blessed me with to allow me to do what He’s called me to do.
I’m thankful for my wife of 23 years and our seven beautiful children. Many have wondered at our large family and even criticized us for various reasons, but I would answer that raising seven children to love Jesus Christ with all their heart, soul, mind and strength is one of the greatest legacies we can leave. I’m incredibly proud of each of them and love seeing them grow in stature and in grace and knowledge of the Lord.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve our nation in the armed forces, even though the church has to adapt sometimes when duty calls. I’m thankful that they so enthusiastically support me and my family in my military service. I’m thankful for the perspective that this service has shaped over my years of service in different locations and jobs.
I’m thankful to live in the greatest nation on earth where opportunity is generally available and the next step depends on what I believe is the balance of divine providence and personal responsibility. I’m thankful for the physical and mental strength and stamina the Lord has blessed me with over the years in order to provide for our family while my very capable wife gladly oversees the household in her noblest calling. I’m thankful for godly parents who are enjoying their heavenly reward awaiting the time when we’ll be reunited again.
I’m thankful for teachers, coaches, employers, mentors, supervisors and friends who have helped to shape me into who I have become today, whether those interactions were positive or negative from my perspective at that time. I’m thankful that I’ve mostly done my best to learn from my mistakes and the mistakes of others to improve my life and my walk with the Lord. I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to maximize positive interactions when possible over the years.
I am especially thankful for the opportunity to personally own a copy of God’s word, the Bible without fear of imprisonment or worse. I’m thankful for the time I have each day to read a portion of it, personally and with my family in order to properly prioritize my life.
More than anything else, I am thankful for the gift of salvation only available though Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. I am thankful that even after attempting to live life on my terms, rejecting Him, he still saw fit to cover my sins with his precious blood. I’m thankful that He has provided a plan and a way for me to serve him with the gifts and abilities he has blessed me with.