Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Gift of Thankfulness

When I was a little girl I had terrible dreams, night terrors, really.  I dreamt of running, being chased, dressed in rags, being hunted.  I could feel the cold, hear the dogs.  I ran, under cover of darkness, stumbling through snowbanks and hiding under dilapidated porches.  My dreams were always the same and even as a child they drove me to my knees in prayer.

We didn't have a television when I was little and we never went to the movies. I didn't have any scary images filling my mind. My childhood was wholesome and uncomplicated - and yet I dreamed unspeakable dreams.   I couldn't understand my dreams.  I had no idea where they had come from.  I knew only that they terrified me and filled me with dread.  And then I read "The Diary of Anne Frank".  At 9 years old, I sat curled in a chair next to the wood stove, engrossed in the story of young Anne, knowing in the very core of my being that this atrocious persecution was the stuff that filled my dreams.

That night, as I lay in my cozy, warm bed, I prayed.  I thanked God for warm blankets and a roof over my head.  I thanked Him for enough food to eat and indoor plumbing.  I thanked Him for my family and my gloves and my boots.  I lay in bed thanking God for every good thing I could think of.

My dreams kept coming, however, they didn't scare me as they once had.  I dreamt of running with my family and hiding and always being two steps ahead of my pursuers.  I dreamt of hiding in plain sight yet never being seen.  As a little girl, I began to plan for the future rather than fear it.

I grew up.  The dreams ceased, for the most part anyway.  I got married, had children and chased the American Dream.  Even so, every night when I got into bed, I would thank God with a grateful heart.  When the weather was snowing and blowing outside, I would snuggle into my blankets and thank the Lord for my comfortable bed and warm quilts.  And I would know that this could all end tomorrow.  Tomorrow, I could be on the run, cold and hungry.  But tonight I was warm and impossibility comfortable and I was thankful.

When we moved to our "Little Shouse on the Prairie",  I learned to be even more thankful.  Living without electricity or hot water or flushing toilets make me thankful to have oil lamps, a wood cookstove and an outhouse.  Living without refrigeration made me thankful for my pressure canner and living without a dryer made me thankful for the clothes horse my husband built for me.  But more than all of those things, I have learned to be thankful for every hardship, every inconvenience.  Why?  Because every difficult thing has been my schoolmaster.  Every impossible situation I have endured has strengthened me and built my faith.  Hardships and trials have wrought in me the great gift of thankfulness.  Because I have lived without, because I have struggled, I have the capacity to be truly thankful.

When I crawl into bed tonight, I will thank God for my impossibly cozy, comfortable life.  I will thank Him for the hardships that He has allowed in my life, knowing they have been His way of preparing me to trust Him completely.  I will thank Him for my warm bed knowing that tomorrow I could be running for my life.  And even then, I will thank Him for preparing me, in His perfect wisdom, for just such a future.


  1. God is good all the time, all the time GOD is good!!!!! Amen and Amen.....
    Thank you for giving of your life experience.
    In HIM,

  2. Faith is built in the valleys. I know I have walked through many of those valleys with Him and I am ready (I hope) for what is ahead for each of us individually and for the nation as a whole. God bless you and your family with a blessed Thanksgiving.

  3. Enola,


    It was not the "Diary of Anne Frank" that started it with me, it was the cold war, talk of Nuclear attack by the Soviet Union and movies like the first "Mad Max in 1979, (I saw it when it came out) Road Warrior, 1981 (I was a freshman in high school when it came out) I used to read "Soldier of Fortune magazine" as a teenager. I also read the "Out of the Ashes" series of books where I was first heard the idea of the "Tri-States" or American Redoubt concept.

    Later, I then focused on chasing women, drinking beer and going in the military and forgot all about 'survivalist' concepts.
    I saw starving refugee's from one of the many civil wars in Africa when I was sent over their on Uncle Sam's dime' and that freaked me out. That always stuck with me. That became a nightmare of shorts for me.
    After the military I buried those memories and again focused on earthy pursuits, women, beer and college.
    I watched news footage of "Ruby Ridge" in the 1990's, and thought 'what a bunch of nuts" I also watched the ATF agents get shot up trying to storm the "Branch Davidian" compound in Waco, and later watch as "Janet Reno" at the DOJ burn down the compound. Again, I thought, what a bunch of nuts. Sorry for all those kids that got burned up in the bunker below the compound.

    I just followed along like all the other sheeple. Later I started learning the truth after hearing the 'other side of the story' from like minded people.
    I know can see our country falling apart like a third world country in Africa and knowing massive civil unrest is brewing.

    My worst nightmare is being homeless and being a refugee. I have seen what happens to refugee's and trust me, you don't want to go that route. That's why I am 'prepping. My nightmare may come true, but at least I will be way ahead of the game.

    I am thankful most of all for waking up. Thankful for all the extra stored food I have from the Mormon canneries. I am thankful all the supplies I have gathered and for all the like minded Christian friends and neighbors I have. I know others have mentioned that they have favorite Biblical charactors. I would say that for me is "Joseph of Aramethia'

    The famine is coming, the blight and pestoulence of government is nearly upon us.

    On a side note' check out iiipercent.blogspot. Kerodin's got a good one about the latest distraction on the nuclear deal with Iran.

  4. Once again the Lord has blessed us through your wisdom. Please don't stop sharing, It is truly a gift the Lord has given you to share with us. May the God of all creation richly bless you and your family this Thanksgiving and always. P.S. still hoping to hear if you have books to buy from yourself instead of the big A.

  5. Thank you for a timely reminder of what we all have to be thankful for!
    About 15 years ago, a friend of mine talked me into partnering with him that winter. Working under the auspices of a local Christian-run homeless shelter, we would go out late in the evening, taking sandwiches, coffee, and blankets to the homeless in Saint Louis. We went later in the evening than most other teams, and we went places that other teams wouldn't go. In addition to the supplies, we prayed with the men and women we found, shared the gospel with them, tried to get them to come in to the shelter for the night, and, when we could, helped them find other resources.
    It was hard and sad work, and occasionally dangerous, but very rewarding. We led a few to Christ, fed and warmed countless others, and hopefully at least planted seeds for God to bring to fruition in His good time.
    But more than anything else, it made me thankful for what I had, instead of griping about what I did not have. First-hand exposure to truly desperate circumstances that others experience will do that to a soul. At least, it should. If it doesn't, then that person has greater problems than simple lack of gratitude.
    Thank you again for a great post.

  6. Sometimes I need a kick in the teeth...Thank you.
    I live in abundance yet I often don't see it. I remember when I married my now retired SF action guy and he told me that people will riot over a lack of toilet paper and I giggled, even though I knew it was true. It seemed so trivial. That is exactly why it's a good example, because it highlights just how fragile civilization is.
    I grew up on military bases at a time when adults speaking in low tones would tell a classroom teacher to gather a child's belongings as they ushered the child out of the room. We all knew their daddy was dead or missing in Vietnam. We all shook with fear and then with relief that it wasn't our daddy. Then we had guilt. I knew that if my dad were killed (he was lucky, was only blown out of a bunker on his second tour) we would go to my grandparents farm and the holes in our hearts would be patched the best they could be. We spent a year there while we awaited dad's return from his second tour. It was a great distraction, which came in minutes, hours and sometimes days that I didn't have the fear that made me want to run, run, run. It was the best and worst year of my childhood, but I knew that all the indulgences were because most of the adults didn't think the Sergeant Major was going to come home alive this time.
    And I sometimes have the gall to make statements that begin with phrases such as, "I don't want to", or "we don't need to" usually paired with "do such and such yet"--procrastination is my security blanket. Like Scarlett O'Hara, I'll think about that tomorrow. Sometimes from fatigue, sometimes from fear of acknowledging that the people who talk in whispers are bringing more bad news. So I run.
    But I am fortunate that hubby demonstrates the command aspect of God, bringing me around to productivity, and his love, though tough sometimes but enduring, paints a rosy picture of the blessings we have and all we can do.
    Thanks, Enola. I needed your gentle touch and reminder to thank God for the blessings of abundance and the wisdom to act.

  7. I grew up in a house with no bathroom, heated by wood (kitchen and living room only), and studied by the light of the single electric light in the kitchen. Food was very plain and made of the cheapest ingredients. I was grateful then that my parents were interesting, capable people and that we had some books for me to read. Later I was grateful for my wonderful husband and intelligent, loving daughter as well as having real plumbing, central heating, and even more books. Now I am grateful that my life has been incredibly rich even though the richness isn't in material things. God is good.

  8. Peace upon you and your family, today, tomorrow, always. Thanks be to GOD for all good things, packed down and overflowing still.

  9. Reading your observations of hardships yet having an attitude of gratefulness to God as you wrap up each day reminded me of the second verse to the well known "Serenity Prayer" that is generally unknown to most people but captures exactly the spirit you exhibit! The entire prayer is pasted below. Note the acceptance that is a requisite for the peace that "passes all understanding".........

    God, grant me the serenity
    to accept the things
    I cannot change

    Courage to change the
    things I can, and the

    Wisdom to know the difference.

    Living one day at a time;
    Enjoying one moment at a time;
    Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.

    Taking, as He did, this sinful world
    as it is,
    not as I would have it.

    Trusting that he will make
    all things right if I
    surrender to His will;

    That I may be reasonably happy
    in this life, and supremely
    happy with Him forever in
    the next.

  10. One thing that I do is to listen to the Bible on a C.D player. I even sleep with comfortable headphones.
    I have done that now for about 15 years. It does help