Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving -- Giving Thanks on This Side of the Dividing Line

In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul wrote at Ephesians 1:16: "I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers." Those words echo my heart when it comes to my four adult children, whom I'll be spending this Thanksgiving holiday apart from as they are celebrating with others many miles away from me.

I am grateful to be celebrating this Thanksgiving season with my beautiful wife and my four wonderful step-children. It is truly a season of giving thanks -- as we should do every day of the year -- and I have so much to be thankful for. Not only do I get to go through life with my best friend and the love of my life by my side, but I am also blessed with a good job, a lovely home, strong health, and a church family that I treasure. I also cherish my role of being a father, to the level that each of my four children and four step-children allow me to fulfill that position.

Sure, we can always turn on the nightly news and hear terrible stories from around the globe, or stroll out to our mailboxes and find bills and/or news that can weigh on us -- nearly trying to rob us of our feelings of thanksgiving. However, I know that God does not give us more than HE can handle in our lives when we seek Him in all things. He will equip us for whatever He allows on our path of life -- and we can be thankful for that!

We're nearing the close of another decade. I can tell you that in all of my 54+ years of life, the past decade has brought the most change. In many ways, this decade has created a dividing line in my life -- from a life that was filled with dreams to a life that feels like I'm living a dream. The photo accompanying this writing was taken almost 10 years ago when I was in the middle of my run across Germany. I came across a freshly plowed field that was void of any vegetation. The dirt was dry and dark, but the plowed section was adjacent to a field that was sprouting green grass on that spring day. I stood on the dividing line and in many ways that line would reflect the dividing line that would occur in my life shortly after that photo was taken.

I've spent some time reflecting recently on my life up to this point and the path that I've journeyed from 1965 to the end of 2019. Even through all of the struggles on the other side of the dividing line -- which were not related to my children, I know that God was carrying me through those moments. God doesn't have to carry me much these days. Yes, there are times when I need to lean on Him for strength and understanding, but my life on this side of the dividing line is not as troublesome or difficult. In a way, I feel as though I've been blessed with two lives in the span of one lifetime.

Perhaps this is a bit too philosophical for a blog entry prior to Thanksgiving. I just want to share with you today that I recognize how God has always been my Provider, Deliverer and Savior on life's path. It is to Him that I give the most thanks.

As you gather with friends and family, truly be thankful for all that you are blessed with -- and that includes those you love. Also, be sure to give thanks to God for what He has given you, for what He has done in your life, and for who He is. Happy Thanksgiving!

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso