When there’s heartache behind the smile…

It’s the beginning of Thanksgiving week here in the United States. Traditionally, it’s a time to focus on food and family… and gratitude for both. It’s a festive time, signaling the beginning of the holiday season where everything purports to be “merry and bright”.


But it’s been a hard year for many. Perhaps for you. As you gather ’round the Thanksgiving table this week, perhaps there is a heaviness behind your smiling face.


Perhaps you feel the weight of


  • Family concerns
  • Business challenges
  • Grief
  • Spiritual struggles
  • Health issues
  • Transition

Perhaps this particular “slice of your life” doesn’t offer the prettiest vantage point you’ve ever had…


Several stories come to mind. They represent slices of life that, at the time, were surely filled with personal and family difficulty:


Jacob, a young thief–stealing from his own brother


Rahab, a career prostitute


David, old enough to know better, but a murderer and adulterer nonetheless

All are in the genealogy of Jesus

…and there were others like them.


Even the Sinless One came from a family whose “slices of life” contained moments–sometimes years–of heartache and challenge.



Jacob reconciled with his brother–and with God  …becoming one of the great patriarchs of the Bible.


Rahab became the mother of Boaz–husband of a woman whose family tree included incest  …yet through Ruth and Boaz we saw played out one of the greatest love stories of all time.


And David became King  …and was known as “a man after God’s own heart”.


So as we look beyond current situations to “the big picture,” we’re reminded that we truly do live in hope.


Our stories are still being written.


As you move toward Thanksgiving day, I hope you’ll do so in a spirit of courage with gratitude for all God has done–and all that is yet unseen.


…The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.     ~Philippians 4:5-7

Are you carrying a heavy burden this Thanksgiving season?

I’m praying for you…

If you’re blessed to have a light load this year, look around.

Someone in your circle of influence surely isn’t…

May your week be blessed, your travel safe, your burden light,

and your gratitude evident.

Happy Thanksgiving


  1. Beautifully written.
    Happy Thanksgiving…

  2. What a sweet, sweet sentiment today, Susan. Oh, this is so true: choices, endurance, confession and forgiveness, identifying the One, True and Living God. Prayer to Him WORKS!

    Happy Thanksgiving week to you and yours,

  3. You have such a good and loving heart. I count you among my blessings.

  4. Well written and timely reminder for all of us! Wishing you and your family a great Thanksgiving!

  5. Beautiful and so perfect for me to read today. I am currently in wait mode as the first member of the Bible study class I lead to face death does so at any minute.. Today is her 55th birthday. This has pulled my heart out and tossed it on the ground. It’s not only because it all happened so fast; it’s because she has a story, a big one, and there are so many in our small town who can only remember that story.

    We are not the worst chapter of our lives. Praise God, we are NOT that chapter. .

  6. Absolutely the best post I’ve read in a very long time. My burden is heavy this year. I am grateful for the encouragement

  7. Susan, My heart has been heavy for those who have lost so much in the last year. The families that were affected by natures wrath, the families whose little children were gunned down by insanity at school and will not be home for the holidays, and for the families for which there will be no Thanksgiving and for which there will be no Christmas because of the loss of their homes and jobs. I pray for them and I pray that we all reach out to help them.