Thank You, my Father




I hope it’s no secret that I’m a grateful man. The reason this column’s title includes “Thank You” is because I know what I have, and that I don’t deserve it.

I’ve written about the kindness of so many folks who made my new life here in East Texas possible, and I won’t revisit my desolation of five years ago right now (and everyone utters, “whew”)


We’re about to celebrate our fourth Thanksgiving in the farmhouse, and I expect to look around and see birth family (my Mama), church family (a friend of ours who’s spending the day), my sweetie’s family (who have graciously adopted me) and at least two folks I haven’t met (guests of my sweetie’s kin).


When we held our first Thanksgiving in the farmhouse, I remember looking around at all the new people in my life, including my wife’s grandfather and his lovely, elegant wife and thinking, “How do I get to be associated with these wonderful people?” I still feel that way, and the conviction has become more real as our lives have further intertwined.


I often hear on TV a meaningless phrase like “be thankful.” Well, that sounds nice, but I contend that no one can really be thankful to some impersonal cosmos or series of random events – I am thankful to my Father, the giver of all good gifts. And we will tell Him that as best we can!


It’s become our tradition to go around the room (or the back porch, if the weather’s warm) and state the things for which we’re thankful. My family suspects that I started the tradition so I wouldn’t be the only person jabbering on and getting emotional. I could say that I’m just giving everyone the chance to declare the blessings that mean the most to them, but I know that I’ll probably be the most long-winded speaker, and I’m likely to weep – so they’re probably right.


So, what will I mention? Well, first things first: I’m thankful that God loved and, therefore, gave… Jesus Christ. I’m thankful that He was patient enough to pursue me, and that He keeps working in me and through me. And I’m so grateful for the beautiful, gifted, gracious, strong lady He brought me. I’m amazed at the birth family my parents and Mama established, when neither of them had grown up in a Christian home.


I’m thankful for the chance I’ve had to be a “bonus Dad” (to Ben and to Jocelyn’s brilliant daughter, Jessica) for more than four years, and I look forward to seeing the independent adults into whose lives I’ve had the privilege to contribute something. I’m grateful for the kind friends, old and new, who have shown me so many kindnesses. I’m grateful that I get to be a fill-in dad, uncle, or big brother to the kids (and a few older ones) at our church. I’m grateful that I’m privileged to feed our giant youth pastor (good thing Lucas is kind) and assist our mentally-unstable kid’s pastor (just kidding, PJ!), because I get to share in their ministries!


Five years ago, looking at this farmhouse from the home office of my little rent house, I could not have imagined the life I’d have here. I hope that my life now is an illustration of God’s grace, and of the hope he gives that He will “repay for what was taken” (Joel 2:25). And I don’t just want to say the words; I want to live as if I’m grateful.


What does that mean? For me, it means sharing what I’ve been given – the food, the funds, the family. Practically, sharing “family” means that I welcome new folks who need the close fellowship I’ve found at our amazing church. (So, no, you can’t have my wonderful wife.) And sharing food is part of the reason I own a six-quart Crock Pot, and my KitchenAid mixer usually struggles with an overflowing bowl of cookie dough.


So, yes thank you my friends, but more than that, thank you, my Father, for those friends, and for so much more. Now, will someone please come take one of these pies?