A Heart of Thanksgiving

My grandmother was very dear to my heart. She was a wonderful Christian woman who lived her life to the fullest as God would want her to live. She wasn’t a rich woman as the world terms riches, but she was rich indeed. She found her reward or riches in her family and friends.

Mam-ma, as we grandchildren called her, would take turns with her sister inviting the preacher and his family over on Sunday afternoons to eat dinner with her, Pap-pa, and their four children. She was actually very poor but she still found ways to be hospitable to others.

Mam-ma once told me that even though she was poor, she always felt that what she had was good enough. She even said that she could have the president of the United States over for dinner and she would not be embarrassed by her meager home or unmatched dishes. Mam-ma was a truly thankful woman. She knew what mattered most in life.

When I was a young woman, raising my four children with a limited income, she taught me the importance of being thankful and content in all areas of my life. Mam-ma knew the true meaning of Philippians 4:11: “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”

Her words of wisdom have held strong in my heart throughout all these years. One of her favorite sayings was, “half a loaf is better than none.” What she meant was to be thankful for what you have because your situation could be a lot worse.

One time while my children were very small, their father could not work due to an illness. We had no income at that time because I chose to stay at home to raise my children. Thanksgiving was just days away and we had little money for food, much less for a Thanksgiving meal.

Pride kept me from telling anyone that we didn’t have much food in the house. Somehow, a local church found out and donated four brown grocery bags full of food for our Thanksgiving dinner! As the two people delivered the groceries and set the bags down inside my front door, I cried and said a silent prayer thanking God for such kind and generous people.

Until you’re in a desperate situation like we were, it is difficult to understand the impact of the special kindness and love shown from other people. It touched my heart deeply and I continuously thanked God for looking out for us. How many times do we worry about things that God is already taking care of for us?

Matthew 6:25-34 is a great passage to read about God providing for us. Verses 31-34 say, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘what shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

If you’re ever in a situation where you don’t have as much as other people, please don’t be embarrassed or ashamed. If you don’t wear a particular label on your clothes, don’t let it bother you because that is not what is most important in this life. Instead, be thankful for what you do have and for your many blessings. We need to be thankful for our families and friends, and most especially to our Heavenly Father for sacrificing His son to die for our sins so that we can someday have a home in Heaven. John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

My grandmother passed away fourteen years ago, but her words of encouragement and thanksgiving have never left my heart. I am thankful for her and her guidance and for her love. She was a blessing to every life she touched.

Colossians 3:17: “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”

Let us pray:

Dear God,
Thank You for being so kind and loving. Thank You for sending your Son to die on the cross so that we can live with You in heaven someday. Thank You for providing all of our needs and help us to fully trust in You so that we do not worry about the insignificant things in this life, but instead keep our focus on You and Your promises.

In Jesus’ name,

By: Carol Gartman


  1. My First Thanksgiving without Her says

    I have had so many people tell me to not to rush my greiving. Each holiday would have my heart heavy. This thanksgiving is probably the hardest. I am the oldest daughter of an oldest daughter. I was taught to cook by a whole legacy of beautiful southern women. And it’s on Thanksgiving that we let our blessings and God’s grace shine as we prepare some of the most amazing generational recipes. But this holiday my heart is so heavy. Usually my mom would hae called me to give me specific instructions on what she was looking forward to sampling. And I would joyfully make sure to create each requested cuisine and I would so enjoy her the look of total satifacton on her face. She would always be happy that the Legacy of of Great Cooks has continued. Homemade yeast rolls, signature cornbread sage dressing, a rich and moist delicious red velvet cake, the perfect potatoe pie, macroni and cheese (with at least 5 different types of cheeses), a fried turkey; a herb roasted turkety stuff with wild rice and a family recipe for a special apricot/cranberry glazed that could very easily give honey bake a run for its money and a yellow cake with the cook chocolate frost that you have to stir and stir and stir for what seem like hours. But each minute is so worth it to get that perfect chocalate frosting. And yet……. my heart is heavy because I don’t have my mother with me this year. I have been crying for a few days and as Thanksgiving day grows near, I am sure I would have shedded a few more rivers of tears. For all of you in the midst of missing your your mom or another loved one, God gave us the greatest gift; our memories. Signed Josie’s First Born

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