Focus on Relationships by Dennis and Barbara Rainey

Giving thanks, in all we do/have/be – while important, also can be enriched by really spending time with loved ones- including letting them know just how much you cherish them…
The Rainey’s provide practical experiential advice regarding this.

Philippians 1:3
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.

I once read of a survey in which people were asked if they would be willing to take $1,000 to give up celebrating Thanksgiving with their families. Most said they would decline the money; they wanted to be together as a family.

Isn’t it ironic, then, that so often we get lost in the trappings of the turkey and gravy and mashed potatoes, and we forget that we should be focusing on relationships?

One way to make this Thanksgiving meaningful is to spend time expressing appreciation for the members of your family. I realize this will be uncomfortable for some; in fact, it may be impossible. But sometimes we need to stretch ourselves and say those things that need to be said.

For “FamilyLife Today” we taped a number of people around the country who expressed thanks for their families. Here’s a sampling:

Greg Fast, Colorado Springs: “I’m thankful for three gorgeous miracle babies we were not supposed to be able to have. Just last night I went into the kids’ room while they were sleeping, and I remember the feeling of thankfulness for being able to pray over these children.”

Charlie Boyd, Little Rock: “I am thankful for my dad. He is a man of integrity, and he loved my mother. I remember him coming home from work every day, walking into the kitchen, putting his arms around my mother and giving her a big kiss and telling her he loved her. I can still see it as if it were yesterday.”

Linda Allaback, Tulsa: “I am truly thankful for my husband. We celebrate 12 years of marriage this Sunday, and I am thankful because he accepts me for who I am.”

Darcy Kimmell, Scottsdale, Arizona: “I’m very thankful for my mother. She raised six children. I look back at her example of how she loved us so much and took such good care of us. Whenever I had someone spend the night, my mother would tuck in both my girlfriend and me and then she would give us both a kiss. My girlfriends always appreciated that.”

Can you imagine how meaningful it would be to hear words like that on Thanksgiving?

Ask family members to write out prayers of thanksgiving to God. Read them at Thanksgiving or at a similar mealtime celebration.

Spend a few minutes writing down what you are thankful for.

Dear God,
Thank you so much for the gift of family and friends. Loved ones to cherish and to enjoy, and who enrich my existence.
I am thankful for:
My wife, for being with me regardless of my own shortcomings.
My oldest Daughter, for showing me how to be an unconditionally loving parent.
My son, for showing how to be a caring and observantly sensitive parent.
My youngest daughter, for allowing me to be a mentor in things creative.
My mother, for raising me as well as she did, especially considering her own circumstances.
My father, for accepting me as I am– and showing me his own unconditional love.
My sister, for always having an open heart and ear for me- and providing me opportunities to better understand parenting.
My nieces and nephews, for showing me how to be a male role model where it matters most.

Thank you God, for the people in my life and the gifts they bring to me, and the maturity they inspire out of me. Thank you for working through me in the areas of my life, and where I need improvement-showing me how and what needs to be done.


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