I have a dear friend who has a Chair of Thanksgiving where she faithfully meets with Jesus each morning. A pretty, decorated basket next to her prayer chair is filled with her Bible, journal, pens, highlighters, a box of tissue and note cards to write encouraging Scripture to others to remind them to be thankful as well. I admire my friend’s discipline and her commitment to meet with Jesus daily, to talk with him, listen for Him and thank Him. I’m a bit envious that she has the luxury of doing all this from the comfort & quietness of her special chair. My friend, however, is NOT a single parent.
I am a single mom and My Chair of Thanksgiving is portable.
It’s a white wooden chair at my kitchen table with my family.
It’s a swivel chair at my desk.
It’s a patio chaise on my back deck overlooking our Colorado skyline.
It’s a swing in a nearby park, a boulder on a hiking trail, a bicycle seat, a bench on a firing range–anywhere I’m fortunate enough to hang out with my kiddos.
It’s the front seat of my automobile, sometimes on the passenger side while my teen drives and I thank God for nerves of steel.
It’s a stadium chair at my son’s sports events.
It’s a cold, stiff chair in a doctor’s office.
It’s a sofa in a counselor’s office.
It’s a beach towel on a sandy Pacific shore.
It’s a window seat 33,000 feet above & between majestic Colorado & Alaska mountains.
And anyone who’s ever been a single mom desperate for a few minutes of solitude will understand when I say sometimes my Chair of Thanksgiving is a toilet seat!
My Chair of Thanksgiving is portable because my Bible tells me that I am to never cease giving thanks…
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I Thessalonians 5:17-18
As a single mom, I often struggle with ingratitude. Some days I don’t feel like giving thanks. It’s easier to feel sorry for myself, having to parent solo for the better part of 14 years, than it is to say “Thank You, Jesus”. But when I begin to consider Who it is I am thanking, my gratitude takes on a whole other dimension even as a single mom.
As a woman who parented 18 children through birth, fostering and adoption, I’ve learned that I can be thankful because:
When I feel alone Jesus is “Immanuel, God with Us”. His presence never leaves me, no matter how lonely my heart feels Jesus is always here with me. He sees every tear and He holds my heart.
When my world is full of chaos, juggling schedules and homework and carpools and sport practices and doctor’s appointments, He is my “Jehovah Shalom, the Lord is peace.”
When I am exhausted and desperate for rest from all those mothering responsibilities, God is “Maon & Machseh, My dwelling place & refuge.”
When I struggle to make financial ends meet, God is “Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who provides.” My children may not always have what they want, but He faithfully gives us all we need.
When my heart breaks from hurtful things my kids say about me & to me, God is my “Magen, my shield,” to protect me from the arrows of young, uncensored mouths.
When I am overwhelmed in the spiritual battle for the hearts of my children, God is “Yahweh Nissi, the Lord my Banner “ who goes before me in battle and protects us. Confident of His protection, I can fight any battle in His power & prevail in His strength.
When my kids try to push me around and I just don’t feel that strong, He is “Metsuda & Migdal-Oz, my fortress and my strong tower.”
When I am overwhelmed with guilt at all my failures, mistakes and motherly imperfections, He is “Jehovah Rophe, the God who heals.”, healing my mind and my heart, allowing me to forgive myself.
When I am confused about right decisions to make for my children, He is ”Rabbi, teacher” who shows me the path to follow.
When I am discouraged and feel I can’t keep going, He is “Miqweh Yisrael, the Hope of Israel, the God of Hope”. Hope that steadies me in fear & trials, not because everything in life is picture perfect but because the God of Hope can be trusted in every situation.
Finally, When I am tired of being single and I long for a husband, Jesus is “Nymphios, my Bridegroom”. I am married to my Lord. And I can give thanks that my husband not only loves me deeply & unconditionally, He doesn’t leave the toilet seat up.
In this holiday season, I encourage you to embrace your Chair of Thanksgiving, wherever it may be.