Thanksgiving week is typically a short one for work. This means I rest a bit easier, knowing that I’ll be enjoying more husband time, more help with our babies, more “us”. Yet, here it is, almost 5:45pm the Wednesday night before, and I feel worn out. And I smell.

We spent the first part of the week cramming in every bit of pre-Christmas glitz and gift-getting that I wanted to check off my list before the parking lots get packed. We’ve been to the grocery store three times in the last two days, and tonight, I will be attempting a new dish that a friend assures me I’m fully capable of accomplishing.

And I know I am not a great cook.

And I know I can’t be at everyone’s house at once.

I know all of my planning and every list in the world will not make for a happy holiday.

Forget all that.

And so here I am. Finding quiet. Ready to be still and pray.

Sometimes, I feel too tired to think of everything I want to pour out to God in prayer. I am so thankful and yet so needy. I am tempted to complain. I am tempted to fear.

As much as I want to pray for health and safety, for peace and comfort and joy for our babies, for us, I pray for protection. Protect them from the evil one.

The same prayer Jesus asked for us.

His Spirit is what we need. He is what to be thankful for. How easy it is to lose sight, to get distracted by all the recipes, the sales flyers, the twinkling lights, the tempers that flare; to stumble into the wilderness; to look away.

I said I smell. I guess I am dirty. Days when I don’t shower, and I forget to put on deodorant and am still wearing the tank top I slept in can get smelly.

I give thanks.

I give thanks that my smelly can go away before bedtime with the soap and hot water that’s one door away.

I give thanks.

I give thanks that I get to run around with my babies all day and don’t have to look at a mirror if I don’t want to.

I give thanks.

I give thanks that even though my hair is falling out and the wrinkles around my eyes are getting deeper, my husband still looks at me the way he did when he gave me my ring.

I give thanks.

I give thanks that even though I am not a chef, my family is well fed.

I give thanks.

I give thanks that even though there’s a lot to do, we have the means to do it. Even though there are gifts we cannot buy, our boys will have a tree lit up. Many will not.

I give thanks.

I give thanks that even though disagreements and misunderstandings may come with dinner table talk, we say grace.

I give thanks.

I give thanks that Jesus is worth more than all the planning, the car rides, the casseroles, the smell of the stove top. He is preparing our banquet.

I give thanks.

Tomorrow morning, I will awaken to a feast.

I’m not talking about the one we will enjoy after a trip to Grandmother’s house. I’m talking about the pages of Scripture I will wake up a littler earlier to enjoy.

Because this year, I am remembering whose guest I am, and I am giving thanks. God has invited us to His table and to the greatest feast of all—because He loves us. Even when we’re messy or smelly or can’t remember which ingredient comes next. He loves us the most.

So very thankful.

Originally published on the author’s blog

Jaclyn Warren

Stay-at-home mommy of four on mission to encourage parents to savor the meaningful in the midst of the messy. Take your 15 minutes; it’s your turn for timeout.