A Thankful Heart Full Of Hope

Guys, I can't believe it's Thanksgiving. I feel like summer was just the other day, and now today we're bundled in our oversized wool sweaters & headed off to eat Turkey like there's no tomorrow. 

The other night, we had Friendsgiving at our house. While we were sitting down for dinner, we decided to go around the table and share what we were thankful for this past year. As cheesy as it might sound, hearing your friends express their appreciation, regardless of what it is, will make your heart swell. It's beautiful, and not done nearly enough. 

I was the very last one to go so I was struggling to find what I was thankful for that hadn't already been repeated. Don't get me wrong, I'm still extremely grateful for my friends and family... In fact I could talk for days about how each one has impacted my life this past year. But, I knew there was something more--something even I didn't realize how truly grateful I was until the words rolled off my lips.

Just to clarify, I love this holiday. {I'm all for any excuse to eat my body weight in home made pies and cookies.} But I'll be honest... I feel like it's been a little tough to get in the holiday mood this year with recent events. See it's easy for me to float from one day to the next without any regard to what is taking place outside of MY world. So, when really tragic things happen, it's quite a wake up call. It can be hard to have a grateful heart when you don't understand WHY bad things happen.

We live in a broken world, and nothing has made that more clearer then the past couple of weeks. My heart breaks for what is taking place around the world today, and what will only continue to exist for the rest of my life. After watching one story after another on CNN the other night, my sister and I talked about whether or not we think Jesus will be returning soon and how we're ready for it... Because more than ever, it is clear that this world needs a Savior. 

I know, I know, I know... You're probably wondering where this is going. For those of you that don't know, I work for a nonprofit called Pure Charity. Our mission is focused on helping other nonprofits make real, direct impact around the world for people who are facing social injustices every day. For example, we work with organizations that rescue girls out of sex trafficking, that help orphaned children find loving homes, that help support Refugees fleeing war-torn countries, and organizations that daily fight to improve the quality of life for everyone--regardless of race, gender, or religion.

So, when my turn came at Friendsgiving, my response was this:

I am thankful that I get to work with organizations full of people that are choosing to spread hope and love in a world full of darkness. 

People, I see your work. I see your hearts. I know opposition from fear, political agendas, or selfishness does not thwart you. You are a light amidst our darkest places. You might not receive recognition like you should, but your work changes lives--and this Thanksgiving {plus every day as well} I am thankful for you.

Multiple times in the Bible, God is compared to light. The really cool thing is that light always overpowers darkness. {Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, "I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life." John 8:12.} -- {The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:5} I love that analogy and what it means for us. Regardless of what happens in the future, regardless of how evil this world feels, and regardless of how dark today might seem: Light wins. Light gives us hope. 

Hope inspires us to believe in change... that goodness prevails, love conquers and the power of hope can transform a person, community, or outcome.

So this Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for the individuals around the world that commit themselves to changing lives & spreading hope, even in the darkest of situations. 

I'm thankful for a God that we can cling to for strength & refuge. 

I'm thankful that light prevails.  

This thanksgiving, I'm thankful for a heart full of hope. 

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. -Psalms 28:7