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I am thankful for you.

During November many of us will have the opportunity for extra practice at being thankful. It can start small with thanksgiving for the food before us or the family gathered around a table. We can be thankful for traveling mercies as well as healing from sickness. I particularly love hearing what children are thankful for: crayons, dinosaurs, bubbles, silky fabric, and puppy dog kisses. The magnitude of the thanksgiving really isn't important. It's the practice that changes us.

Years ago I began writing down my thanksgivings on a regular basis and not censoring myself to what was worthy of giving thanks for and what was not, what deserved to be written down or not. I just wrote. I didn't berate myself when a week or a month went by and I had not written down a thanksgiving. I just gave it to God and wrote. My goal was to get to 1,000 thanks and then when I did, I wanted to keep going, so I did. This turned out to be a practice that has helped transform me time and time again. Now I have notebooks full of thanksgivings on my bookshelves. I can pick one up and thumb through to see the ways in which God works, moves, and continues to open my eyes to what God is already up to in the world around me. It's literally life changing.

The discipline of being thankful transforms us, friends. It helps reorient us to the One who is already at work in the world around us and invites us into that work for our benefit as much as for the benefit of those to whom we minister.

I am thankful for you. For your willingness to say yes to the call of God upon your life. I am thankful that you are honest about your struggles and your triumphs. I am thankful for the work that you are doing day in and day out that doesn't get noticed and for the work that wins awards. I am thankful that you open your life up to those around you, living in honesty and power so that others may see Christ at work within your life. You are making a difference where you are and changing the future for the next generation of pastors and teachers, chaplains and missionaries, non-profit leaders and prison ministers.

All of this to say, I am thankful for you. I'll leave you with these verses that remind me of you all.

"Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing. We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering." -2 Thessalonians 1:3-4

Rev. Jill Hudson

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