I am so thankful for you! (2023)

My heart is filled to overflowing with gratitude for you as I begin this year’s Thanksgiving message. 

This is the seventh time I’ve written one of these to you. And each year, looking back, I’m overcome with awe, joy, and gratitude (and even a little disbelief!) at what the Lord has done! Before we had any ability to give, and no audience, when this ministry was just me and Jack, and this website was just my desire to help him travel less to teach more, we decided to model the ministry after George Muller, with the goal of showing that without God, none of this is possible. We wanted to show all the Lord brings to us that He is real, that He cares, and that He provides. And never has this been more obvious than the last eight years! In my greatest pain, the Lord has brought about our greatest goal. And He has done so with the best community I could ask for. Thank you for being here! I am so grateful for you!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Still, no one has found a way to commercialize it. They keep pushing “black Friday” earlier and earlier. But Thanksgiving itself remains set apart for gratitude, family and friends, and feasting. Gratitude transforms our hearts and our lives. It transforms our mental states and our relationships. It’s a habit, and a skill, and a spontaneous welling up inside us.

Thank you for being a part of this GTF family! Thank you for lifting up in prayer this ministry, my family, our volunteers and workers, and all we serve! Thank you for your faithfulness in following through on the prompts God places in your hearts to pray, to encourage, and to give. Thank you for loving as Jesus loves you. I am so grateful for you! I’m so grateful you are a part of the amazing group the Lord has brought us here. I always thank the Lord for you and your kindness.

This morning, I’ve been thinking of Luke 17:11-19, where Jesus healed the ten lepers. I have always marveled at how only one stopped to thank Jesus. I’ve wondered if, in practice, it is just one in ten who stops to give thanks. But the thing that struck me this morning is how the other nine were still doing exactly as Jesus commanded. They began doing as He commanded before they saw their healing. As they went, they were cleansed (Luke 17:14). The other nine also believed in Him. They believed in His power and His willingness to heal. This is huge. And they did His will—exactly as He commanded them. But only one saw he was healed, ran back to Jesus, praising God in a loud voice, threw himself at the feet of Jesus, and thanked Him. (Luke 17:17-19) Only one out of the ten paused in the middle of doing God’s will to express gratitude.

Lord, let us be like the one who, in doing your will, comes to you praising you loudly, falling at your feet, and giving you thanks!

I’m praising God for you today and praying that He’ll bring such joy and delight to you. Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving today or not, I pray your heart wells up in gratitude for all the Lord has done for you. I pray as you look back over your life, that you’ll notice the gifts He has placed along the way, the rescues and near misses, the beauty in the ashes, and the comfort in the trials. I pray as you sit today that your heart will be full of the gifts in this moment. And I pray as you look ahead, you’ll be filled with gratitude and expectation for all the Lord has prepared for you, both in this life and the one to come.

If you need a little pick-me-up today, just look back over the blog posts to see all we’ve done together! And if you want to see the previous posts I mentioned above, here they are! You can read my Thanksgiving message for 2017, 2018, 2019,  2020, 2021, and 2022

With love and gratitude,

♥ Samantha