I am thankful for you! (2019)

I’m so grateful for you!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Gratitude has transformed every moment of my life. For every hard thing, gratitude reminds me of how I’m blessed instead of what I lack—keeping me from despair. And for every beautiful thing, gratitude reminds me that it is all grace and gifts and that apart from the Lord, I have nothing and can do nothing—keeping me from pride and entitlement.

We brought in a pumpkin, and we’ve been writing things we’re grateful for on it each day with sharpie markers. Have you ever made a gratitude list over a week or a month or longer? For me, the first things are always the big ones: family and friends, this ministry and you, home, freedom, both political and religious, having more than enough food, shelter, etc.

Joy continues after listing the big things. Then, I get to the little blessings the Lord brings into each day. The things that, if I’m not paying attention, slip by without notice. Small gifts every day that, if I turn in thanks to the Giver, will keep my heart knit to His and keep me focused on the blessing the Lord brings instead of my grief or struggles. Nothing is too small to list. The sun through the window, cozy socks, and warm drinks. A good parking spot! (We’re in the snow in Utah right now, so warm things are a big deal!)

One of my greatest joys is getting to know you through emails and the forum.

♥ Thank you for sending me messages of encouragement, when it’s easier to think it and get on with your busy days.

♥ Thank you for inviting me into your life to pray for you and get to know you better.

♥ Thank you for sharing with me your hard days and your triumphs.

♥ Thank you for your heart for all we serve together and your generosity!

♥ Thank you for sharing Jack’s work with those who are blessed by it.

♥ Thank you for staying with us through these last four years through the pain and disappointment, but also the incredible ways the Lord has shown up as well.

We started two churches in persecuted areas together! We have ensured that every widow we serve no longer has to beg in the streets for food or be in danger of losing her kids! We are putting an end to generation poverty with education for parents and kids! We are raising up leaders with hearts for Jesus and His sheep.

This is what we asked for when Jack and I began this ministry 20 years ago. We asked the Lord to let it be like George Muller’s ministry, where others would look at it and know it could only be the Lord. We made sure our giving and our efforts reflected that. And I’m so very grateful it’s even more apparent now, four years after losing Jack, that this only exists because the Lord is God on High and He cares for us. He is kind and generous and powerful and mighty. My greatest privilege is serving the One who gave all for us and calling the Creator of all Abba, Father.

For those who are in seasons in the valley, I pray the God of all comfort brings you peace and love this season. And for those in seasons on the mountain top, I pray you’ll praise the One who brought the blessing, and then, bless those in need.

With abundant love and gratitude,

♥ Samantha