|Teresa Norris, Author|
"Offer to God the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High." Psalm 50:14
For me November is a bleak month on many levels. Shades of gray dominate the landscape – bare gray trees, gray skies, gray water. Yet, I haven’t even touched on the emotional grayness this month presents: my mother's passing on November 18, 2003, my dad's death on November 1, 2007, and amongst the hardest losses--the turmoil of estrangement between me and my brother two years ago.
It's hard to hit the happy button with all this negativity swirling around, but then isn’t that exactly what our relationship with God challenges us to do?
Seeking that elusive “peace that surpasses all understanding” is something we all experience in our daily walk. The good news of course, is that God provides the ways and means to accomplish this. I call these God’s “life preservers,” which He throws our way to save us from some grim realities. For me it’s writing--journaling and personal essays that encourage reflection and allow emotional venting.
Once life’s little foibles (and big problems!) are brought forward through prayer or writing, the spirit is relieved of the burden. We are reminded of Scripture. We are reminded of past victories. In other words, we are reminded who our Father is. We are given those avenues to surrender to God, reconnect, and receive healing.
Yes, November heralds winter – in nature and perhaps in our soul. But it also hosts the holiday of Thanksgiving, and that provides opportunity to refocus our thoughts. I can take those exact things that might bring me down and reconsider them in an “attitude of gratitude.”
Gray trees – a time of rest and silent awaiting rebirth. Gray skies and water – a cocooning of sorts, a drawing-in to reflect. My parents passing away – they are truly home now, in peace and comfort. My relationship with my brother – complex but going forward in prayer and dependence on God’s grace.
Each and any circumstance, trial, challenge and fear cannot and does not stand in the face of God’s greater presence. For that, I am profoundly grateful.
Teresa M. Norris, wife, mother, retired teacher and author of Almost Home–How I Lost My Mother Without Losing My Mind: A Faith Journey, resides in Mystic, CT with her husband Tom. To learn more about Teresa and her personal struggles through her mother's journey of dementia, or to purchase her book, please visit her website or visit her blog.