Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

Since the beginning of the month, many of my Facebook friends have been posting some of the many things that they have to be thankful for--one each day.

I didn't take me long to decide that this was one of the many Facebook trends that I would choose not to participate in. It's not that I don't have much to give thanks for; I just don't like to conform to the crowds and I figured that I'd mess up and miss somewhere along the way. Maybe it's the easy way out to write a single post and name 30 things that I have and am extremely grateful for.

1. Not only am I grateful for my God, I am grateful to my God. While I can't imagine why, I truly believe that I have found favor in His eyes and He has blessed me beyond what I can imagine and far, far greater than what I could possibly deserve. While there are many that might say the following things are merely coincidence, I choose to believe that they are the abundant blessings of a mighty God. Would He still be my God if I lived in poverty? If I was homeless or unemployed? If I was sick or in poor health? Yes, He would. The blessing of eternal life through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son is more than I could ever earn or deserve. Even the gift of my life, my ministry, my love, could never repay my God for what He has done for me. I am thankful for The Gift.

2. Chris. A life long blessing. We have spent most of our lives together. We laugh together--a lot. We are very different people. She tends to stay in the background; I'm generally in the middle of things. She is more organized; me--not so much. She is the saver; I am the spender. She knows the artist and year for most popular songs from the 60s until today; I surprise her if I know that it was Michael Jackson that recorded "Beat It." She is my friend, my partner, my wife. For more than thirty years, I have thought of her, spoken to her, and loved her--every day. I can't begin to imagine what life would have been like without her. She is the best part of us.

Together, Chris and I have raised two incredible kids.

3. Aaron. I miss him. Oh, I talk to him often and share texts or tweets, too. But I miss him. I miss going to a ballgame or out to watch a UFC Fight night. I miss beating him in a game of Scrabble (and wouldn't even mind the occasional loss just to be able to play a game). I am very proud of the man that he has become and is becoming. I think that he has a wonderful wife and I miss her, too. I am disappointed that he married a Cub fan, but it seems to be her only glaring fault so we have gladly welcomed her into the family and are praying for her conversion. Jenny and Aaron just seem to belong together. I am looking forward to seeing them over the Christmas holidays.

4. Hannah. My very independent daughter. She is a great young woman! I remember the day I took the training wheels off of her bicycle. We didn't see her for the rest of the day (except for the occasional ride past the house). We lived on a 1/4 mile long cul de sac with only ten homes. The neighborhood kids pretty much spent the day outside moving from one house to the next. At the end of the day, I remember telling Chris, "When she gets her driver's license, we'll never see her!" It's pretty much turned out that way. Hannah has school planned out to graduate a semester early. She is working and earning scholarships to minimize her post-graduation debt. She is outspoken, hates prejudice, has little tolerance for incompetence but is as loyal as they come to her closest friends. I'm looking forward to watching her as she continues to mature. I wish there were more days to share a cup of coffee with her. I miss those days during the school year and am grateful that she's planning on spending the summer at home.

5. Jenny. I couldn't have picked a better daughter-in-law. She loves my son and he loves her. She is smart, hard working and pretty, too. I remember one of Hannah's classmates telling Aaron, "You're so lucky. Your girlfriend is smart and good looking!" Jenny is Aaron's partner in ministry and is looking forward to being a pastor's wife. Each time that we get to see her and hear of her work and career as a young engineer, I am so proud of her. She has become more assertive and is making her way in the world.  I just wished that they lived closer.

6. Mom and Dad. I could put this as two separate things, but the truth is that they belong together. They are "Mom and Dad" not "Mom" and "Dad." To family, they are "Jerry and Bebe" (that's two syllables -- short e sound -- be be). I have no idea how they managed to raise six kids that are all pretty fantastic people. Since I've written about us before, I won't go on and on again. But before the rest of my family, "Mom and Dad" rate a top spot in the thankful for these things list.

7. The rest of the Hill Clan. I could finish out the thirty things by naming everybody one at a time, but I won't. I won't even go on and on about how great my family really is. (I actually doubt that many have stayed to read this far). I'll just direct you to a previous post if you want to know about us.

8. My church family. Hopedale Baptist Church. I love this place. God truly answered our prayers when we asked Him to direct us to a church that would become our home. We prayed for a place that would love our kids and would be a place that our kids would want to was. We prayed for a place that would minister to us and provide a place where we could minister to has been that. We prayed for a place where we would make close Christian friends that we could share our lives with--both in church and away from the church...and Hopedale has done that, too.

9. My ministry call. I really have a hard time believing that I get to do something as fun as magic and call it ministry. It seems like ministry should be harder and require greater sacrifice. I know that sometimes it is long hours on the road without a lot of sleep. I know that it takes time away from my family and often cost in other ways, as well. But I cannot even begin to describe the high that comes from being a witness to somebody giving their life to Jesus. Though I've never kept a count, I know that over the past decade or so, I have witnessed more than a thousand souls come to know Jesus as their Savior! After a night like last Sunday when five college student made professions of faith in Jesus, one doesn't need a 5-hour energy shot to make it home at 1am; the energy and excitement of the evening is enough to get me home and pumped up for the next outing.

10. ATC. What a blessing my career has been. It has provided for my family quite well. It allowed us to choose to have Chris be a stay at home mom. I know that not everybody has that choice. And I know that not everybody that has the choice, chooses that option. I'm glad that we did. Chris is a great mom. While we never home schooled our kids, both Aaron and Hannah were reading and doing basic math long before they were in school. Through NATCA, I have met and made friends with a very diverse group of people from around the country. In spite of the things that you have heard in the press, trust me--these are the people that you want guiding your flights. They are the best in the world at what we do.

At just 10, I can see that this is a long post. I'm going to leave it at ten for now and post another 10 in a few days. As a bonus, I'll leave you a link for an article that will comfort you as you travel over the holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving!
John <><

1 comment:

Amanda said...

It was wonderful reading about how thankful you are for these 10. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving here but its good to be reminded of the things I should be thankful for as well....