Friendsgiving

Friendsgiving.

It’s a Thanksgiving feast with friends, hence the name.

We attended our first Friendsgiving last weekend after some last-minute grocery shopping and frantic cooking. We even earned ourselves some battle wounds for memory’s-sake (nearly chopped off two of my fingers, lots of blood, liquid stitches – you know, basic new-adult problems). Dinner was followed by games (which the girls won, obviously), dessert, coffee, and casual conversation.

And then suddenly, somewhere along the line, the casual conversations turned into much more serious conversations. The light vibes grew heavy with the nature of our talks – relationships, perceptions, morality, change, decisions.

It was wonderful but also incredibly difficult at times. Voices waxed and waned, tears were shed, hearts were exposed, intentions left bare. Good conversations – necessary, difficult conversations.

Nathan and I returned home around 4:30 AM, feeling as if we had just gone through battle. Not because of the differing views at play, not because anyone got out of line. No, this wasn’t a battle of words or one of physical injury – this was not a battle against flesh and blood. This was a battle for the souls of our friends. Our amazing friends who are great people – loving, kind, generous, loyal, ambitious, intellectual, hilarious, and all around good people.

And yet, they lack one thing:

An unwavering faith in Jesus Christ
as their Savior, Redeemer, & Friend.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so overwhelmed. My heart aches for them in ways I never realized possible.

We desire so deeply that these amazing, loving people we know would come to know the One who is truly worth it all – that they would find their identity in Christ, that they would come to know unsurpassable Peace, that they would experience real Joy unlike anything else in this world. And bearing this burden, “having done all” we remember:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. | Ephesians 6:12-13

We had few words the next morning as we woke up and started getting ready for church. Our hearts were still heavy, burdened for our friends. And as we drove to church, as we opened the doors to the chapel, as we took our place on the pews, as we gazed upon the cross and the wine and bread before us, tears again flowed. Not because our thoughts were too heavy, but because His burden was light. Not because we were exhausted in every way from the spiritual warfare the night before, but because He was victorious over sin and death and hell.

My thoughts were on a loop:

“Thank You, thank You, thank You, Lord.” 

Because how could I not praise Him for His work in my own life? How could I not thank Him for the grace He gave me to know Him? How could the events of the night before not drive me to worship?

This Thanksgiving, that which I am most thankful for in all of this world is Him – my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who paid my ransom, bore my sins, nailed them to the cross, and rose victoriously from the grave!

Nothing in this life can compare to Him. Not my job, not my bank account, not my home, not my family, not my husband – literally nothing can compare to Him and the joy, peace, and love I have in Him.

As I reflect on our first annual Friendsgiving and the amazing people God has placed in our lives, my heart, although weary, is emboldened in Him. As fiercely as I love these people, the Lord loves them more. They are His – not mine. But because I love them and because I love Him, I will boldly walk into battle after battle for them, as an outpouring of my thankfulness to Him and as a demonstration of my love for them.

Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving – whatever you are celebrating today, I hope you are reminded of that which is truly significant: God gave His only Son for us, just so that we could know Him. If we are truly thankful, our loved ones would be the first to know because we’d be sharing about Him every chance we get.

God is truly good and
He is truly worthy of all our praise.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. May you be blessed richly in the Lord as you recount His faithfulness & bask in His goodness on this Thanksgiving Day.

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