Matthew 6:25-33 (NRSV)
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
This Gospel gives us much hope, especially for those who are struggling, and many of us who are single parents know what it is like to struggle. Some of us have had to worry about our lives, what we will eat, drink and wear, as money can be tight with only one income and children to raise! There even may have been some times when we doubted whether God was really there for us, as the creditors closed in, and we were faced with medical or car repair bills we could not pay, or with losing our homes!
And on holidays like this one, it can be even tougher to handle when so many people are talking about filling up their Thanksgiving Dinners, and going on a shopping spree, and we may be struggling just to keep our lights on!
I believe that when it seems like God may not be paying attention, God is actually holding us closer than ever, reminding us that we will never be forgotten. Sometimes things do not work out as we would hope, and that is because our world is broken, but our relationship with God cannot be broken! I believe that God is always with us, comforting us and helping us to get by…to make it one more day! If we pay attention, we can see how God works in the world, giving us reasons for hope, both through the Spirit who can lift us up unexpectedly, and through the people in our lives who are there to help us.
There have been days when I have been down to my last few dollars and too proud to tell anyone, and an unexpected gift is received, that saves the day! Or when I have found myself lost in frustration and on the verge of despair, and have gotten a smile from my daughter, phone call, or a visit from a loved one that has brightened my day!
So, today as we are giving thanks, let us try not to focus on all that we struggle with, or all we would like to have, but to be grateful on all the good things we have in our lives!
Let us be thankful for the love we share with our children, and for the unique bond that can form between single parents and their children! It may not always be smooth sailing, but the bond can become very strong, as we are very involved in their lives!
Let us be thankful for the people in our lives who have helped us through the tough times, sometimes without even asking (though it’s hard to believe some single parents may find themselves too proud to ask for help). And let us be thankful for all that we have learned from going through these tough times, like that it is not only okay, but necessary to rely upon the support of others! Sometimes the most valuable lessons are learned on the ‘anvils of experience’.
Despite any struggles we have gone through, are going through now, or may experience in the days and years to come, there is so much in our lives to be thankful for, as God really does provide for us just what we need…the most important being love!
Surrounded by this love we are reminded us that we are never alone, never forgotten, but always in loving arms of our Heavenly Father; and it is this love that we are called to share to brighten the lives of each other. This is more than we deserve and the greatest reason to give thanks!
Let Us Pray:
Dear God, thank you for always caring for us, and giving us what we need to make it through each day: your love! Please help us to share this love with our children and others…and also with ourselves, when we find that we are being too hard on ourselves. Let us remember that what really matters in life is not how much we can buy or how many nice things we own, but the people we care about and who care about us! For in sharing this love, we are shining the light of your grace in all the dark corners of our world!