When Thanksgiving Isn't Happy . . . And a Note About Picking Green Beans
For the gal who feels like this Thanksgiving isn’t as wonderful as it looks on Instagram . . . In my 20’s, I spent several years dreading the holidays. I mean, dreading them. I’ve lived a lot of life in the past several years and part of that living has had a major impact on holidays. I remember some years when a holiday would be approaching, having feelings of dread, anxiousness, misplacement and overall heaviness. I never really knew what to do with myself or what to do with the pain I was processing in my own life and just wished I could flat out disappear during those times. I would see things online and say to myself, “If only someone knew what was going on for me this Thanksgiving.”
I remember people telling me things like, “You’re seen,” “You’re loved,” and “God’s got this.” and while those things are true, they can also just feel like words when you are in the depths of tough seasons. I mean, I can’t hold it against anyone, because I never had an alternative for what I wish I had been told. I just knew things weren’t easy and the holidays would require extra effort to be present and mindful of the good things that God was doing.
Thankfully now, they are different. The Lord has redeemed so much and done a really deep work in my life, for which I am thankful. While I still remember those days, months and years of deep pain, I will always know that my great love for God comes from those hardest times and I can’t help but smile softly and be thankful for Him meeting me right where I was.
God never expected me to rush out of my painful, confusing, awkward years of holidays, but rather convinced me that being still long enough to allow Him to know me in the depths is where true healing happens. I am thankful for those years of trial, but it doesn’t mean they were not difficult.
If I had the privilege of being with you this year and knew you were having a hard time, I would want you to know that you are allowed to show up at the dinner table just the way you are, with no pressure of saying a word or being anything you’re not. In fact, if you needed to cry in your sweet potato dish, and desperately longed not to be judged, I would want you to know I think nothing less of you and wouldn’t judge you for a second. I would honestly probably tell you that I expect tears at odd times and I’m not scared of them . . . Or you. Grief is a funny thing and it can be hard for people to be silent with us when we just need to “be”, but my greatest prayer is that wherever you may be today, believing that being seen and known by our heavenly Father is not just an empty phrase, but truth that carries us far and wide.
You don’t have to perform or act like you have it all together for the Lord. He knows your deepest heart cry this year and maybe . . . just maybe your tears could be an invitation from the Lord to be still and not tempted to be anyone or anything you’re not. Don’t rush yourself out of the grief of where you are just because it feels weird and you’re grasping for comfort. I promise that God isn’t scared of your pain, and He really does love you just the way you are.
On another note . . . My dear friend Laura and I were peeling off the ends of green beans tonight for dinner and it got us to talking about peeling and stringing beans with our grandmothers and great grandmothers long ago. I asked if she knew why we had to pinch the ends off of green beans and neither one of us really knew. I told her that when I was a little girl, I would pick them from the garden with my great grandmother and have the most fun pinching and stringing them and today had the first realization of why some people call them string beans. "(Insert mind blown emoji.) It never occurred to me to ask my great grandmother why we were doing this before we cooked them and I’m kind of sad I’ll never get to hear her tell me her reason.
I just googled “Why do we cut the ends off of green beans?” And NOBODY on the World Wide Web can tell me a good reason. I’ve read in about 17 different places, the answer is, “Because my grandma/mom/great grandmother did it.” What a let down, google.
I have an adopted Mamaw from over the years, and I’ll be with her tomorrow. It’s kind of ridiculous how excited I am to ask her my question about why we pinch green beans before we cook them. But, before then, if any of you know the answer, come and join me on my instagram feed with the picture of green beans that matches this blog heading. I can’t wait to read your responses and tomorrow, I’ll report back with mamaw’s reasons. I think hers is going to be very, very good.
Okay, but in all seriousness . . . well, I do believe green beans to be somewhat serious too . . . but. I am praying for you this Thanksgiving and trusting that God knows the one in whom I am lifting up this year, who needs to know they are okay just the way they are. . . . Because you are okay, just the way you are.