This week is Thanksgiving, so I want to pause and spend some time with you on the trail with the redwoods — and share some thoughts about a story Jesus tells us — about an unexpected journey of thanksgiving in Luke 17:11-19.
I created a short Soul Mocha Devotional Video for you. Click the video above and watch this short Soul Mocha Devotional.
During this special time to reflect on all the ways God has guided us this year, there are also parts of our hearts where things are still in process of becoming formed, shaped, clear or resolved. Like the soil that is being regenerated with the autumn rains and resting after summer harvest, there are spaces in our lives where stories are still taking shape. We are all on a journey.
We often keep those “on-the-journey” stories quiet during Thanksgiving week, but I believe they are just as beautiful, mysteriously glorious and alive as the finished stories of gratitude we often do share. Because in these on-the-journey stories, there stands Jesus with us. Present. He becomes intimately real in our wrestling as we listen for His voice and His hand gently guides us, drawing us near.
As we prepare to remember our blessings — let’s sit down at God’s table of the soul — the table set within each of us, remembering all parts of us on-the-journey — are welcomed, beloved and being made new with Jesus.
“You prepare a table before me… You anoint my head with oil; My cup overflows.” Psalms 23:5
May it be a quiet, restful, beautiful and glorious love affair with Jesus, as we look across the table, wherever the journey finds us this week. And may the words in today’s Soul Mocha Devotional bring you closer to Jesus and his love for you. As is.
A Soul Mocha Devotional
For those who prefer to read today’s Soul Mocha Devotional in words…
I wanted to share a story we often hear a lot during this season, but look at it from some different viewpoints. You know the story of the 10 lepers and how one went back to thank Jesus for how he had healed him?
As I look at other parts of the story, it’s very interesting to see Jesus was actually on his way to Jerusalem — when he had to go through Samaria.
So, he was actually on a journey when this opportunity came up unexpectedly and he stopped ot take time to heal these 10 lepers.
What’s interesting is that a lot of times Jesus healed people by touching them.
But, in this case — oddly enough — he told them to go do something.
Jesus told them to go show themselves to the priest — even though as they left Jesus to go, they weren’t healed.
And it got me thinking: is there something God’s asking me to do, even though I don’t feel like I’m not ready to do it — or I feel I’m not in any condition to do them because of x,y or z?
And yet, God still places things on our hearts, as he gently whispers and says —
I want you to do this.
This is where I want you to go journey.
And it’s in doing what Jesus encouraged them to go do that they were healed.
So I just thought it was interesting, as I am thinking of things to be thankful for – I asked myself:
Are there things that God has put on my heart — and things that even though I don’t feel prepared — I am thankful he is continuing to speak to me about them?
Sometimes, the seeds of thankfulness in us can only be watered when we dare to step out and go where Jesus calls us to go.
We become changed by the journey.
So, I’m curious for you: are there are also things God’s prompted on your heart that he’s encouraging you to do?
Lastly, I just want to say, wherever this week finds you — because Thanksgiving and the holidays brings up so many different part of our lives – relationships, friendships, or family dynamics – that are still on the journey. They may not look exactly like the way we’d want them to be.
Whether we’re married, singles, or parents, there are many seasons part of life that are changing. We are changing. Can we share those stories as well — and not just the finished stories of things we’ve already received, but stories of on-the-journey.
I call them on-the-journey stories. We can be thankful for those too.
Because Jesus is with us in them. And he gives us hope.
So, as long as we hear Jesus with us, we can confident that we can thank God for our journeys, however they look. I hope you have a wonderful week with Thanksgiving and I’ll be thinking of all of us.
What’s up ahead for you? What is God placing on your heart this week of Thanksgiving?
Pull up a chair. Click to comment. I’d love to hear about your journey.
Beautiful Bonnie I am grateful to share in your inspiration once again. Thank you for sharing the importance that are on the journey stories need to be included also on her reflection of gratefulness where Jesus is teaching us. My on the journey story where Jesus is leading me is beautifully described in the writings of Jennifer Duke Lees, she inspired me with, ” Peace is not the absence of storms peace is the Presence of God.” I am grateful to both of you. Bonnie you have helped me to have the courage to share my on the journey story with family and friends this Thanksgiving! I am also reminded of Joan D. Chittister writing that vulnerability is the key to self-acceptance. We have the capacity to love others more like Jesus, when we realize our worth is in him! In response to is Jesus calling you to do something you don’t feel your ready yet can you guess what that is? Writing to inspire others from my personal journey with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Thank you for inspiring me to do what I love! To all authors mentioned who have brought me this far on my journey in his peace, hope, joy and love. 🙂 +
wow,julie! i am so happy for the family and friends who have/will be hearing your story — a true, real thanksgiving! i wish i were there at the table to hear. 😉 what a great harvest to reap and share at the table! you’ve inspired me to keep on in my journey to do what God’s put on my heart!…
I may have stated in an earlier response of my cross country journey to be closer to our boys & grandbebe’s. This Thanksgiving has a twist my hubby & i will be apart because in the last month our pooch Cisco has been taken ill and needs to be home as he heals. So hubby will be home and i will travel to our oldest son who will host this year. The sweetest thing is that my middle son cannot go to the gather because of work and will join his Dad for Thanksgiving!
This is huge since there relationship has been rocky at times but i know my son has matured thru the years and yearns for his fathers company. My prayer is that the connection can be reestablished and a permanent bond of LOVE and devotion to each other be there!!
Dear Miriam (love your name!). I am praying that your family will be healed and drawn closer together thru this season. (I also love your dog’s name! Cisco is my fav character on the TV show “Flash”. Please pray for our family also. We have 4 grown sons 3 of whom I feel have rejected me to some extent due to the severe depression and mood swings I suffer from…I know much of the problem may be that my perceptions are so clouded by the depression…My family means the world to me. Praying you can move closer to your loved ones. We have 2 grandchildren nearby who are my joy! Love in Him, MaryKay
Thank you for your kind words! I will pray the Lord will open up those doors you need to walk thru and support and come alongside those who are effected by chronic illness and depression.
May the Lord give you wisdom & knowledge in the process!
Blessings to you and your family this holiday season.
Dear Jesus, you know how this relationships needs to be reconnected and how that might happen… as Miriam “goes”, do your work of healing and give father and son a moment of heart connection. be with Miriam as she is with her oldest and family… this unexpected twist. we know you’re in it all..
Thanks Bonnie for sharing your authentic heart. I love how you encourage us to share our “on the journey stories”. I think that is such an encouragement to others, and ourselves, but often the only stories that are shared are ones that have already seen the redemptive hand of God. This Thanksgiving season I am at the front end of a new journey to become a Certified Spiritual Director through a program at Moody. Talk about becoming undone! I am thankful for people like you that have shared a portion of your story in your book Spiritual White Space to encourage people like me! Thank you – from an undone girl with a grateful heart.
hi kristy! we are kindred spirits… pouring out where we’re being touched and refreshed. so happy for you in your new journey — Moody for Spiritual Direction… sounds wonderful! is it in person or online? let’s keep encouraging each other!
YES! I’ve had it on my heart to start a spiritual support group for those in my area suffering from chronic illness, anxiety and/or depression. Please pray that I will have the strength and energy to do this SOON and that our Father will send needy people my way plus work out the details (when and where, etc.) I actually started up a group a couple years ago which fizzled out and then we moved. I have chronic fatigue and depression which makes it hard to do much.
hi MK, i think it’s so exciting — and i know it also feels scary and hard to revisit something — but what i see is God calling you back to it and that He has always been in it with you. and is with you now. and that is what really matters. that it’s a part of your heart and God in you! i am on the journey of healing too, so we’ve got to go with boldness at the same time do soul nurturing things and find soul friends to feed our hearts with soul encouragement for the work. 🙂
It is a beautiful sunny day and I just got back from a walk with my pup. There has been something God has recently asked me to do and I have delayed doing it because it seems so daunting. So on my walk today, Jesus places this topic on my heart again and He tells me that because it matters to me, it matters to Him. I then go home and read my emails and yours is one of the first ones I read. Honestly, it brought tears to my eyes because the very thing that God was saying to me while on my walk, is what you are echoing in your post.
I love when He does that! What feels so big to me, isn’t to Jesus. Truly, nothing is impossible with Him. I needed reminding of this today, so thank you Kindred. 🙂 Wishing you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving. Xox
hi veronica, sounds soulfully scrupmtious. a walk with little pup in the sun. it is always daunting when he puts something on our hearts because we feel small and the passion/desire is so big. i love, love, love the whispers God spoke into your heart.. “He tells me that because it matters to me, it matters to Him.” so inspires me! i’m going to pass on these whispers with our community this week on a FB/IG/Twitter post.. 🙂
I find myself in need of silence to escape a very noise sometimes rude world. I relish times spent walking in a nature center or on the beach, away from anything that disturbs my sense of peace. I am learning to seek His companionship, to depend more on Him, to worship and be grateful. The journey is one that we need others, yet I do love to have times of quiet solitude with the Lord. I am strengthen in faith when I do so and it seems He calls me to do so. I also love Habakkuk 2:2 God is in his holy temple, let all earth keep silence before him. Thanksgiving blessings to you and yours.
hi elaine, i love hearing how God’s calling you to quiet space with him… and how you’re aware of that desire… and seeing Him in Habakkuk.. love that passage too.
Thank you, Bonnie. This is both encouraging and prompting me to reflect. Sometimes I feel there is something else God wants me to do, but I’m still not sure. It’s still so unclear. I want to open my heart to whatever He wants me to do. I love your thoughts about “on-the-journey” stories. And however our journeys look, we can thank Him for being with us. Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!
you have such a deep desire for God and his presence… i hope your Thanksgiving is touched with those moments!
Thank you, Bonnie, for this wonderful encouragement. Praise God we can thank Him in all circumstances, that He understands and touches us with whatever we need to continue the journey, to witness to others for His glory. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, to all the kindreds in Christ.♥☺
The life-path ahead into 2016 is hidden in fog. (As each new year approaches, that’s usually the case!) Will it lead to self-publishing a Bible study? Will my husband and I be participating more intentionally in our new church? What additional plans does God have for us? My on-the-journey gratitude list would have to include: 1. Continued purpose, even into retirement, 2. Anticipation of God using us, as we submit and rely on him, and 3. Expectation and hope for being involved with others in meaningful ways, in our new community. Thank you, Bonnie, for stretching my thinking and thanking with your insightful question!
Thanks for the great perspectives Bonnie. A lot to ponder with this video. Trying to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus this week, as things will be a little different around the Thanksgiving table. So thankful He is still in control of it all, and we have so much to be thankful for!
Have a blessed Thanksgiving Bonnie!
Happy Thanksgiving Bonnie! So good to hear your encouraging video. I am visiting my family in Florida for this holiday. I am getting acquainted with my niece’s two little ones and it is so much fun. We will all be together on Thanksgiving and I am very thankful for my family.
This is so beautiful, Bonnie. As I prepare to go spend time w my family in Oregon, I want to enter into conversation with them. Family dynamics can be so painful, and I find myself in this pattern of never saying anything, not being in conversation, or being honest, and then walk away hurt and rejected all over again.
I want it to be different this time. Cecilia
Cecilia! It’s wonderful to get your note here… I’m thinking of you today… as we pull up a chair at Thanksgiving. Family dynamics can be the most painful, and I just want you to know that your voice is important. I’m praying for you – the Holy Spirit to guide you and be with you right now… you’re known and loved… I understand how you feel. 😉
I stumbled across your video, and your message so hit home with what I’m experiencing today. I was reading a passage in Malachi 3:7, ” Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.
“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’
8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’
“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
As I read this passage, I could feel that God was calling me to give more. It was a very scary thing; I’m currently on short term disability after suffering a concussion from a biking accident, so I’m only receiving 60% of my income right now. I had so many fears, like what about Christmas coming up and buying everyone presents, and medical bills, and many other things that will need to be paid. But I know God wants us to have full trust in Him, so I did give today. This passage promises ‘so much blessing that there will not be enough room to store it’. I get upset with myself then, like why do I still want rely on myself and have my own selfish fears and anxieties when God is blatantly telling me that he’s got this? I am hoping He helps heal me in this. It is a challenging but rewarding journey to learn to trust in Him completely and serve Him.
Thank you again for your message!! Happy Thanksgiving!
so grateful to hear how God’s speaking in your life, Melissa. May God continue to heal you and keep reassuring you of his love. happy thanksgiving!