At All Saints Lutheran Church (Lilburn, Ga.) our Thankoffering Service is always the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. It includes the whole congregation, kids home from school and visiting family members. We always have pie, coffee and punch with lots of fellowship afterwards, laughing and visiting with family. It’s a special time for everyone to give thanks to God for all of His blessings and to honor our women with an offering to Women of the ELCA.
This year my pastor asked if I would do the sermon; of course, I said yes. I love to talk about WELCA and the blessings in my life.
As I thought about what I would say, memories flooded my mind. Thanksgiving always reminds me of my mother, my sisters and all of my nieces and nephews. It reminds me of the woman God used to teach me about life. God taught me to be generous by watching as the church ladies dropped off a thanksgiving basket full of food and a big turkey on our front porch.
He taught me about goodness by watching my mother cook and how she loved having her daughters and grand- kids home, especially if they weren’t moving in, which seemed to happen every other year.
I learned about gentleness and patience as my mother taught each younger grandchild how to tie their shoes for the first time.
With kindness she taught my oldest son how to cook her famous biscuits and gravy, laughing as flour flew everywhere.
Watching my mother live a long life alone taught me courage and the lesson of hard work and belief in something bigger than myself.
I miss my mother; but this Thanksgiving I have much to be thankful for. Most of all I am thankful for the gifts of generosity, goodness, gentleness, patience, kindness and courage, taught to me through God’s amazing grace.
I am especially thankful for this community of women who have given me the opportunity to give back what was freely given to me. Yes, Thanksgiving is a special time to be thankful for this organization that gives so much year after year.
Patti Austin, of Decatur, Ga., is president of Women of the ELCA for the 2014-2017 triennium.
Photo by Dwight Sipler. Used with permission.