The day before Thanksgiving, we babysat two cute little girls in our ward. We made little turkey hats for them and cards for their mom. Elisa helped me with the girls’ hats and Sabrina made her own. Alex didn’t want to have anything to do with a turkey hat for some reason. It’s hard to find an activity that all three of my cuties (Alex hates that too) will enjoy. But they all liked going to Grandma and Grandpa’s for Thanksgiving! Lots of good food and my parents and all my brothers and sisters and their spouses were there, my sister’s 3 dogs and my two little nephews who we don’t get to see often enough. Even my sister’s husband’s brother and sister (follow that?) were able to come. They aren’t technically related to me, but they are part of the family so it was nice they could be there.
On their way down to Utah from Boise, the brakes went out on Tiffany and Adam’s car (my sister and brother-in-law). So Adam spent the day trying to fix the car so they could get back home in time for him to start work. He was able to figure something out so they headed back home the day after Thanksgiving. We prayed a lot that they would make it okay and they did. Another reason we had a lot to be thankful for this year.
I want to share a story about being grateful that many of you have probably heard, but it’s good for me to be reminded of it often. It is from Corrie ten Boom’s book The Hiding Place. I haven’t read it yet, but have heard parts of it which have made a big impact on me.
Corrie and her sister Betsie were Christians in Holland who became prisoners in a concentration camp. Can you imagine what that would be like? As much as I try, I know that I cannot. Somehow when they were first put in the camp, they were able to smuggle a Bible in with them. Here is a small part of what Corrie remembers from her time in the camp.
Betsie said, “We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about his new barracks"
I stared at her, then around me at the dark, foul aired room. "Such as?" I said.
"Such as being assigned here together."
I bit my lip, "Oh, yes, Lord Jesus!"
"Such as what you're holding in your hands."
I looked down at the Bible. "Yes! Thank You, dear Lord, that there was no inspection when we entered here! Thank You for all the women here in this room who will meet You in these pages."
"Yes," said Betsie. "Thank You for the very crowding here. Since we're packed so close, that many more will hear. She looked at me expectantly, "Corrie!" she prodded.
"Oh, all right. Thank You for the jammed, crammed, stuffed, packed suffocating crowds."
"Thank you," Betsie went on serenely, "for the fleas and for--"
The FLEAS!! This was too much. “Betsie, there's no way even God can make me grateful for a flea."
"'Give thanks in all circumstances,'" she quoted. "It doesn't say in pleasant circumstances. Fleas are part of this place where God has put us."
And so we stood between piers to bunks and gave thanks for fleas. But this time I was sure Betsie was wrong.
The women in Corrie’s dormitory room were able to have a bit of freedom while in the room since no guards would ever come into the room. They were able to read from the Bible and even have discussions with others and teach many. They didn’t understand why the strict guards never came into the room for surprise inspections like they did in other rooms. Then one day they found out that they didn’t come in because of the fleas and as Corrie writes, "My mind rushed back to our first hour in this place. I remembered Betsie's bowed head, remembered her thanks to God for creatures I could see no use for."
We never know what use our trials serve us. Only Heavenly Father knows and we just need to trust him and be grateful. What a wonderful example for us!
Along with this, let me leave Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin’s last lines in his final general conference address in October 2008, that I’m sure many people have reviewed since hearing of his passing. I will miss his wise, loving words.
“Although my mother has long since passed to her eternal reward, her words are always with me. I still remember her advice to me given on that day long ago when my team lost a football game: ‘Come what may, and love it.’I know why there must be opposition in all things. Adversity, if handled correctly, can be a blessing in our lives. We can learn to love it.
"As we look for humor, seek for the eternal perspective, understand the principle of compensation, and draw near to our Heavenly Father, we can endure hardship and trial. We can say, as did my mother, ‘Come what may, and love it’.”