A lesson in forgiveness at Thanksgiving time

A depressed soul and a holiday make a poor pair. I sat down to pray about my unhappy condition on a mid-November morning.

I had my health, my family, and a new home. I could have written a turkey-size list of things to be thankful for. But instead, complaints ran through my mind like newsfeed in bold type, obstructing better thoughts.

My family had recently moved to Texas. I’d sensed God’s help through each challenge:   my husband’s new job, selling our house in Nebraska, getting our daughter off to college in California, getting our sons’ enrolled in their new school, and finding our new home. But my confidence in God suffered a blow on the day we moved into our house—the day my wallet disappeared. I was robbed.

Losing my wallet on move-in day left me reeling. It had been stuffed with move-related receipts, cash, credit cards and, sadly, my wedding ring—tucked into an envelope until I could find a jeweler to reset a loose diamond. Now I had no driver’s license—someone could steal my identity!

I kept too busy unpacking boxes each day to let anger get the best of me. But at night my bitterness leaked out like air from a pin-pricked balloon. By morning I was deflated.  I began second-guessing our move, and worrying about all kinds of things. After two weeks of sleepless nights I felt defeated by my bad outlook.

Thanksgiving loomed ahead. Our daughter would be coming for her first stay in our new Texas home. I sat down to pray, to ask the Lord to revive me. But angry thoughts sprang up. My attention turned to the one I blamed for taking my wallet.

I recalled how the man showed up unexpectedly to finish some work on the house while we helped direct moving men with our furniture. Before he left, I noticed a strange look on his face. Later I reached into an empty kitchen cabinet to retrieve my purse. I remembered my distress over the missing wallet, and the hours I spent searching for it before getting on the phone to cancel credit cards. 

My bitter meditation made me realize I’d lost more than a wallet. I might never get my wallet back, but I could regain my joy and peace.

I needed to follow Jesus’ command to forgive. I prayed, asking the Lord to forgive the thief, to work in the man’s life and help him see his need of a Savior. By the time I’d finished, I felt sincere forgiveness go out from me.

That prayer proved beneficial to me. I found that my anger had dissolved in the transaction. And my sleep returned to normal—just in time for Thanksgiving.

—————-

After our holiday turkey dinner, I enjoyed washing the pile of dishes with my daughter beside me. I relished hearing about her new friends.

While we worked, my husband decided to check out the inner workings of our home. From the kitchen, I could see him sprawled upside-down on the floor of the guest bathroom. He reached up to examine the plumbing under the shallow pedestal sink—we’d never had one.

Soon he came walking toward me, a strange smile on his face. He held out my wallet—as thick as the day it went missing. Except for $30 in cash, everything remained intact, even my wedding ring.

Patti Richter

I felt so blessed and relieved by the discovery of my wallet and its contents. Yet the Lord had allowed it to stay hidden for weeks. Perhaps He wanted me to find something more valuable first.

Story and photo submitted by Blue Ribbon News special contributor, Patti Richter. Patti works as journalist, writing news and feature stories, book reviews and more for many Christian publications. She lives in Heath with her husband Jim. 

Read more from Patti Richter:

Of snakes & pumpkins: even a perfect fall day is made better with prayer

Winter, Star of Dolphin tale, has a friend in North Texas

God is Our Refuge

In a dry and thirsty land

To submit your news and events or a special guest column, email editor@BlueRibbonNews.com.

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