My theme verse this Thanksgiving is Colossians 2:6-7: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (NIV). When I read this verse I picture a tree planted in rich soil, a stream running freely over stones, a goblet running over with wine. I love these image of life and joy and abundance, especially around the feasting and fellowship of the season.

Living with a chronic illness can be devastating, especially when that illness includes debilitating anxiety and depression. It refreshes my soul to remember how lavishly I am blessed. In this spirit, here are 10 things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving.

  1. Free and complete forgiveness. I have hope in this life and the life to come because I don’t have to earn acceptance, make no mistakes or pull myself up by the bootstraps. I am made beautiful and holy because all of my ugliness has been washed away.
  2. The fruits of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. That I ever express them or experience them from others is because God is real and true and more powerful than anything else.
  3. Community. I can relate in a healthy way to God and to others because He loves me and is enabling me to love. I can talk to God as a Father and speak openly about whatever I am feeling. In addition, our church family and neighborhood consistently challenges and supports me.
  4. A supportive husband. David is sweet, smart, caring, hard-working, servant-hearted and hilarious. I couldn’t ask for a better companion.
  5. Family. Both David and I have family that is committed to us and some of them even live right here in Chattanooga.
  6. Health. I’m convinced that having bipolar has ultimately made me a healthier person than I would be otherwise. Having to live within my limitations and working to care for my body and mind has made me self-aware and pro-active about my wellbeing and the wellbeing of my community.
  7. Good food on my table. We’ve made a commitment to eating well, and it has done so much to save my sanity in every respect, from the creative process of cooking to the benefits of whole foods.
  8. A roof over our heads. Our home is comfortable, close to our community and perfectly suited to our needs. We dream of buying it someday!
  9. Jobs we love. David and I are both pursuing our passions in our work, and have incredible flexibility in how and when we work.
  10. A furry friend. Our boxer-pitbull-and-God-knows-what Thor, rescued from the streets of East Lake, has been a huge comfort to me. He is affectionate and energetic with us and our friends, yet protective with strangers.

This Thanksgiving, may we continue to live our lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith in which we were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.