November 22, 2012 by Stacy McDonald

Of Thanksgivings Past…

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Thinking back to a Thanksgiving many years ago while I was still in the pit of my rebellion and sin… I had moved a thousand miles away from home and found myself with nowhere to go for Thanksgiving. After work, I stopped at the grocery to prepare for my lonely little meal. I stood in line with a small ham steak, a can of pineapple, a can of sweet potatoes, and a bag of marshmallows to put on top.

When it was my turn to pay, I counted out my change and discovered I didn’t have enough money. I can’t recall which item I put back (surely not the marshmallows); but, I do recall the humiliating moment when I realized how pathetic I appeared to everyone behind me in line.

I felt the weight of my wandering, and recalled the years growing up surrounded by family. I thought of Papa’s oyster dressing and the roasted turkey my family would be enjoying back in Texas. I thought of the paycheck I had blown the night before. I thought of the choices I had made, the life I was living, and I winced.

Cold. Barren. Empty. Alone. I couldn’t feel thankful for much of anything because I was so blinded by shame.

In the months that followed, God walked me through many more lonely and pathetic moments, and He used them to bring me to my knees, to show me my sin, and to reveal to me His power, His love, and His grace.

“God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” (Psalm 68:6)

Today, my daughters and I will prepare a Thanksgiving feast for family and friends; and, this Christmas, my husband and I will be surrounded by all ten of our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren. I have much for which to be thankful.

Warm. Fruitful. Satisfied. Blessed. It is difficult to be discontent when you are so blinded by His mercy.

God is so very, very good. And, yes, I will be making that sweet potato casserole today, marshmallows and all!

Grandma’s Sweet Potato Casserole

4 lb. fresh sweet potatoes peeled, cooked, and mashed
½ C. brown sugar
1 can crushed pineapple
Cinnamon to taste
1 bag small marshmallows

Mix potatoes, sugar, pineapple and cinnamon together with a fork and spread into casserole dish. Top with marshmallows. Bake at 350 degrees until marshmallows or toasted.

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8 Responses to “Of Thanksgivings Past…”

  1. Angela says:

    This is beautiful. I’m sharing it on my fb page because I’m sure others will be as blessed as I was reading it. Great is HIS faithfulness.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. Just this – I love you and am thankful for God’s work in your life.

  3. Lisa H. says:

    Thank you for sharing this….
    I have a rebellious daughter who, while still at home, is “putting up with” us….
    When I read your story, it reminded me that for some of us, He must bring us through the pits, until we reach the end of ourselves (though really, there’s not much of ourselves to get to the end of in the first place!) before He brings light to our eyes and hearts.

    My heart is broken over this one, even though the other 7 are “with us” and we rejoice over them.
    May He bring her into the fold, as our prayers ascend on her behalf.
    May He bless you for sharing this story of hope. God looks to the one lost lamb….
    I am thankful for God’s working in your life, and in mine.

  4. Kim says:


    I was meditating on the very same verse today as I recalled those years of running from God. He has blessed me beyond belief! Thank you for sharing so much with us. It is truly a blessing to serve with you.

  5. Tehila says:

    I loved your testimony and was so touched by how gracious our Lord has been to you, as he has to me… Even though I live in New Zealand and we don’t celebrate thanksgiving here, I too am intending to post my testimony of salvation on my blog today. This is the Truth that I am most thankful in my life. One that I will have the privilege of thanking my King for, for all eternity.

    God bless you, my sister, as you abide in Him (and as you eat Grandma’s Sweet Potato Casserole :-) )

  6. Faith says:

    God is awesome. I love your story. Your website always teaches me something. Love in Christ, Faith

  7. Beautiful, Stacy!

    Many blessings…

  8. Mrs. Hunt says:

    Stacy, thank you. Just…thank you. I so admire what you have done with your family and your life, and to see that you were once in a place where I was lost, too…it’s just inspiring to see how far you’ve come. Thank you for opening your heart.

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