Claudine Phillips

How to stay enough when we just don’t feel it

Thanksgiving strikes a special cord in me that is bittersweet. Due to crazy life circumstances, there were times Shad and I found ourselves looking for a place to celebrate Thanksgiving.  At the time it was super hard, but as I look back, God gave us a family EVERY TIME we did not have somewhere to “go” during this time of thanks and giving.


One Thanksgiving in particular comes to mind. It happened at a Burger King during our first year of marriage, 15 years ago. As we sat dining over our burgers, fries, and shakes.  One of us said something that triggered a full on laugh until you cry.  Shakes flew out our noses as tears rolled down our cheeks. It was bittersweet. We missed family, but we were having the time of our lives.

It was our first Thanksgiving together AS OUR NEW LITTLE FAMILY. Just the two of us. Family. One.

As years rolled on, we were fortunate enough to celebrate with our actual family, with strangers, blessed to break bread with friends, and have our occasional “just us” Thanksgivings. All were wonderful.


I want you to know, if you find yourself in a not so familiar place this year, it will be OK. If you find yourself miles from family, newly divorced, morning a loss, or even estranged from loved ones, no need to worry. Our God, your God, is right there, right here. He is sitting with you ready and waiting to recall a funny memory, give you that familiar needed hug, to hold you. It hurts, I know, but you are not alone.  Believe me, I know. He comforts ALL of us and meets our needs. A friend recently shared with me that she believes God is COMPLETE. Our circumstances may not look perfect to us, but it IS perfect to Him. I believe. I am thankful.

Every Thanksgiving I have found myself surround by loved ones. I have learned that those loved ones come in all forms: friends, strangers, the homeless, neighbors, family, and even the empty because no matter the form He comes in, its all LOVE.


I am so grateful for this lesson my God has taught me in this always approaching season that closes my every year. He brings light into the dark and makes the broken new again. My teacher, always.

Thank you for the dark so I can see the light.

Thank you for the broken so I can have perspective.

Thank you for the tears so I can see the laughter.

Thank you for being complete for me, so I can just lean in, believe, and receive.

Happy Thanksgiving my friends. You are incredible and don’t forget it.

This post and pictures are dedicated to Jason, Brandy, and Carrie Potts. Brandy, you are a woman who inspired this post and sees the light in everything. You are rare my friend. I cherish you and our friendship. Thank you for taking us in for Thanksgiving last year. I remember you simply asking the question, “What are your plans for Thanksgiving?” and commanding that we come over to your ranch…and we had just met. I love you.

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