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A Thanksgiving to Remember by Bambi Lynn

September 1996 will forever be a day that is etched in my memory as a day my world fell apart yet again. I was left to pick up the pieces of a broken soul and do that while trying to comfort my four small children, as their daddy had left yet and again for another woman. This would be the last and final time he would do this. As I write these words i can still feel the pain down deep in my soul. My dreams of a family that would consist of a mommy and daddy had been shattered on that day. I would never be the same and either would my children who were 9,7,6, and 4.

 My children and myself had a month in a half of me just walking around numb and crying all day and crying myself to sleep each night. Friends would come over to try and comfort me They would bring food or little snacks and desserts for my children that had their own fears and grief to deal with. they had no idea what happen to their family, only that daddy wasn't home, and mommy cried all the time. I needed to do something that would get me out of this funk that had swallowed me up in deep despair.

I chose to take my four daughters and myself on a trip. I called a friend who live in Tennessee to see if we could come and visit. I was so ready to get into a car and just drive away the pain. This was an adventure for my daughters, I wanted to make sure it was fun. We started off and hit black ice on a bridge that spun us around but, we got through that first obstacle and continued on. our first stop was Virginia so the girls could see their aunt who worked at an airport. She gave me a lecture how this wasn't a good idea, but everything within me knew it was. My girls needed to see normal. whatever normal was at the time. 

  We continued on our journey, before we left for our trip, we took the clothe off the top of the inside of the car because it was hanging down, so all the foam pieces were flying all over the place when the windows were down. Another thing to look back at and smile. We sang songs and played games together. I had packed food because we didn't have money to stop all the time to eat. We were on an adventure. We had gotten into Tennessee and my car started acting up, I had no idea what was happening but, all at once the car stopped. I pulled over the side of the road and saw water coming out of my muffler.

Cars were stopping and offering me cash for the title to take the car off my hands. Couldn't they see four children on the hill playing? I had no idea what anything was and what had happened to my car. I started getting a little worried as what was I going to do on the side of the road with a car that had just stopped and children hanging out on the side of the road with people speeding by us, I had no solutions and no ideas on what to do next, until a tow truck pulled over. I felt like they were an angel from God, He was a mechanic, I don't know why I trusted the couple with my children and myself, getting into their tow truck to be taken to their home as he would take my car to his shop. It was dark and we were cramped in their truck and on our way to a place I had no idea where we were going.  I said, I wanted my daughters to have an adventure, just didn't think this would be it.

I called the family that we would be visiting, they had a three-hour drive to us. We would need to stay at this home until our ride came to get us. The family ordered pizza for us. I remember the house being dark, but friendly. The atmosphere was real country, like I had walked into a real coal miners' daughter town. My daughters were excited because the home put on Toy Story for them. I guess it was a real treat for them because we didn't watch Disney movies in our house, or a lot of other movies. Our Tv was only one for school videos and movies. So, this wasn't me y house and they were so kind to take us in for a few hours until we were picked up by our guest that we were going to visit.

Finally, we were on our way to a refreshing visit, for my children and myself to breathe and just relax. I didn't have any doubt that God was going to work out the car situation. I knew he was my provider and would a river in the desert, I couldn't of predict the long road ahead. but right now, I wanted my daughters to feel normal and on vacation. We had a couple great days that turned into three weeks and spending Thanksgiving with my friends who were living on a prayer. They were struggling with money. They were praying for every meal that they put on the table. I felt so bad because I didn't realize we were going to be there for so long. I never thought that no one would come through in helping me get my car back, that I found out I blew the engine. I fasted a lot those three weeks, one because I wanted to hear from God and two because I didn't want to eat any of their food, Thanksgiving was fast approaching, and I wasn't getting answers for my car. We began praying for a Thanksgiving dinner would be provided. I watched the hand of God move on behalf of our Thanksgiving celebration, even though my heart was broken, and I was discouraged with life and had trouble breathing through the pain, God was faithful. He provided a small  chicken,pototoes,and a few other things including pumpkin pie. My children didn't know the struggles. They just knew that we were having thanksgiving with our friends. I learned a lot that year. I learned that God never answers in our timing. I learned that life may not look the way we hand planned but, that God is faithful in spite of ourselves. Things don't have to be grand for us to be thankful, His provision doesn't always come with our lists but, comes with just what we needed. That Thanksgiving was just what God had planned. I couldn't focus on the pain. I had to focus on his love.

We didn't leave with our car. It would take almost nine months for me to pay off the debt of a new engine Amber and I would take a bus back to Tennessee to pick up our car. The trip to Tennessee for Thanksgiving would come with hard memories and sweet ones all mixed up together. Would come with devastation. and yet miracles all in one. Sometimes they are just memories to chuckle at and ask myself, what in the world was I thinking? God had a sense of humor to get my mind off the pain and taught me nothing a vacation can't help. Even if the vacation finds you on the side of a road.



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When I start sifting through my memories of financial fiascos I try to find the humor there, also. Once when my husband hadn’t worked for two years, we were stretched to the end of our tight rope. We started arguing one day. He was a former well known disc jockey and personality and MC at big events; he worked for a country music station in Houston, Texas. There was a song he played called, “Now, It’s Up Against The Wall, Red Neck Mother.” Although he’d never hit me, that day he wasn’t feeling famous, and he was really angry. I yelled at him and he shoved me hard and I hit the wall. I started singing at the top of my lungs … you guessed it … it’s up against the wall red neck mother … We both fell on the floor laughing!

Jackie Strickland

Such beautiful memories. God took care of you and your children. Even if you didn’t think He did at the time. He just took his time. What an amazing journey. ❤️❤️


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