There seem to be two camps in regard to the Thanksgiving holiday: there are those who actually enjoy being with their family and gorging with that turkey dinner, and those who'd rather not. There are many reasons some people would just rather avoid the Thanksgiving holiday, ranging from grief to a severely dysfunctional family to loneliness and more. Thanksgiving can bring up memories of loved ones who have passed away, as this holiday apparently does for T.D. Jakes and his family.
The loss of their mother is difficult, but the memory of her courage lives on. Her determination to carry on with her life and continue to raise their family as a single mom after her husband passed away many decades prior to her own death is a blazing torch of victory. Her focus was on encouraging the family to "stick together" in both life and upon her death. T.D. Jakes beautifully sums up her legacy as one of "unbridled love, hard work, and true grit."
Rather than to focus on the pain of losing her, the family chooses to remember with thankfulness the powerful life lessons that she taught them about unconditional love, and who each of them has been able to grow to become because of her influence in each of their lives. They are all thankful about how these powerful life lessons have been something that they can pass along from generation to generation.
T.D. Jakes acknowledges that not everyone gets to have such a blessing. However, that doesn't mean that those types of blessings can't be obtained in some other ways and passed on. The secret to overcoming the deficit of these things is to ask the Lord to put people in your life who are willing to extend them to you, and also ask Him to help you to learn how to receive it with the intent of growing into a person who He can use to pour into others. Where a person came from does not have to determine who that person will be in the future.
T.D. Jakes admits that the "love of family does not always cloak us from hurt, disappointment, pain, guilt or grief." They might be able to help cushion the blow of these things when they happen, but ultimately, it's a relationship with Jesus that gives a person the power to overcome the painful things of life. There is a great deal of satisfaction and comfort in knowing that we serve an all-powerful God who is able to take the ugliness of life and use it for our good and His glory. There is also a great deal of thankfulness to be found in experiencing the amazing and miraculous truth that He will take the ashes of life and somehow bring beauty out of them. The end result is about where a person chooses to focus: on the ashes or on the potential for the anticipated beauty and purpose-filled future.