Psalm 100 (KJV)

1. MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE unto the Lord, all ye lands. 2. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
I have never had a predictable Thanksgiving. As a Pastor’s daughter growing up, holidays were always anything but. Yes, my mother worked very hard to maintain a sense of the ideal American Thanksgiving; however, God was ultimately in control. There were numerous Thanksgivings when someone in a crisis would stop by our house and our father would slip outside to pray with them and try to bring hope and wisdom into broken situations. On occasion, we would leave our little home in the country of rural Michigan to head to Detroit to feed the homeless. Often, the local police would stop by as my father had a reputation for helping those who needed to find a place to stay.  He had a shelter down the street for men or would pay for a small motel room for families.
As I grew up and had a family of my own, I always wanted a “Picture Perfect” Thanksgiving. When I was thirty-one, I thought “This is the year!”  This would be the “Picture Perfect” Thanksgiving as both my sisters, their husbands and children along with my parents could all gather together. Being the chef of the family, I was in charge of the menu. It was a beautiful fall Michigan day, I had perfected all the traditional dishes, the turkey was on time and juicy. The dinning room table was decorated with fall colors and accents of gold set for a King. As I placed all the food on the table, my sisters rounded up the kids, their husbands, my parents and all were seated ready to eat. I went back into the kitchen to get my camera to capture the moment. As I returned, happy as could be, the men started complaining when I asked everyone to smile. My own father led the rebellion “Why do you need to take a picture – we’re starving!” he said. Quickly the kids, my oldest first, chimed in.  “She always has to take pictures, Papa!” My brother-in-laws agreed - “We don’t want a picture… let’s eat!” It took everything in me not to slide down the strategically set table and knock all the food on the floor. I quickly retreated to the kitchen where I threw MYSELF on the floor instead and began to cry. My mom and sisters came rushing to my side.   “Sweetie are you okay?  You worked so hard!” I blurted out, “You didn’t even help me!”  My mom said “You never asked.” Gulp! In that moment I realized I was my own worst enemy.  I had put unrealistic expectations on myself and my loved ones. I overheard my oldest sister in the dining room really laying into the family, “Would it have hurt you to just smile?”
When I humbly returned to the dining room, the men, still waiting to eat, did not know what just had happened and gently said “We are ready to take the picture now.”
You see, for me this moment was pinnacle.  At that time, I had been divorced for 4 years a single mom of 3 and thought if I made everything perfect than everything would be okay. It was a false reality. The harder I worked the more exhausted I became. While on the cold kitchen floor, I truly realized God did not love me more when things appeared “picture perfect.” He loved me just the same regardless of the circumstances. Seven years have passed by, and my approach has changed. At the start of November, I begin checking my heart and cultivating seeds of gratitude for what God has done. Keeping my eyes FIXED ON HIM and not my “Picture Perfect” expectations tends to soften my heart, relieves the pressure of performing and frees me up to enter into His gates with Thanksgiving in my heart. I also have everyone bring a dish to pass!

Grateful for each of you, 

Ana Martinez
Upcoming events: This Sunday November 4th, 2018

Foster Family DayCation

WHAT: A fun volunteer event to love & serve our local Foster Families. We will be providing an afternoon of adventure for the kids while we bless the parents with a much deserved break!

WHEN: Sunday, Nov 4 from 1:30-6:00 pm

WHERE: Student Center | Room 1

For more information please contact

This month our needs: A bike and mentors
  • We are in need of a bike for one of our foster youth. He is a responsible young man looking to take a 30 min bike commute to work- verses a 2 hour bus ride.
  • We are in need of a mentor for a young lady 18 years old in recovery. She is friendly, talkative and would like someone who can help encourage her, possibly drive her to and from our resource center, along with other church events. She feels she is ready for a mentor, were previously she was uncertain of what that could look like.
  • Thank you in advance for the needs you are meeting in our community!
  • For more info please contact Tracey:
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