Editor's note: This is the 21st year of Nancy Kennedy's annual Thanksgiving psalm. She is still thankful.
Another year, another Thanksgiving psalm that starts off with "hopeful lament."
Lament, because this has been another difficult year; hopeful, because you have instilled hope in me that I cannot extinguish.
I can't NOT hope.
You, Lord, have been and are light in my darkness, sweetness when life is bitter.
Even though my heart has been heavy, you have given me much to be thankful for.
Thank you, Lord, for your constant presence, for your comfort, for your strength.
Thank you, Lord, for your very words that sustain me: "Nothing is impossible with God" (Luke 1:37) and "I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion…" (Philippians 1:6).
I am sure that you hear my cries and listen to my prayers. I am confident that you care about the things I care about and that you fight my battles for me, even when I am asleep.
Thank you, Lord, for sleep!
Thank you for nightly "family time" on the back porch with our newly adopted cat, Teko.
Thank you, Lord, for Teko. You knew we needed him.
Thank you for pork belly bao buns and chicken enchiladas, for raspberry lime sparkling water and fried eggs sunny side up.
Thank you for my job and the people I work with.
Thank you for my church and the people who surround me and love me, who continue to pray even when I've said I'd given up.
Thank you, too, for my tribe of strangers you've brought together, bound by a common sorrow. It's a gift to sit with people who know how you feel and no words are necessary.
Thank you for my great-nieces Leah, Emma and Lily: for Leah's faith and love for Jesus, for Emma's ability to know all the words to a song and Lily -- I never tire of watching her eat.
Lord, this past year has been both awful and "awe-full."
Awful because, like many families, ours is dealing with drug addiction and all the pain and heartache that brings.
"Awe-full" because through the heartache, you, Lord, have given us glimpses of glory, of prayers being answered, or at least the beginnings of answers.
You have given me hope, always hope. Even when I've said all is hopeless, that hope is for chumps, you've peeled back the curtain of heaven just a tiny bit to reveal that you are still on the throne.
That you are still God, and you are still good.
That there is power, all power, in your name.
Thank you, Lord, for the powerful name of Jesus, the name that moves mountains, breaks chains of bondage, the name that sets people free.
Lord, once again I've begun this psalm with lament, but am ending it with praise.
You are the lifter of my head, the one who fills my life with good things, the one who gives me everything I need, including this difficult year.
As I look back on it, I can see that I'm stronger because of it, and in many ways, actually better for it.
So, thank you, Lord. In all things, thank you! Amen.
Nancy Kennedy is the author of "Move Over, Victoria -- I Know the Real Secret," "Girl on a Swing" and "Lipstick Grace." She can be reached at 352-564-2927 or via email at email@example.com.