A Thanksgiving Message in the Mess
By Kylee Wray Mitchell
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
What a year it has been, especially for teachers. Our spring semester ended abruptly. Our fall semester began in uncertainty, and, if your year so far has been anything like mine, it’s been one curveball after another.
Students lagging behind. Pulling triple duty. Policies that change every single day.
And it’s not just work. Our personal lives, in which we hope to find refuge, can be thrown into chaos on top of everything else.
In the last two weeks alone, my family has gone through hurricane damage that left our yard in ruins and our home without power for seven straight days, as well as the loss of a beloved great aunt.
It would be so easy, at work or at home, to just simply be done—to curl up into a ball and quit. I could fill my days at work going through the motions and spend my evenings at home moping in the unfairness of it all.
But running away from struggle, pain, and discomfort comes at a cost—a cost we don’t see when we are in the thick of it praying to the Lord to take it all away.
It’s only after the valley, when we’ve reached the other side, that we can see what God has given us through our struggles.
I can tell you now that I will never again take for granted the flip of a light switch. Something so simple now brings me so much joy, so much gratitude.
That’s mercy. That’s God’s love. If we could only hear Him saying, “I could move this mountain, but you’ll have to trust me when I don’t. I will hold your hand while you cross it. There’s some things I need you to see.”
I believe there are things about teaching and about life that we never would truly appreciate without a season such as this. God could remove it all in an instant, but if He is choosing not to, there’s a reason, and I’m sure it’s a different lesson for us all.
In this season of thanksgiving, don’t miss the message in all of the mess. Open your heart to what God is teaching you. I promise that on the other side, there’s humility, grace, and gratitude.
It’s weird to say that I’m thankful for seven days without power or that I consider the hardest year of my teaching career to be a blessing, but that’s the perspective I think God is pushing me to take.
The depth of our gratitude can only extend as far as the depth of the struggle we’ve experienced. And I believe that’s the point. That’s God’s gift to us.
“For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 4:15).
My love to you all. ❤️
I am a high school English teacher in southern central Alabama. I am originally from a small town in north Alabama called Arab, but after meeting my husband in college, I never moved back. We have been married for 8 years and have 3 children—Luke, Caroline, and Lincoln. I have been teaching for 5 years now, and it is one of the greatest joys in my life.