Thanksgiving Bumps and Bruises

I saw one of those sweet Publix Thanksgiving commercials the other day, and the family-shaped place in my heart ached. Watching their warm, endearing expressions toward each other, I wondered if everything was really this perfect in their world.

Or were some family members missing from the table?

Were any estranged from each other?

Had some gone to Heaven?

Did they have any problems?

Or were they a little more like our family?

With a few bumps and scrapes and bruises.

(If you can’t see the video of the commercial below, click here. It’s only a minute long.)

Watching this TV family, I longed for health and healing–in every way–for all of us in my family.

No barriers.

No illnesses.

Peace and joy.

I guess I wanted the impossible.

Heaven on Earth. 

The next morning I sat in my bedroom talking to God about life, and Clyde laid down beside me as always.

I spotted a handmade bookmark on my bedside table from a Daily Guideposts reader. I’d probably skimmed it a dozen times and had never noticed how the words were spaced on separate lines.

This time I read each phrase slowly.

Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know that I am.

Be still and know.

Be still.


Just be still like Clyde. Still and trusting. At peace.

One day, all the bumps and scrapes and bruises in our families will be healed.


Be still.

Be still and know.

“Be still and know that He is God,” Psalms 46:10.

I’ll be giving thanks tomorrow and praying for you and yours.





  1. Julie Gilleand says:

    Wow, leaf sister, how I loved the flying, floating leaves in that video! I think every Thanksgiving table has got to have someone missing — a dad who is no longer there to carve the turkey (like mine), a husband who has left to find a different life, a grandma whose love used to make everything so nice. Or a child who left for heaven much too soon, an unbearable grief. Or like the man who I spoke with at work yesterday who is getting ready for his first Thanksgiving and Christmas without the dear wife he shared so many years with because she died earlier this year. So many scars, bruises and fractures in families everywhere. My prayer, too, is for God to fill those places with healing and comfort and make way for a little joy to float into their soul, like that leaf in the video.

    Thanks for sharing this, Leaf Sister, and may your family have a blessed Thanksgiving 🙂

    Love to you and yours,

    Other Leafy Julie

    • Oh, Julie. What a beautiful comment. You know…..I think you’re exactly right.

      Such deep insight, my friend.

      Whispering a prayer….

  2. Patricia Martin says:

    I am so thankful for my family and Lily and Marmalade who are a big part of my family (the cutest part)!((: Cats always have a smart view on life–rest and trust that everyone will take care of you. Our family has had a lot of health problems this year and with two estranged uncles there has not been a time when everyone eats Thanksgiving together. However, even though they are not physically with us, they are still in our hearts! Hope you and your beautiful family have a great turkey day!(((((:
    Patricia oxox

    • Hey, Patricia!

      I still want to see pics of your kitties! You gotta send them to me sometime. I love your outlook–I can tell what a tender heart you have.

      Hope you have plenty of GF food to eat tomorrow. I just made my dressing (one regular and one GF) and pecan pies (regular and GF).

      Your friend in Georgia~~

  3. Beautiful Julie…xo

  4. Sandra Walker says:

    Oh, Julie!!! This is my verse! God has been reminding me almost daily for a very long time. I see this verse everywhere I turn. Yet I am still learning to DO it! He is so patient with me. We have so many scars, bruises and fractures, especially this year. BUT GOD! He is giving peace and joy and comfort! Even through the fluffy Hallmark movies we’ve watched so far! Laughter is a good medicine! Loved last week’s post. This one is right on!!! Still hoping for health and healing . . . . .

    • Hey, Sandra! So good to hear your voice. I’ve been praying for your daughter so often lately.

      Amen! Laughter is good medicine. And we’re still enjoying our “fluffy” Hallmark movies too. Love that word, by the way, to describe the movies. 🙂

      So much love to you and yours.

  5. So sweet, Julie. You know … I want to be just like that family … “with” all the bumps and bruises. Smiling and loving through all the pain. No grumbling, none disgruntled … through it all. That elderly lady … wonder what pains she is experiencing. You know she is. 🙂

    We can have joy through it all if we’ll just allow ourselves. Through Christ.

    • Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Shelli. Wow. I love what you said. Such depth, my friend.

      So true about the elderly lady.

      So much love, my friend.

      Yes. Through Christ. No Other Way.

  6. Eileen says:

    Again, Julie, you have written a post that touches my heart. It is as if, you can read my thoughts. Whenever those “perfect” family commercials come on, I wonder as you do. As our family is spread all over the country and we don’t get together for Thanksgiving and my Dad has been gone a few years now, I just hold dear to those memories I have when we were altogether. I thank the good Lord for those holidays and the years that He gave us to come together as a family and celebrate. xxoo

    • Eileen, your sweet words….

      My heart is full.

      I imagine His big wide arms stretched across the country holding your family.

      Thank you.

  7. donna says:

    This is my favorite verse.

    As an aside to this time and place of comfort, may I mention a favorite book of mine called “Stopping” by David Kuntz? Just wanted to note here if anyone interested. Thanksgiving is a tremendous time to stop and listen and know. Thanks, Julie, for adding this very real picture of family hope and love. Beautiful heart. Have a lovely day, all! xo

    • I know, Donna. That verse. I love it too, and to really take in the meaning, you have to read it slowly, word by word, and then phrase by phrase. I’ve somehow been missing the point of it!

      No, I haven’t heard of “Stopping” but I’m jotting it down. Will look for it.

      Thank you so much!

  8. donna says:

    This is my favorite verse.

    As an aside to this time and place of comfort, may I mention a favorite book of mine called “Stopping” by David Kuntz? Just wanted to note here if anyone interested. Thanksgiving is a tremendous time to stop and listen and know. Thanks, Julie, for adding this very real picture of family hope and love. Beautiful heart. Have a lovely day, all! xo

  9. Anna Haney says:

    Oh, how I needed this today. Michelle’s father in law died this morning. My heart aches for her. Her mother in law died earlier this year, so her husband is facing the biggest holidays of the year without either parent. When I was a little girl, I dreamed that once I was married, holidays would be magical, like something from the Waltons. That has not been the case. Trying to match schedules and include both sides of the family can get very stressful. But I need to BE STILL AND KNOW THAT HE IS GOD. Need to remember what the day is about. Thank you, dear friend! Happy Thanksgiving

    • Hey, Anna. I’m so sorry to hear about this death…of course, especially today, so close to Thanksgiving.

      Shaking my head along with you. No, holidays aren’t quite like the Waltons.

      I love what Shelli said above that she wants to be a family with bruises and scrapes. What a wonderful outlook. And maybe it wouldn’t be too much fun to hang out with TV commercial people.

      Again, I’m so proud of you for posting your blog!!!

  10. That’s my go-to verse when I don’t get an immediate answer. It calms me and puts thing into perspective. The one thing I’m truly thankful for is how God wired me to be positive and look on the bright side of things. It’s not something I learned, it’s just who I am. And that’s because my Maker made me that way. So when we moved to Georgia and no longer had extended family to celebrate holidays with, we made a new tradition of celebrating with a family who also has no extended family near. That’s our new normal. 🙂

    Praying all your desires with you, Julie! Hugs, my dear friend. Happy Thanksgiving!
    All typos are the fault of my muse.

    • Love it, love it, love it Ane–your new tradition. And I bet you’ll have a total blast! You gotta post pictures!

      Hoping your thumb doesn’t hurt too much. Maybe it’ll get you out of doing the dishes tomorrow. 🙂


  11. MaryAnn says:

    Aww Julie, bless your heart and all ours! Many of my family members are medically oriented. So someone is usually on call, back up or called in. I pick and choose the holidays…Mothers Day may be in November when we are all together or Christmas may be the end of January when all the schedules collide delightfully! When we can all get together on THE DAY, well that is just icing on the cake of already wonderful memories. I am grateful for my immediate family coming tomorrow, but missing my extended bunch. Won’t it be wonderful in Heaven when we can sit at the table together! Today I am thankful for your beautiful writing. God bless you today and tomorrow!

    • MaryAnn, what a refreshing outlook–Mother’s Day may be in November! Beautiful. Just beautiful.

      Amen. We can all sit at the table together in Heaven. Never thought of it that way. That’s why I LOVE my blog readers. You all have the best input!!!

      So much love to you.

  12. I’ll be giving thanks tomorrow too…thanks for a fabulous friend like you who brings out the best in me.
    Warm hugs!

  13. marci says:

    Oh, Julie, How I needed this post today. The words on the bookmark was what I needed too. Bless the one that sent it to you and bless you for sharing it with us. That is a verse that ‘rides’ in my head sometimes. Seeing it written like this– I had to copy that down, ,, then I looked down and saw where I was writing it— on my To Do List for today! A reminder of how importand those words are. I find myself with so much to do in such a short time, and the overwhelmed feeling trying to creep in. All my plans to do things over this past week, were not to be. My Dad was in the hospital for a few days, and there were many calls back and forth. He has been sent home to live out what ever time he has left, which seems very short now. My brother was able to see him, but will spend Thanksgiving going home, a long trip north through a lot of snow. Last week-end, our 3 yr old Catahoula dog, Star, got very sick, and we called our daughter, who rushed here Sunday to try to save Star. She took her back with her to the clinic and worked on her, but sadly, Monday morning Star died. That has been very hard this week for me, on top of my Dad’s health.. and while on the phone with my daughter Saturday night, word came that one of her very best friends, about 42 yrs old, had a stoke and was in the hospital unable to move anything but his head. .. There has not been a lot of time to make preparations for the Thanksgiving meal. I am tired already. Last night I read of the prophet who sat under the broom tree, so tired and ready to give up. God gave him a restful sleep. Angels fed him, and God whispered to him, then he continued. This morning I tried to find that reading again, and I couldn’t, yet the words stay with me. As I prayed last night I seemed to hear the whisper of God for today, Just do one thing at a time, then you can do one more, and,,,
    I knew even as busy as things are, one thing I needed to do along with having some quiet devotional time, was see your post, and I prayed for God to also speak to me through it. He answered that prayer. And as much as I want things to be nice for my daughter , and us for Thanksgiving, I know this is home for her, and things don’t have to be perfect, just us being together. She is also bringing Star home, so we can bury Star here, so we will be having Star’s funeral as soon as Miranda gets here. Yes, the heading for your blog, The bumps and bruises.. Prayers that you and yours have a wonderful blessed Thanksgiving together. And now I step out on faith that all will come together, as I take one step at a time on this day.
    God Bless you, dear Julie.

    • Oh, Marci.

      My eyes are filling up as I’m reading your post………

      I’m praying that tonight–the night before Thanksgiving, God will give you complete and total rest. I pray tomorrow you wake refreshed and renewed. I’m so sorry this has been “one of those” weeks.

      I’m praying for your daughter’s friend, and your dad, and your family who’s grieving Star.

      Just so grateful that the Lord stirred my heart to write about bumps and bruises this week.

      Praying He holds you and yours in a blanket of peace over the next few days.

  14. Shelley Elaine says:

    Julie, your posts often bring tears to my eyes: tears of Joy/tears of understanding- but today’s post caused me to weep…you spoke the cry of my heart to God this week, as Thanksgiving Day arrives. Thank you , Julie, for saying it so well…wishing you and your family a VERY Happy Thanksgiving too! Please give Clyde a pat for me for his sweet example 😉

  15. Shelley,

    How can God be big enough to connect hearts across the Internet?

    Your words fill me with such deep gratitude today. And Praise. And Thanksgiving.

    Thank you.

    I’m thanking Him right now.

  16. K. Richardson says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! I once again enjoyed your blog…how true. The holidays are not a happy time for me. I’m trying to make the best of it, but, it seems to get harder every year! Hope you and yours will enjoy the day thoroughly tomorrow.

    • I’m sorry….I hope there was a little bit of peace yesterday. XOXOXO Thanks for your honesty. Saying a prayer right now.

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