My Greatest Gratitude this Thanksgiving

“The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.” – Billy Graham

In just a few days you’ll be gathering with those you love and if your family is anything like mine, you’ll be eating WAY too much and enjoying a special time together.

I know, like many others, this time of year conjures up so many memories, sweet and poignant. There will be some missing at the table, but we’ll still see their faces in our mind’s eye as they are with us in spirit.

In my memories, I see my grandparents coming in the door of my house with a big cornucopia filled with nuts and dates and figs—their contribution to the Thanksgiving dinner. I think it helps the longing for times past to allow ourselves a moment to honor these memories.

So, I thought I’d share a few things I learned from my grandmother. In addition to Thanksgiving, it was also her birthday this week. She would have been 98! She’s been gone from earth for several years now, but she’s not far from me at any given time.

On her birthday, I walked over to my fridge to glance at my favorite picture of the two of us, but saw another picture—a bigger picture, one of legacy.

Months ago and quite randomly, after one of our craft sessions (we have lots of those) my granddaughter, Ezra and I proudly displayed our work of art on my fridge. In the busy-ness of our messy fun afternoon I hadn’t even noticed how the random placement would paint another picture…

But on the day when it would have been my grandmother’s 98th birthday, I glanced at this picture of my grandma and me, then my eyes drifted to another picture on the fridge, the art I created with Ezra. I smiled at the living legacy of her love and faith.

I was her first granddaughter. How beautiful to be able to continue this special bond with my first granddaughter!

One of the ways I knew she loved me was that she saw me.

We all want to be seen don’t we? I mean really seen. Not just for the stuff on the outside but for who we really are.

I remember once during a family holiday dinner at my house amidst all the chaos she came into the kitchen and said, “You make it look so easy, and I know it’s not easy.”

While others were laughing, talking, and eating, enjoying themselves just as I had hoped they would when I planned the menu and set the table, she saw me.

I remember getting phone calls from her every so often and she would say in the sweetest loving tone, “How’re doin’ darlin’? You take care of everyone else, but make sure you’re taking care of you, ok?”—she saw me.

Knowing I was watched for by her gave me a security that’s served me throughout the years. I want to watch for those in my care that way too. Legacy doesn’t have to be material things and you don’t have to have accomplished BIG things by the world’s standards to leave a beautiful, lasting and impactful legacy.

More important than money or material things, what she and my grandfather left for us was the faith they passed on. I can still hear the resonance of her organ as she played her favorite hymns. Though she wouldn’t be considered to be a faith thought-leader by this world’s celebrity-crazed standard, she certainly led me.

She never wrote a book but she imprinted faith on my heart.

Some of the hymns I learned sitting next to her on her organ bench, I carry with me today and they continue to bring hope and comfort when I need them. She typed out the words to one of her favorites and it still hangs inside the cupboard of our cottage in Maine.

I don’t worry o’er the future,
For I know what Jesus said.
And today I’ll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.

Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.

My wish for you this Thanksgiving is for you to know you are seen and you are loved and the one who holds tomorrow holds your hand too.

We would love to hear about someone you love and the memories you hold close to your heart in the comments below. Sometimes it helps to type it out! Let’s begin this week sharing gratitude for the special people in our lives.

Grace and peace to you and yours!

Beyond Grateful,

Tracey Metzger

Tracey Metzger is the co-founder and President of For the Girls International, Inc. Her passion is to see women awakened to their unique purpose and empowered to use their unique gifts to share the hope and love of God with a hurting world. As a speaker and writer, Tracey’s refreshingly honest, down-to-earth approach encourages and inspires her audiences to live and move in the fullness of who God created them to be. Through various avenues, Tracey spends her days connecting with women of all ages and walks of life and inviting them into a sisterhood of love, support, and encouragement. She loves meeting women and hearing their stories. Whether you’re attending an FTGI event, reading her blog, or sitting across the table from her at Starbucks, you will find yourself utterly engaged in what Tracey has to say. You will also feel loved and understood. Her willingness to share her personal experiences and thoughts allows for any woman of any background to receive a message that is relatable, relevant, and motivational. Tracey and her husband of 32 years, Dan, have lived in Tampa Bay since 1993. They are blessed with two grown sons, a teenage daughter, and lovely daughter-in-law and a sweet granddaughter.

  • Laura Lobo
    Posted at 09:09h, 18 November Reply

    Tracy, thank you for this simple and strong reminder. I feel a huge connection with the women of my family, both past and present, and although I don’t have daughters or sons, I desire to pass the love and kindness along by the way I show that I “see” today’s young people around me. I know what you mean about how people want to be recognized in their everyday places – all ages of “young people” need this, because there is a child within every one of us.
    Thank you for your meaningful and heartfelt writing. Please continue. It’s very good!
    Be blessed! ~ Laura

    • FTGI
      Posted at 11:17h, 18 November Reply


      It is hugely important for our young people to be “seen.” That is a big part of why our SHINE program for Teen Girls exists. They need to know that someone sees beyond their outward appearance. Keep spreading the love!!

      All the best,

  • Joy Melton
    Posted at 11:19h, 18 November Reply

    My Grammy had such a generous heart. She was not open about her faith, and we did not talk about Jesus the way that I now do with my own daughter, but her faith was implied in all that she did to help others. She would pick up young hitchhikers, give them a bit of a lecture, and drive them home (OK, I don’t recommend that today, but 40 years ago you could do it without fear for your life); she would give a child a bike who didn’t have one, and even bring food to an older man who was homebound. She was always being recognized by her community, and she even won “Senior Citizen of the Year” when I was an adult. And yet she remained humble and kind. She always said kind things to us and to everyone, never a harsh word came out of her mouth (well, except to the hitchhikers, lol). THESE are the things I remember about my Grammy, with great fondness. The way my Pop-Pop spoke to her helped me see the way I want to be treated as a wife. He was always asking her “are you happy, Grammy?” “Are you hot, are you cold, do you need a drink?” He served her in such a special way! She was just as gracious back to him. What wonderful models they were! I am so grateful they were in my life for as long as they were; Pop-Pop passed away when I was 28, and Grammy when I was 32.

    They make me think of the legacy I want to leave my daughter with, and the most important to me is a generous, kind heart. May God bless you and yours this Thanksgiving!!!

    • FTGI
      Posted at 12:47h, 18 November Reply

      This is so beautiful! My grandfather was Pop-Pop to us too 🙂

      It sounds like your grandparents LIVED faith out loud by their actions. That can be more powerful than words. My grandfather was the same way. He often talked about how he didn’t like to talk about “religion” but he sure lived out his faith in many ways. God bless you too! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Thank you for sharing!!


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