Today, our pastor preached a Thanksgiving message, a message of giving thanks to God in everything. I just wanted to take a few minutes to pour out what's been on my heart and mind for a while now. You see, this year has been what some would describe as a rough year for us. But in everything that has happened, I can honestly see God's work. I sat and listened this morning to the words coming from Bro. Chuck, and I wanted to scream out loud how thankful I am for the fact that I am breathing and that I see today and that I have a wonderful husband and 3 beautiful miraculously-created children...that God allowed His mercy to shine down upon me even when I don't deserve one bit of it.
I became a Christian at a very young age. And eventhough my choices in life have not always been ones that would make my heavenly Father proud, I am thankful that he still chooses to love me and forgive me. I think He's been working on me this year through all of the hardships and fears I have encountered...Almost as if He's saying directly to me, "Come to Me, I am the only One you need." I did not refuse His calling to me this past Feb. when I went down at the end of the service and rededicated my life to Him. And little did I know that Feb. morning, that I would be running to Him this year. (See, He already knew what I did not know.) I believe He finds a way to work on our faith, and He used my daughter's medical diagnosis in late January of this year to start working on me. After hearing everything the doctors said about her brain malformation, I was terrified beyond belief. Here was this child who had never had a seizure or any reason to suspect something like a brain malformation and these things the doctors were telling me were just overwhelming. I allowed Satan to fill me with anxiety and take over my every thought and even thoughts of things which hadn't occurred. I think Satan knew my weakness, and he came at me with his very best ammunition...the thought of something happening to my child. None of us wants anything bad to happen to our children, it's terrible to even think about. We do so much to shelter and protect them and make sure they have the best of everything. So you see, I had a huge problem with the fact that I couldn't fix this malformation she has and that I, as her mother, couldn't control the future. (No one else has that problem, right? :-)) Thanks to my own mother and grandmother for stepping in and helping me to fight Satan. I cried, I prayed, I even said outloud, "Get behind me Satan!" when I felt those thoughts and fears entering my mind. I finally found peace in reading scripture in Beth Moore's Praying God's Word, book given to me by my mom. I know this might sound crazy to some, but one night as I was reading a section of the book, I felt as though God said to me, "Nothing bad is going to happen to Mary Claire and you will use this to share with others about Me." I will never lose that thought or feeling. I immediately shared it with my husband. I then turned my thoughts to giving thanks for Mary Claire and the way he formed her brain. I felt bad and disappointed in myself when I thought about how I had allowed Satan in. God made this child this way for a reason. How could I pray for miraculous healing? The truth, I believe, is that he has already healed her and miraculously created her.
(I am so very thankful for the good report she got last week when we went for her 6 month check up with her neurologist. I am doing everything within my control and knowledge to do. I give thanks to God for everyday with Mary Claire and that she has not had a seizure or suffered any developmental or physical delay from the brain malformation.)
In February, my attitude changed, and my heart changed, too. And everyday, I turn to God. I highly recommend Fear Not Tomorrow, God is Already There by Ruth Graham as a daily devotional book. This book has helped me tremendously as I will read it first thing in the morning or as I get ready to go to bed at night.
In March, my grandfather passed away. I miss him...(Boy, was he crazy about Mary Claire!) and the life he and my grandmother had in Jackson. Right before his death, my grandmother was diagnosed with the early stages of dementia and had to be moved to an assisted living facility. So much changed so quickly. Now the only house I had ever known them in on Lesa Drive is empty with a for sale sign in the front yard. My grandmother likes the new place she lives, and we are thankful that she is just across the hall from my grandfather's sister and her husband. It's a nice place with lots of activities to keep her busy. She has had some minor health issues, but for the most part, is doing well. We just celebrated her birthday a few weeks ago. Here's a picture of Mary Claire helping her blow out her candles. :-)
This past summer almost seems a blur as we dealt with the sudden death of my mother-in-law, Ms. Sue. I cannot put into words how much we miss her right now. Today is her birthday. She would have turned 61 today. We took the children to the grave this afternoon and placed some roses there. I did not go to sing in the Community Thanksgiving Service tonight at church because I felt like Jan needed me to be there at home with him and the children. I am thankful for Ms. Sue's life and that she gave life to my husband. I am thankful that our relationship was good before God took her. We didn't always see things the same way, but we both loved Jan and John Owen, Jonah, and Mary Claire more than anything. That's where we found common ground. I wanted to call her last week when I left the neurologist to tell her what Mary Claire's doctor had said. (I always called her after one of their dr. visits, if she didn't call me first!) And eventhough I miss her, I am thankful that God's got another angel to help watch over these children from heaven. That's one of the thoughts that gets me through this.
Even when it seems impossible to do, give thanks! For everyday He allows me life, I give thanks! For His mercy and love, I give thanks!
Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God. He made us and we are His-
His people, the sheep of His pasture. (taken from Psalm 100)
In everything give thanks.