Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thankful


"Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection, aid, and favors …
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day
of November next, to be devoted by the people of the United States to the
service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of
all the good that was, and is, or that will be; and that we may all then
unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind
care and protection of the people of this country, and for all the great and
various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.”

-George Washington 1789


He has conferred such favor upon me this year.

He has every year. Even the years that were dark and blurry and confusing.
There were moments, even stretches of months like that this year. Days when I found myself only putting one foot in front of another, and not knowing which direction He was leading me. Days when I doubted myself and His calling.
But never more than a few moments of doubting His grace, His love, His compassion, and His desire to bestow only good on His children. Even when that Good looked so unbelievably foreign and wrong to these world blinded eyes.

There will be more days like this in the coming years.
But what I am most thankful for this year is that with each thanksgiving that passes (faster and faster as the years go by), the fear lessens. As each year, God proves Himself again and again, though He never needed to.
Each year of marriage I grow to know my husband more. I learn new things about him, I see how he struggles and eventually triumphs under pressure, I see how his heart stays broken through it all. I trust him more, I know his heart more fully. 6.5 years of marriage and so many more to look forward to, God willing.
Just as I know my husband more each year, I see new sides, and new depths of the Father more each year as well. I see how He delivers when I least expect it. I see how He softens when I most expect Him to turn away. I see how my weaknesses and failures, rather than causing me to be loved less, help me to accept more of His love and in turn love Him more.


Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Luke 7:47


I am so thankful this year for the big crazy family from whence I came, and that my children, though they will never have quite so many brothers and sisters, still get to experience the continuing joys and benefits of being part of such a large family.
I am thankful because when you have so many brothers and sisters, it is the perfect environment to learn from a very young age how different people who may even seem very alike are. And that our differences are something to be celebrated, admired, and respected, and not something threatening.
I'm so thankful for the open and honest and safe environment in which I grew up in. Thankful that I learned there how useless it is to pretend perfection.

I'm so thankful for the friendship of all my big sisters and brothers, and of course the amazing experience of having a twin sister.
For their presence in my darkest and loneliest of soul searching days, when I always knew that if I sought them out I'd find them, and that they'd remind me who I was when I couldn't remember.
Thankful for parents who loved each other then, and love each other now, and were always there when I needed them.Thankful for deep childhood loss and young adulthood crisis, because every one of those experiences, though I couldn't see it then, were a part of the rocky road that leads to peace and faith.

For songs that bring me back in an instant to those moments. For allowing myself to go back, just for a moment, and feel that pain again. Only that I can, in that same instant, feel the lifting. The hope rising. The light that I couldn't see, but was always there.
A reminder for the future, and the many more uncertain and painful times that will come, but only to pass.

I am thankful this thanksgiving for JT's job. For a nice steady paycheck. For the insurance that allows me to continue working part time. For his opportunity there to do the things he loves to do, despite the constant headaches that all jobs bring. Thankful for his co-workers, who so often make the extra effort to bless our family- with sea world tickets, tickets to the fair, or already potted seedlings to start a garden.

I am thankful that firefighting hasn't worked out. Because I'm not sure that was ever his dream anyway. Because I'm not sure we're the type of family that's meant to be apart for 48 hours at a time. And because I know that, because it hasn't worked out, God has a much greater plan elsewhere.

I'm thankful for the mornings when JT comes home smelling like chlorine from swim practice, and the nights when he comes home smelling like the ocean. Because there's something about both of those smells that brings me back to our dating days, when I was just beginning to see the things that God had been planning for me that I knew I didn't deserve, and didn't know if I would ever receive. But there he was. Smelling like chlorine, and the ocean, and all of my dreams coming true.
I'm glad that, for now, he still smells like that.

I'm thankful for my jobs. For the one I do 24 hours a week, and the one I only do occasionally. For the fact that they can help me feed my children good and healthy food, and help make a life for them, and yet still be so intensely satisfying, and compatible with the things that God has called me to.
He's orchestrated this so finely that sometimes I almost walk by, but I have to stop and thank Him for it today.
For co-workers and a boss who ask me about my kids, and my husband, and get excited about our baby on the way, because they know that these are the things that truly make me happy, and yet also treat me with incredible respect professionally.
For the opportunity to be a part of others' lives outside of my family which I often wish to so intensely wrap a bubble around. To love children who, while not my own, are just as dearly loved and treasured by God as they are, and do not have the many forms of support that mine do.

I 'm so thankful for grandparents that embrace their role in the lives of my children, and add a dimension to their lives that will forever be a part of who they grow up to be.
For the opportunity of the holidays to all be together for a time, to celebrate each other, and the many ways that God is working in all of our lives.


I'm thankful for how amazing the transition to elementary school has been for Aquaman, despite the fact that the past couple of weeks he has had to be picked up and set in the classroom when it was time to go.
I was beyond amazed when he told me at the zoo this weekend that "we can't go in that door, it says 'no entry'", and I'm thankful that when he has a spare moment he takes out his markers to write, because something has finally clicked in his brain.
And that the thing he writes 9 times out of 10, is "Jesus loves you."
Thankful that he told me: "Mom, they told us at school we're supposed to give thanks, and they listed all these people we're supposed to thank, but they never once said God. Isn't that silly? He's the one who gives us all of it."
I love that little boy.
I'm thankful that even though it drives me crazy, when I ask him how his day was at school, his answer is always 'BLEH'", all loud and rude and in my face, and then he runs away to play.
But that if I get down next to him and play pretend with monster trucks, all of the sudden, all these juicy little details that mothers love come pouring out of his heart and his mouth, and I get to devour them.
Boys are weird, really weird. And I'm thankful for that.
And thankful that no matter how many times I fail him in this life, God will be behind me to scoop him up, and love him, and God will never fail him.
I'm thankful for the way the Dude is growing up into this fierce testosterone driven, man on a mission, giver of choke-inducing hugs.
Thankful for the nights, especially late night work nights, when I breathe a sigh of relief that he has finally fallen asleep, and in the next instant look forward to hearing his voice again in the morning: "mom, can we go downstairs now?"
How he drinks his tea English style with only a little tea and mostly half n half and watches "Art and Music" on netflix with his nose in the air. Thankful for nights like last night, when a cold or allergy wakes him snuffling, and he clings to me. And since my hormones are all wacky, I can never go back to sleep, so I just lay there listening to him snoring, and while I feel the warmth of his arms around me, I also feel the noctural little creature that is apparently now only the size of a bell pepper but feels a lot bigger than that when it's wiggling, thumping me from the inside out. And how I smile really really big, because this is life.
This is crazy exhausting busy and satisfying life, and I get to live it.

I am thankful for all the big things, and all the big moments we've had lately, and the excitement of our upcoming ultrasound.
But mostly, I'm thankful for all those little moments that add up like a thousand pictures in a collage of color, because I think they're really the stepping stones of all that we will become.
For eating together at night, and how The Dude goes around and asks: "so, so, so....Daddy....so how was your day? Yeah, mine was pretty good."
For late night runs to the beach, and chasing a glow stick together in the sand, and Aquaman letting The Dude win once in a while, and The Dude mostly not caring if he wins anyway.
For hot chocolate and fires.
And dressing the boys up in last year's too small Tigger costumes when it's not Halloween, decorating the wagon like a sled, and walking as a family to the 7-11 for Slurpees while the wind howls around us.
I'm thankful this year for all these things, and for so much more.
Thankful that if tomorrow morning I woke up, and all of it was gone, I could say "I didn't deserve it anyway. Thank you for the time I had."

I'm thankful that it all pales in comparison to what is to come.

What a bountiful harvest we have this year.
And how fresh and real it feels in the light of the 2nd trimester and the cooling air of fall.


"Fields are full of combines, threshing ripened grain
Trucks are hauling bounty, to the bin and to the train.
Barley, wheat, canola, and all the crops of worth
Harvesting a miracle, bread and oil from dirt. "
- Louie Vetter
What a miracle it all is. That out of the dirt of our flesh and failures and nothingness, such worth is born.
Thank you God.




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