Saturday, December 28, 2013

Not quite narrowing it down. {A post about gratitude}

I have thought of this for days, this challenge to write about something for which I am thankful.
It was given to me by a woman named Heather who is an 8 year survivor of Mesothelioma...a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
I'll admit when I heard the word "Mesothelioma" I immediately had visions of lawyer commercials on TV. We've all seen them.  But until I read Heather's story I had never "known" anyone with this disease.
But what a story she has to tell.
It is a story of courage, of determination, of the will to live and see her newborn daughter grow up.
It is a story of hope.

You may remember my precious friend, Arthanise, who went home to Heaven not quite three years ago after battling breast cancer.  Because of her, my heart is more sensitive to cancer.  My stomach lurches at the thought of a child growing up without their mama.  My chest tightens when I imagine a new mother fighting for more time, fighting for health so she can raise her babies.  And my lips turn up in a smile as I remember Arthanise's glow on her very tired face as she realized her Savior was so very near and, though she desperately wanted to watch her kids grow up, she could feel Him so close.
So very close.
And she trusted Him with her future and the future of her children, whether it was hours, days, weeks, or months He would give her before gently taking her home.

Yes, I have much for which to be thankful.  So much that it is extremely difficult to narrow it down to just one.
There are the obvious, friends, health, home, God.  But I wanted to do this right.  To honor Heather's request with time spent in thought and prayer over this post.

So I narrowed it down by not really narrowing it down at all.

You see, I chose Grace.  God's great big all-encompassing free-to- anyone-who-is-willing-to-receive-it Grace.

I am thankful for Grace.

Grace that hung on a cross and bore my shame, despite the fact that I would fail again and again before accepting the Gift of Jesus.
Grace that saved this sinful woman and completely changed the course of my life.
Grace that made the cute guy at the BBQ joint notice me, despite the awful waitress' uniform.  Grace that saw us in a rose garden on Christmas Eve, him on one knee with a red rose held as an offering of forever.
Grace that walked me down the aisle in white, surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, unworthy yet made ready by the work of the Lord for this journey of marriage and family that has now lasted eighteen beautiful years.
Grace that rendered me infertile, forcing me to seek God's plan for our family and making me oddly grateful for an unused womb.
Grace that placed five children in my arms.  Grace that preserved their lives and health until we could get there.  Grace that carried our birthmothers through the unthinkable and gave them the strength to love beyond themselves.
Grace that sees me though each day, giving me wisdom in homeschooling and showing me when to slow down and just enjoy these kids.  Grace that allows my husband to pick up dinner on the way home when we have had "one of those days."
Grace that opens wide the Word of God with insight from Him, often allowing me to share what I learn with you.  Grace that allows me to pray, even when I have neglected to do so.
Grace that I can laugh when looking back on the hard times because God. Is. Faithful

He is always faithful.

Heather, I hope many people read your story and are encouraged as I was!  Thank you for including me in this opportunity to give thanks.    I pray God blesses you with a lifetime of health and love with your precious family!

And if you have read this, would you be so kind as to share it?  Let's finish December strong with a wave of gratitude across the blogosphere!

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