Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thankful Journal

Today's Proverbs 31 email hit especially hard; perhaps it was the goings-on of yesterday that make today's post about thanksgiving strike my core. I'll get to the story in a bit, but first I want to explain what the "mission" stated in the Proverbs 31 email was:  

"Start a thankful journal where you daily list five things each day for which you are thankful. Do this for the next 30 days and see how much more peaceful your mindset about life becomes."

Okay, well I think I can handle this. And I truly believe that this is something that our Heavenly Father KNOWS that I need right now! So, I'm game :) And, I'm starting today!
First off, the reason I think this strikes such a chord today is because I had the pleasure (if that is the right word) of meeting my nephew and niece for the first time yesterday. The catch is that they had passed away before I even met my husband. Proverbs 31's email has two reflections listed:

What makes you grumpy and steals your propensity to be thankful?

Think of someone in your sphere of influence who is really thankful. Despite the circumstances they face, are they more peaceful? How does this inspire you? 

So when I was reading through them, I immediately thought of someone: my SIL Angie. Sure we have our issues, but she truly embodies the spirit of Thanksgiving that the Lord wants us to have.
Angie is mommy to beautiful Jason and sweet little Tana. Jason was born in 1997 and died when he was a few months old. He was born at 23 (?) weeks gestation because she had an incompetent cervix. No doubt the birth was a traumatic experience; no one expects their babe to come so early, but she pressed on anyway. She even got to take him home. Sadly when he was just months old, the Lord was calling him home. She was not a believer at that time, but she felt compelled to get on her knees and pray to God for one thing, and one thing only: that her parents would meet their first grandchild while he was still alive. Well, ask and ye shall receive; it wasn't long after my mother and father in law met Jason that he passed away. 
Five years later, Angie got pregnant again. Knowing her medical condition, precautions were taken (cerclage and bedrest) to keep her pregnant as long as possible. Lo and behold, testing showed that they were to be blessed with an extra special gift, a down syndrome baby. This was a complete miracle-there was no family history of any such disorder. Ever. Truly the Lord's work. Now I cannot speak for Angie's personal struggle, but I do know that Tana was very much loved and cherished by everyone in this family. Tana was born with heart problems, as down syndrome babies often are, and she passed away when she was only one month old. The only person in my family who met her was my mother-in-law, but that doesn't stop me from crying whenever I think of her or see a picture of that baby girl. To think of the impact that someone could have in only four short weeks of life...

Yesterday was the first time my husband had the strength to take me to the cemetery. After nearly 6 1/2 years of being together, I finally met my niece and nephew...what a glorious moment that was :) 

When the email suggested I reflect on someone who embodies thanksgiving, no one comes to mind like Angie. She has lost two beautiful children and experienced a number of other crises in her life, yet she never loses her love or her fire for the Lord. She is thankful for every single day that she has, and she is thankful for every day that the Lord blessed her with those babies. I get goosebumps thinking of the strength that this woman has-and no, I do not believe she has ANY idea how highly I regard her or how great I think she is. Her struggles and the strength and love that has resulted from them is something that the Lord has blessed her with. Now, as sad a story as this is, I should say that in January of 2008, she and her husband had a beautiful, healthy baby boy. Yes, once again, a little over 5 years after Tana! Here's to hoping that we don't have to wait another 5 years for another babe to join them!

Now...for my list of five things I'm thankful for:
1. The strong arms of a loving, understanding, and forgiving husband who works his butt off to support us!
2. Healthy, happy children whom I love with every ounce of my being!
3. Food in my refrigerator and a roof over my head!
4. The ability to go to school and get my degree!
5. The gift of salvation from the Lord God Almighty! AMEN!

Are there things that rob me of my thanksgiving? YES! The first one that comes to mind is *jealousy*! Gosh, who didn't see that one coming? When my eyes turn green, I completely lose sight of what I *do* have; what I have is junk compared to so-and-so down the street. It doesn't matter if I'm thinking of family life, material goods, or even faith...jealousy can strike in any area of our lives. But, the Lord calls us to be happy with what we have, to be content. Contentment is something that I really believe we all have to learn, but with prayer, positive thinking, and literally putting blinders on, we can have the gift of being content with what we have!

In memory of Jason Lane and Tana Leigh: "An Angel in the book of life wrote down my baby's birth. And whispered as she closed the book "too beautiful for earth."~Author Unknown

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