Monday, November 19, 2012

Forever Changed

November is a month where people often reflect on all that they are thankful for.  They make lists and share things, they may write notes and tell others.  However, as I continue to walk through this journey, I find that being thankful is just part of me.  There are people and strangers that have done things that I could not even have asked for.  Things that they just see need to be done and they do.  A lot of our doctors and nurses have gone above and beyond to help us out.  A lot of these folks I may see once or not at all.  It is important that I embrace each moment and give thanks.

We understand that we cannot walk this journey alone.  We understand that we count on many people to do things.  Grandmas and Grandpas to watch our kids, aunts and uncles to take the kids for a weekend, neighbors to get a child off the bus, friends to watch the kids while we are at a doctor appointment, people providing meals or gift cards.  These are all gestures that we have experienced that we cannot say thank you enough for.

Then there are lactation nurses who make sure you have everything you need to succeed in providing breast milk for you child.  We had a surgeon who has gone above and beyond to help Lydia out.  We have had nurses just send notes to let us know they are still thinking about us.  We have care takers asking us to stop by because they want to say hi.  We have therapists going far beyond their job duties to make sure that Lydia receives the very best care possible.

How do you say thanks to all of that?  It is something that changes you in such a way that it becomes your lifestyle.  Before I always thought everyone should do things for me, just because.  I often times did not give back.  I was selfish and unthankful.  God gave me this trial for many reasons.  I am thankful that He has changed my outlook.  He has taught me something so amazing.  And not only has He given me a trial to teach me but to make sure I truly understand.  It is a lifestyle that I live now.  Making sure that I say thank you or to reach out, no matter how big or small.  It is a powerful thing.  I am so blessed that I am able to model that for my children each and every day.

Being thankful is just one of the things that have changed me forever.  The way I see things is also differently.  Even though God is still trying to teach me this, I do try to look past the circumstance and give Him praise.  It is hard to live constantly in the circumstance, it totally consumes you, it takes everything you have.  However, our God is not a God of circumstances.  While it may seem like my life is totally crashing in on me, God is there.  His beauty is all around me.  To see the beautiful sunrise God has painted, to the flowers He has made, to the green grass, to my beating heart.  He is there and constantly providing miracles, constantly reminding me that He has created everything.

To be able to look past some one's faults and accept them for who they are is such a hard thing to do.  I am trying, I still have a long way to go, but the conviction is there on my heart.  It is so much easier to point out negative things rather than positive things.  However, when we can appreciate the good in people and help them with the negative, we achieve so much more.  We are able to tolerate a lot more when we give someone grace.  After all, God has given us a lot of grace.  We should be giving that to others.

Maybe someone is having a bad day and the smile you give is just what they need.  Maybe someone just lost someone close to them and a card in the mail is just the pick up that they need.  Maybe it is that person who cut you off and did not mean it.  How many times do we do that and ask for grace?  Anyways, I understand it a little more because of this trial.  I understand that things are not always as they appear.  Sometimes we really cannot understand until we have been in their shoes.  However, if we just give them grace and offer a hug or a smile, or just allow them to talk without judgement, it can make all of the difference.

God has taught me so much in this trial.  God has changed me in a way that I cannot communicate.  The lessons that I have learned are so valuable.  It is nothing that I would have ever asked for, nothing that I would have ever wanted to take on, however, I would NEVER give it up.  I would not trade one moment for the most money in the world.

I always thought that I would be a business woman, that I would have a lot of money, that I would have a lot of stuff, I would be successful.  For awhile God did bless me and Eric in that way.  However, I can tell you that we never appreciated it.  We never really knew what we had until it was gone.  But I struggled with the notion that I was not successful, that I was really nothing because I did not have the money, the stuff, the look.  I really did not measure up in terms of the world, however, I need not compare myself to the world.

In God's standards, I can rest assured that I am loved no matter what.  I don't have to store my treasures here on earth, for I am promised the most amazing place to live.  I will have eternal life worshiping my Father.  I am rich beyond measure.  I have a husband who thinks I am beautiful and loves me.  Yes, we have our share of problems and our marriage is not perfect, however, we are there for each other and we made a commitment that we are both serious about honoring.  His arms will always provide love and support for me.  I have three beautiful children.  God has given them to me to care for.  They are not mine, but His.  God has given me a great church family, super awesome mom's group, a great women's Bible study and the list goes on.  Most of all, He gave me His Son, His love, mercy, grace, forgiveness.  I am rich beyond measure.

I know that I give up much in this world to pick up my cross and follow Him.  However, in Him I have everything.  Most importantly, God has reminded me that this journey of motherhood is my ministry.  It is my job to pray and ask for guidance from Him to raise these children.  I have the added blessing of being a mom to Lydia, a child that God created perfectly.  While most people would have not given her a chance, we are loving her and learning from her.  What a blessing.

This has given me great comfort lately because I have struggled with always defending why I do what I do to people.  Comments saying I am going overboard keeping her safe, not allowing others to hold her and the list goes on.  However, I am accountable to God, I am doing what I believe is the very best thing for this family.  I will make mistakes, but I am trying to raise my children according to God.  So while people may say those comments, it is good to evaluate and make sure I am doing what is best for my family.  I have learned more about not being selfish.  While I am very selfish still, I believe that God is working with me on that.  To put my daughter first in this season of my life is what I am being called to do.  And when I feel as though I am being judged, I need to check what I am doing.  I bring judgement on myself.  I am probably not walking as God would want me to walk.

I am so thankful for the life God has given me, for the family He has blessed me with.  I am so thankful for the trials He has given me.  He did promise us that we would encounter trials and persecution.  It is in these trials that He breaks us so we depend on Him.  I have a ways to go. 

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