... being thankful ...

Today is Thanksgiving and there is SO MUCH to be thankful for . . . . 
1 Thessalonians 5:18 - Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Today, I am thankful for the blessings that God has given me as I have followed him through this year.  I have learned so much to lean on Him, to lean into Him and to trust him in ALL things!  

I wrote this blog post a couple of days ago, and didn't get the chance to add pictures and post it, so am getting to it now . . .  

November 18 . . . my Birthday . . . I’ve always liked Birthdays . . .
mine or anyone else’s!  I like to make a big deal out of them, and
celebrate the person who is having a birthday!  Last year, November 18
came just 13 days after Rickey went to Heaven.  Sigh.  Not much reason
to celebrate, for sure.  Yet, we still did celebrate some.  I was
spoiled by my family, my friends & my co-workers.  It was a day that I
will not forget.  In the midst of the most intense grief I could
imagine, God sent many angels to minister to and to love on me that
day.  I will NEVER forget when a bouquet of flowers arrived at work
and I opened the card that read, “Love, Bud” . . . (our name for each
other).  For a moment I was speechless (quite a feat for me).  I
actually looked at the card and put it back in the envelope.  I then
took it back out and looked at it again, and then at Tessa who was
standing near me.  I showed it to her and she smiled and told me
“That’s why we had to go for ice-cream” (the florist is on the way to
the ice cream parlor).  My sweet kids had sent me flowers from Daddy –
one last  time – a gift I will cherish forever! 

 A few days after my
birthday was the ride to Green Bay with my brother in law to pick up
my sister in law from the airport – and the Lambeau Field Christmas
Tree Lighting (which we missed . . . but that’s another story for
another day!), and a fun meal at Margarita’s!  

Good memories mixed in
with the bad – very bittersweet.

This year, November 18 came with a little less fan-fare.  It was a
Sunday, and we planned on having the Northland University students
over for lunch.  Because of this, we did pizza the night before with
my mom and dad and had cake later with the granddaughters (who both
celebrate November Birthdays as well!).  Sunday dawned sunny and
beautiful!  A wonderful day for a birthday!  The day was quiet (if you
count 9 college age kids, an almost 7 year old, an almost 5 year old,
my 3 girls and a friend  as quiet!) but wonderful!  Besides the crowd
at lunch (which also included my mom & dad!) the day was spent with my
girls who mean the WORLD to me, Cody (family friend),  two precious
granddaughters and Rick.  Later in the afternoon, two of Rick’s boys
came and visited too, making my day complete!   God sent angels again
this year, God provided a wonderful day – a good end to what most
certainly started as a bad year.  And another “first” was behind me –
I had spent my first “year” (my 45th) without Rickey.

As the day came to an end and we all headed to bed, the phone rang.
It was only 9:22, but Rick looked at me and said, “That can’t be
good”, and I thought to myself, it’s not even 9:30, it’s not that
late.  I answered the phone to be HIT with words oh, too familiar,
“Please pray, right now, there’s been an accident”.  In this case, all
ended up to be o.k., but, let me tell you, fear grips me at those
words.  I remember ever so clearly speaking those words over, and over
and over on that long, but short ride to the E.R. last November 5.
“Please pray, right now, there’s been accident, we don’t know much
more. “ Amazing how quickly you can be put back right to the MOMENT
that your life changed in an instant.  The call came from our awesome
friends who had actually gotten the SAME call from us.  The same
friends who graciously met up with the group that Kajsa was with on
November 5, and drove her back to us.  Back to the hospital.  Those
friends who stayed close by our side throughout November 5th, 6th and
beyond last year.  This time it was their brother/son.  He’d been in a
car accident.  He was being taken to their local trauma center.  They
didn’t know more.  “Please pray!”  Oh, the agonizing minutes of
waiting until we heard that he was alive, he was breathing on his own,
it appeared he would be o.k.  Moments that we all knew too well.
Moments that had been our own nightmare just a short year ago.
Moments with a different outcome than ours, for which we are so
thankful!  As his Momma put on Facebook, “Thanksgiving came early”.
Oh, my, yes it did.  There will be days of healing ahead.  There will
be car insurance and hospital insurance to deal with.  There may be
some lingering effects of the accident, and memories of it will always
be there, but he is o.k.!  He is alive!  And, we are all thankful for
this ending to this “Please pray” phone call.

A couple of things come to mind as I think over the events of Sunday night:

1.      Do I think that the prayers prayed on Sunday night were answered,
and ours last November 5 weren't?  NO!  That is not what I believe at
all.  I did and still do believe that our days are in the Lord’s
hands.  God did not hear the prayers of His people any less on the day
of Rickey’s accident than they did Sunday night.  He had just ordained
a different outcome.  Rickey is more alive than ever today – it’s just
in Heaven not here on earth.  The Lord called him home.  I really do
believe it is as “simple” as that.  Not the answer to prayer I’d have
chosen, yet, God’s answer in God’s time.

2.      Life can, and does, change in an instant.  We really are all just
“one phone call from our knees”.  We can’t know.  We don’t know.  We
can only see as far as the moment we are in.  We can make all the
plans in the world.  We can have all the dreams we want.  Plans are
good.  Dreams are wonderful.  BUT, we are only promised THIS BREATH.
THIS MOMENT.  What will we do with it?  Just this week, I’ve also
learned of 2 people who I know who died unexpectedly.  One was the
sister of a classmate (50 years old), and one was a young man (mid
20’s) from our town – both gone – too soon for earthly standards, but
gone – in an instant . . . a life changing instant.

As we head into Thanksgiving, I’m challenged anew to remember that
life is just a fleeting breath – for me, for those I love, for
everyone.  I want to make the most of each moment.  I want to love
while there is time.  I want to, especially when it is the focus at
this time of the year, be THANKFUL for all that God has blessed me
with.  He has “taken” from me more than I ever dreamed He would
“take”.  I don’t understand, and won’t this side of Heaven.  He has
also “given” me more than I ever dreamed he would “give”.   He has
offered healing and restoration that I didn't expect.  He has blessed
me beyond measure!  Daily I’m reminded of the blessings that He sends
my way.  I truly have so much to be thankful for, and really, don’t we

Don’t wait for the unimaginable to happen.  Don’t wait until you
experience the fragility of life to LOVE those you have been given.
LOVE them TODAY.  THANK God for them TODAY.  ENJOY them today . . .
even when the house is a mess, the dishes aren’t done and the laundry
is piled up in mountains in the laundry room (some of my “battles” for
control!) . . . Love today, enjoy today, be thankful today . . .
because we learned again this week that tomorrow may not come.

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