I am thankful…
~ for our 13th and 14th viewing of the beloved GCS 1st grade production of Little Bo Peep. It is the sweetest play featuring Little Bo Peep and Little Boy Blue on a quest to find the lost sheep, enlisting the help of all our favorite nursery rhymes. Our Zoe gave a compelling performance as Little Polly Flinders. Such a fun tradition, and the moral of the story – that Jesus always helps us when we go astray – gets me every time.
~ for the most loving and godly teachers who pour into our children, and encourage mom and dad when we desperately need it.
~ for some of the most stunning, electric sunsets I have ever seen! God’s handiwork on display never ceases to amaze me!
~ for getting to see Carson Grace speak encouragement to incoming GCS freshmen about being a part of the High School Praise Band. Proud of the poised, talented, and God-seeking young woman she has become.
~ for a super-fun quadruple birthday party! We just celebrated Samantha last month, and both Gavin and Kora are coming up this week…Zoe isn’t until August, but it’s just easier on Mama’s brain to ding-it-done all in one big shebang! The kids got to try out the new hit attraction, Urban Air, an indoor trampoline park with more extras than you can count: zip lines, ninja obstacle course, rock walls, ropes course…there are so many exciting activities for all ages. Each birthday honoree got to invite a couple of friends and choose their favorite cupcake: chocolate with pink buttercream, chocolate with blue buttercream, chocolate with chocolate buttercream, and funfetti with rainbows! They all had a wonderful time! (And I didn’t have to clean up afterwards! WIN-WIN!)
~ for a sweet (albeit far too short) visit for Kora, Gavin, and Zoe with their biological big sister, Grace. Grace was adopted by dear friends of ours, but they moved to College Station this summer, so we don’t get to see her as often as we’d like. The four of them stick together like glue when they have the chance. Grace is growing into such a remarkable and beautiful young lady, and it is so special to see her. I’m thankful for the opportunity for the kids to stay connected and make new, healthy, and happy memories to replace the more difficult memories from their early childhood. What a Healer is our God!
~ for a special evening at Gold Network CONNECT, our quarterly childhood cancer caregiver support group. Our group was smaller than usual, with many families out with sickness (can you BELIEVE all the flu around here??!!), but we know that it is truly an anointed time for the appointed ones who come. We enjoyed the most delicious fajitas from Abuelos and decadent tuxedo cake and key lime pie for dessert. And we shared our stories and our lives with one another. Laughter and tears and encouraging words remind each other that none of us are alone on this long, lonely walk. I’m so thankful for the great privilege to come alongside other families and share hope, even though our stories are all so different. Also so very thankful to have been approved for a generous grant to cover the funding for this important program!
~ for Gavin getting some great one-on-one time with Dad, building signs for Giddyup and Whoa. He learned a lot: helped cut, assemble, and stain several signs. Didn’t even mind the chilly temps!
Oh, I’ve been in such a slump. Nothing terrible is going on. We are dealing with colds, not cancer. It’s just been hard to get motivated…to get into the Word, to paint, to stay positive. Maybe it’s the weather? It’s been dreary and cold. Anyone else relate? So anyway, on Wednesday, I dragged my weary, unmotivated self to midweek service at church. House was a mess, kids a wreck…but we got there. Only to find out that instead of the praise and prayer time we have been doing, that this week was going to be a time of sharing testimonies. GREAT! Because I was SO IN THE MOOD to testify. (insert HEAVY SARCASM) Worship began, and I struggled to refocus my heart and enter in. The words made perfect sense to what I was dealing with, but I still felt like I was going through the motions, “I delight myself in You/in the glory of Your presence/I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You)”. Until one of my Littles whispered to me, “Mama, what does ‘overwhelmed’ mean?” And as the song continued, I tried to explain, “It’s like when there’s all this STUFF around you. All the things you have to get done. And you realize how small you are. That’s ‘overwhelmed.’” Because for about as long as I can remember, I have lived in a constant state of being overwhelmed, in one way or another. Then God began to minister to my heart as I continued to explain to my child, “But then you look at creation, and look at all He has done. And you realize how small you are, compared to how big God is and how good He is and how much He has done for you. And THEN, ‘overwhelmed’ is a GOOD THING.” As my Father’s kindness soaked into the parched ground of my heart, I knew He had given me something to testify about. The definition of “overwhelmed” is “to bury or drown beneath a huge mass,” or “defeat completely”. I had (we ALL have) a choice: to live drowned and defeated by the circumstances our eyes see: this messed up world, sickness, evil, fear, STUFF, a million responsibilities…or we can let ourselves be OVERWHELMED by the love of the Father.
I wish I could say I am full of fresh new perspective and that all my weariness has been transformed to purposeful strength…but the truth is that the slump persists. I’m still overwhelmed. But I do have renewed hope. I know that God is not watching my progress with a clipboard and checklist, marking off what I do wrong or right. I know that He is not asking me to be successful or even improving. He’s asking me to be faithful whether I feel like it or not. He’s asking me to keep moving and not quit. He’s got my kids. He’s got my marriage. He’s got my to-do list and my worries and my anxieties and my health. He’s got ME! I am thankful for the God Who Sees Me, and for the knowledge that His grace will always be sufficient.
Thanks for giving thanks with me. Let’s love one another well this week.
“These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:4-5 NIV