If I'm honest, there are times that I struggle with Matthew's health issues. Not just on the level of worry. It goes much deeper. I fall into the pit of gloom and doom and fear and doubt. The thought of possible surgery. The thought of him being teased if he has lingering evidence of his cerebral palsy. The thought of something else happening to him or the girls. The questions of "Why?" and "What if?" freely abound.
But just when I start to really wallow in my pit, I'm brought back to the realization of how good things really are. I'm reminded of how blessed we are and how much we truly have to be thankful for.
Let me share a few things that I try to reflect on and give thanks for...
My husband and children love me. Just like in any relationship, I don't "feel the love" 100% of the time, and I bet they don't either (even though I try hard for them to!). But I know they love me. And I know they would be lost without me, as I would be without them. There are LOTS of hugs and kisses that pass between the five of us here on earth and lots of love sent to heaven for Grady every day. Words cannot express the love and thankfulness that I feel for each one of them.
I am SO thankful for Gib, Jessica, Emma Grace, Grady and Matthew. I'm thankful for God's blessings on, of and through my family!
My husband has a job. Not only does he have a job, but it's a job that allows me to stay home with our children. Granted we make sacrifices and don't have much extra, but it's all worth it. I don't have nice clothes. We don't have a fancy house. We don't spend freely on "stuff". Most everything we buy is purchased with much thought beforehand, waiting for items to go on sale and/or using coupons when possible. I feel guilty (and I know Gib does too) at times when I can't buy Jessica and Emma Grace the things they want. Not to spoil them, but to give them some of the things their friends have so they don't feel "left out". For instance, Jessica is the only one of her friends who doesn't have a NorthFace jacket. She desperately wants one, but she will have to wait. She talks about it, but she is also learning some great lessons about needs versus wants. I often remind myself and them that we have what we need and that's what really matters. And when we save the money to get the things we want, we appreciate them so much more.
I'm thankful for Gib's job, that he goes to work everyday and the fact that God provides for our needs.
For the most part, we are all healthy. And for that, I'm so very thankful!
I clearly remember writing this post on Grady's 6 month birthday. This year, I have a living baby to write a post about and actually tell what he's doing instead of just speculating what a 6 month old might be doing.
I'm so thankful for the gift and blessing of Matthew's life. In no way does he replace Grady, but he has brought much healing to each one of us.
When I start to think about the issues Matthew has had and continues to face, I'm reminded of how blessed we are. His brain bleed was only on one side and wasn't severe. His cerebral palsy is mild; it could be so much worse. His porencephaly didn't cause any of the horrible side effects that I read about (other than the mild cerebral palsy). Because the hole in his heart is so small, it will not require surgery even if it is not closed in March when we have it rechecked. And if he does need surgery on his hydrocele, it will be done as an outpatient and should be a simple procedure. Even though the thought of anesthesia and my baby being cut on isn't appealing and is actually very scary, it could be so much worse.
For this, I'm so thankful.
I could make a list of the other things that I'm thankful for on a daily basis that often get missed and taken for granted. Some might include my warm bed and house, our food, my morning coffee with hazelnut creamer (*wink*), my hair dryer and flat iron (another *wink*), technology that makes it possible for me to link up with all of you, our car & van which we readily hop into to get from point a to point b, the clothes on my back, running water, electricity, etc. These are things that often don't get a second thought by myself and probably many of you. But the truth is that there are plenty of people who don't have these things.
I'm so thankful for the pleasantries of life that make it simple and more enjoyable.
And last, but most important of all, I'm so thankful for my God who loves me/us unconditionally. Who sent His son as my Savior. Who promises to never leave me or forsake me. Who walks beside me and has carried me when I couldn't carry myself. And I'm so thankful for the promise and hope of heaven.
It is important to remind myself of these things, and more, when I start to dwell on the negative in my life. The good definitely outweighs the bad, but for some reason, in odd ways, the bad carries more weight than the good. (That doesn't make sense, but I can't think of another way to put it!) The bad automatically overshadows the good. I have to clear the bad from my brain to make room for the good to shine through. I have to be very intentional about this, and when I do, it lifts my spirits and gives me new perspective, hope and energy to keep trucking along. You should try it, too!