"Even if you are experiencing tough times right now, you still have blessings to count and blessings to share. So ask yourself this question: How can I glorify God today? Your Heavenly Father has given you talents and opportunities that are uniquely yours." - What if your blessings come through raindrops devotional by Laura Story.
I read this the other morning in a rare moment of silence. SG has been sleeping beautifully...sometimes till almost 8am. Richard can always sleep in and Noah and Ellie are in the same room, so as long as Noah is sleeping in, Ellie will stay put. I sat with my devotional books and bible around me and read. It had been a while with no excuse...that darn candy game that I get stuck on the same level for a week takes control....and I find myself playing that for an hour when I could easily take that time to read a devotion or a chapter from the bible. It felt good that morning, I felt that beautiful peace God provides.
I find it fitting that the first day I ever open this book, this was the first devotion. I always loved in church when they would sing "Count your blessings" I would look at my kids and my husband and count...1...2...3 (SG wasn't born yet, before you say I forgot her!). As I read, I thought about my talents and opportunities God has give me. God has given me the talent to write and through Ellie's illness he has give me the opportunity to share my writing with many people. I try, when I blog, to not only update on Ellie and our family, but share with you the beautiful things God does in our lives, that is my way of glorifying him. I'm not as good at verbally speaking his praises, my words get all tangled, but today I wanted to take a minute to share my blessings with you and challenge you to count all your blessings, even if you are in the midst of a tough time.
So here goes, in no particular order!
My salvation - it has changed everything in my life, Zion Baptist - for loving my family and teaching me about a church family, our jobs, my co-workers who donated the sick time to allow us to still have some income right now, Richard's job for allowing him to stay with us for a couple more weeks, the sunshine, music, dancing, cartoons - they are currently providing this time to allow me to type, St. Jude Children's Hospital and everyone who works in it - for bringing a smile to our family's face daily, all of Ellie's medical team - for not just seeing her as a medical record number or a participant in this research but as a child who they love, Target - for providing a calm place to shop, crocheting - for keeping me calm and providing another source of income, princesses, Facebook - it is amazing how many lives we are allowed to touch because of social media, this blog, monkeys (pink and George), Habitat for Hope - for not just providing us with a place to live right now but providing us with fellowship and friends while we are here, blankets, pictures, smiles that light up a room, hugs, snuggles, hair bows, hats, flowers, mail - when you are so far away from home it is such a welcomed sight to see a envelope with your name on it, friends, baby dolls, chemo, nausea meds, tears, laughter, sisters, parents, brothers, cousins, cheese sticks - Ellie's current favorite, trail mix - we all know my love, nail polish, stickers, Veggie Tales - for the lessons they teach the kids and myself, the students I work with, teachers, my health, food, iPads
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(Sorry can you tell someone is sitting in my lap while I type?!?!? tv doesn't work so well for occupying her!)
Cancer - yes I'd rather not have experienced it in our lives, but look at all the blessings that have come out of it. When does a family every get to spend as much time as we do together? Sure by the end of the day we have spent a little too much time together, but that's why bed time is so important! Noah's heart is growing just by being around the hospital and the town we are in. He's learning just how many sick children there are and that they aren't any different then we are. He's learning what homeless means...you might chuckle at first, but in little Orange, VA he would never know what that is, his eyes are being opened to a whole other way of life. He has seen his Daddy give money to the man on the side of the street which is a lesson his Mommy still struggles with, but it produced questions that allowed us to share God's word with him. Because of cancer I have been given the privilege of sharing our story with others, I am being allowed to help others who are on a similar journey, or on any type of journey. Cancer has allowed us to meet some fantastic people. Cancer has brought my family closer together, it has put priorities in the right place, it has taught us to appreciate today and only focus on today. Cancer has allowed us to share the love of God with so many!
My husband - where do I begin?? What an amazing transition from that cute boy who worked at Old Navy to the amazing man of God I see today. He is a huge blessing in my life and one I do remember to thank God for every day. He is so good at pushing me to be my best and dealing with me when I get mad at his pushing! Believe it or not, I just can't find the right words today to describe him and how much he blesses me everyday...which is why I'm letting him sleep right now :)
My children - what other blessing teaches you to love others more than yourself. They have taught me patience and fun. They remind me I don't always have to be so serious and imagination is amazing. That a family can be wherever you are, not just in your house. Although Noah continually says he misses home...this is home right now. Our family has slid right into a one bedroom apartment like its nothing. They are so incredibly flexible (something I'm not very good at being...but learning to be).
SG reminds me to smile, even at little things like gas!
Noah helps me be patient every day and has shown me just what a brother is meant to be!
Ellie Marie...she shows me what true beauty is.
Any time I start to complain or whine, I think of her. I think of the medicines going into her and what they are doing to her body. I think of her strength, her ability to smile (when she feels like it). I think of all she's been through and I stop complaining. Maybe that's what I've learned the most, stop complaining. It doesn't do you any good. Stop holding a grudge (such a hard one for me) this also does you know good. Stop wasting your valuable time and life being mad at someone. I catch myself getting mad at Richard for stupid things like making me go into the grocery store by myself, or not agreeing with me about getting the wheely backpack for Ellie. I waste minutes and sometimes hours being mad at him and not talking to him or thinking mean thoughts about how he's done me wrong...and what is the purpose...nothing. It doesn't solve anything, it doesn't prove any points, it just wastes time....and that's something we don't know how much we have. None of us know how much we have. I have to remind myself, God has forgiven me for so much. He doesn't stop talking to me when I mess up. He doesn't turn his back on me when I don't show His love like he wants me to. He has looked past all the sin in my life who am I to not forgive someone because they don't agree with me (kinda silly). I thank God for every minute in this life and all the blessings and promises in it.
Psalm 103:8-12 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
Prayers, Praise, Pink