Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Some Thanks-giving

Isaiah 12:4
In that day you will say: "Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.

I am thankful for:

~ A boy, Peter, who reads Scripture at the table as though he knows it's washing us clean. He knows!

~ A little girl, Mary, who loves her sister and is sensitive to Beth's feelings and pain. Though stubborn and slow to admit wrong-doing, Mary is sacrificial. There's a lot of sweetness dwelling in her depths and thank the Lord these two haven't found anything to fight about. That's coming as littlest one matures, probably.

~ Paul responded slowly and a little reluctantly to my request for some help. He was in the middle of something but I couldn't wait to ask him. What he said was so surprising: "I know I'm going to be a Daddy someday and I'll have to do things I don't want to do." I'm sure I stood there with my mouth open, all a wonder. Paul sees my husband help with things he doesn't particularly like, such as bathing children, because it helps the evening go smoother. I've known men who sit in a chair when they come home from work, letting the wife do everything. Thankfully, this doesn't describe my husband. He washes his hands, rolls up his sleeves, and engages, without a break for himself. It's amazing that Paul, only just eight years old, comprehends his Daddy's sacrificial love.

~ Most of my children haven't responded naturally with the phrase, "I love you, too." I never required it and though it came with their maturity, its absence tugged at my heart. Along comes Miss Beth, who did it early and delights in it! If you say she looks beautiful, she says with a sparkle in her eye, "You look beautiful, too." If you say her shirt is pretty, she says with a giggle, "Your shirt is pretty, too!" If you say her hair smells good or her curls are so lovely, she responds in kind, with genuine meaning, even if you have bed hair. She isn't perfect and has her moments, but what a bundle of joy!

~ People are praying for Miss Beth and that warms my heart. We feel so helpless..this disease is so unpredictable. The prayers are our hope. Many of these children do well and stop having problems around 8 to 10 years old, but those are the ones with non-aggressive disease. I'm not sure non-aggressive would describe Beth's course, though only two joints affected is encouraging (so far). It feels as though we're paddling a canoe in total darkness, with possible dangers all around. That's why the prayers mean everything. So thank you!

~ The trees are bare now. The color all brown and crunched under our feet. I await the snow dressing God plans for us. Seeing that first red cardinal against white is so exquisite. I hail from dry southern California (not to be mistaken with the snowy, majestic mountains of Yosemite, which you may have visited? They are exquisitely set apart from the southern desert. California's climate and terrain are very diverse).

Now my days are full of beauty--not just on vacations. The lush greenery and colorful Ohio seasons, punctuated by the cardinal against a sea of white, drives my soul toward thanks-giving. Those who live for the expanse and cadence of the sea would disagree. Yes, the sea is a nice place to visit. Sea postcards feature brilliant sun and gorgeous sunset accents. In truth, those who dwell by the sea live in fog much of the time. Colorless. And I need color. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the beauty of your hands!

~ I told you about husband's giving decisions and how they blessed? No car repairs in over a month, praise God, following months of regular mechanic visits. I just got a call from my aunt earlier tonight, whose husband just inherited some money. They want Gary, our shared mechanic, to fix up our van, repairing everything and making it easier to use (like working door handles!) as a Christmas present to us. We have to pray about it because we were thinking of using tax money to buy a used van with less miles. But as my aunt pointed out, you never know what you're going to get. Our mechanic thinks our Toyota Sienna van is worth salvaging, even at over 200,000 miles.

Also, my husband was recently given two sets of free college football tickets (for two), which absolutely thrilled my Paul. Paul and Daddy share a major love for college football and we have a state university nearby.

And the blessings don't end there! Two times the church my husband works for gave us food leftover from their banquets. You know my Peter loved that! And the girls were thrilled that once, cookies were included!

We don't give to God to get back, obviously. But the faith in the giving is credited to us as righteousness and the Lord blesses it. I've heard so many stories of untold blessings after people gave until it hurt. Once a retired, Vietnam-war-vet-turned-pastor of ours gave money to the church building fund that he couldn't afford (two of his children were in college). He did it on faith and a month later he received several thousand dollars from an injured Veteran fund. He wasn't expecting the money. There was some clerical error preventing him from receiving it earlier. He didn't even know about the fund! Sadly, a few years after that he died of a massive heart attack. (We loved him; he officiated at our wedding and he baptized me.) I'm sure his widow and his daughters needed what was left of that money. God provided in miraculous ways!

The power of God, His merciful nature, His faithfulness, His love...it all astounds me! How I wish more knew Him.

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