“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (Psalm 118:1)
I noticed last week that it has been a year since I started sharing Lindsay’s story on this blog! And, since we are all getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, I wanted to document some things for which I am grateful. I’m quite positive the things I appreciate now are different from even a year ago. Time, perspective, and God’s grace will do that to a girl. While of course I am thankful for many obvious things, such as my husband and children, my parents and in-laws, health, and the many freedoms I enjoy, I hope to share some things that might not be so obvious.
What?! As a person who loves some organization, things in their place and clean, I am learning to see beyond the mess. In a lot of ways. Of course, my kiddos make literal messes that can drive me crazy, but their mess equals fun most of the time. If there is one thing they all three know how to do, it is have a good time. So, while I might step on more Legos than my feet can stand and pick up more “stuff” in random places, I know that they have fun. Isn’t that part of childhood? I’m glad that my home is a safe place for them to do that! I’m grateful that they feel comfortable doing the things they love here. (I guess I should say grass stains, too! I don’t love trying to remove them from khaki pants almost every day, but they are the sign of a good day at school for my boys! Forget what they actually learned, they are most thrilled when they’ve had a good game of football with their friends at recess.)
I’m also grateful for figurative messes. One thing I keep learning over and over is that out of the hugest messes often come the biggest blessings. Think of any major disaster that happens-almost always, people step up to help and show that there is still plenty of good left in the world. When we cannot possibly see any good coming out of a situation that seems unredeemable, God has a way of redeeming it anyway! A year ago, I was thinking almost daily, “What good can come of this? What good can come from my little girl struggling through every single milestone, possibly not reaching some at all? How on earth do we parent her? What is this stupid syndrome, anyway? And, why does she have to have it?” But today, I am grateful. Am I happy that she has this “rare” condition that proves more unique by the day? Nope. But, I can be grateful for what I have learned, whether I like how I had to learn it or not.
When I say little things, I mean things such as the days where Lindsay actually takes a nap. I love it when it looks like she is trying to whisper, “Hi” when I get her up in the mornings. I’m thankful that now she will raise her arms from her elbows when you reach down to pick her up. (Do you know how much we have longed for her to just reach out her arms and acknowledge that she knows who we are?) We want her to want us to hold her. I’m grateful for the way the boys just take over sometimes when they can tell I have about lost all my patience. I’ll catch them patting on Lindsay’s back, trying to read her a book, etc. They have no idea how much that means to me. I’m grateful for the way the boys stick up for one another. They may argue over the silliest things some days, but you had better believe that if one of them is in trouble-the other one jumps in to “help.” I sometimes have to remind them that if I need help parenting, I will let them know! Honestly, though, I secretly love that they are there for each other. I hope they always will be.
I’m thankful that if Lindsay is not feeling well or is tired, almost always a bath will make her happy! I’m thankful that as she has a lot fewer instances of getting so sick with a cold that she scares me. I’m thankful that her pediatrician also goes to our church, so I can bug him with a concern whenever I have one. 😉
I’m certainly grateful that when I get out of bed in the morning, I can just get up, put one foot in front of the other, and walk to wherever I need to go. (If you’re like me, you probably just do that on autopilot.) Now that I have a child for whom that is not (yet) possible, I appreciate it. Oh, do I appreciate it. Likewise, I am thankful that I can drink whatever I want. Unlike Lindsay, I don’t have to have my milk thickened every single time I drink in order to keep from aspirating. (Hopefully one day, she’ll get to experience something else besides milk with cereal in it to drink! 🙂
Y’all. This lady is one of my heroes. She is Lindsay’s preschool teacher, and she is fantastic! I know that God worked everything out just perfectly so that Lindsay could be blessed by this lady. If ever anyone were living out her calling, Ms. Lisa is. I do not know how she does her job every day without losing her mind, but she does. She will tell me stories as if Lindsay is truly having a conversation with her, and I LOVE IT!!! Last week, I laughed so hard when she told me that Lindsay said she did not care for the turkey and dressing they had at school; that it needed more seasoning! If a child is having trouble sleeping, she will lie down on the floor beside them to help them sleep. (Most often, though, Lindsay tells her she is not interested in nap time!) She carries the children who cannot walk, changes diapers, gets on their level and looks into their eyes, and makes every single one of them feel loved! One day, as kids were hanging all over her, I told her I bet she goes home and just wants to be by herself! She said, “No, I go home and wonder if this child is still sick, or if that child ever took a nap. I mostly wonder how my kids are doing.” How can I not be grateful for someone like that?
I’ve mentioned this many times before, but I would not make it without finding something funny every single day. Luckily, these people I live with make that easy! The best part is that most of the time, they are not even trying to be funny. I could write a book of all of the random, hilarious things Carter says. Put him and Cason together, and I am entertained almost constantly. For whatever reason, their newest favorite things to do include spontaneously dancing to whatever music is on (regardless of where we are) and rolling down the window in the van to ask questions of whoever may be walking down the sidewalk!? Carter likes to place “bets” with me that he can sleep all night in some bizarre outfit, like his pajama pants around his neck and his shirt tied around his waist. Tonight, I heard him breathing really loudly and jumping up and down in the shower, and I went in to discover that he was (on purpose) in freezing cold water. I don’t even know what to say!
I love this time of year, and I love that my boys still believe (despite some of their friends’ best efforts!) They convinced me to go ahead and decorate this past weekend, and of course, that meant that our “Elf” had to make an appearance. It is worth every second to hear the sweet conversations they have with each other! I’m also especially thankful that they know the real reason we celebrate.
My church family
I am most grateful that the congregation where my family attends is a grace-filled place. Nobody is pretending to have it all together, and certainly nobody claims to be perfect. I love my ladies’ bible class on Fridays, where we’ve all lived a lot of hard life. The deal is, though, we feel comfortable sharing the hard things without fear of judgment. Instead, we experience a time where we listen and learn from one another, and most importantly, pray. I also love the opportunities to serve, especially for my children. I feel there is not much more important that they can learn.
One of the things that my church does well is accommodate Lindsay and her needs. I know it is not like that everywhere, but I am so grateful that she is recognized there! She has been in the same class with toddlers since she began attending, but she is getting ready to move up with peers her own age. Our wonderful children’s minister, Julie, has met with me and asked me exactly what she needs, including adaptive seating, and she is making it happen! I feel so fortunate to have such compassionate people loving on my girl there!
I mentioned my church as a place where grace is what we do. What’s greater than that, really? Receiving something that we absolutely do not deserve is a hard concept to grasp. If you have children, you probably give grace without much thought when they mess up. God does that with all of us, doesn’t He? And the great thing is, it is not up to us to decide who receives His grace and who doesn’t. I am so, so thankful that.
“As you go through this day, look for tiny treasures strategically placed along the way. I lovingly go before you and plant little pleasures to brighten your day. Look carefully for them, and pluck them one by one. When you reach the end of the day, you will have gathered a lovely bouquet. Offer it up to me with a grateful heart. Receive My Peace as you lie down to sleep, with thankful thoughts playing a lullaby in your mind.” (Excerpt from Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young)
My bet is, in whatever season of life you find yourself, you have plenty for which to be grateful.
Until next time…