Monday, January 24, 2011

My Forty Years: A Grateful Heart and A Work-in-Progress

Tomorrow I will celebrate my fortieth birthday and I want to celebrate it with gratitude.  I want to celebrate faith, moments, events and people that are responsible for the evolution of the forty year, work-in-progress of who I am today.  I pray that I am always grateful and always a work-in-progress. And so it isn't hard to come up with this list if you give it some thought. In fact, I could have gone on.  In no specific order, here are my forty points of gratitude:

1. God's persistence in calling out my name; his relentless pursuit in the transformation of my life.

2. My husband, Andy, and his patience with me.

3. The arrival of Jessica, Brooke, Analise and Alyssa into my life and all that goes with that.

4. The lessons learned early in my faith, from a few influential women, who by example, taught me what godly parenting is.

5. God's mercy, grace, forgiveness, discipline and correction.

6. Being introduced to to the true definition of sisterhood: the baring of one's soul to another, comforting one another, praying for one another, laughing with one another-through deaths, illness, crisis and joy.

7. My Tuesday small group -Lisa T, Lisa M, Missy, Tracy, Diane, Cherie, Tammy and Carla.  Our small group moments are some of my very favorite moments in life.  Sisterhood exemplified.

8. Sarcoidosis. A strange word I had never heard until 2007, but it has changed my life in ways I don't think I ever want to take back.

9. Beth Moore's gift of teaching. Beth's lessons have helped me to study the Scriptures in ways I hadn't before.

10. God's faithfulness.

11. God's timing.

12. Reconciliation with my mother.

13. Andy's job loss.  Sometimes we won't make a change until we are forced to.

14. Our cozy home that is small enough to know what everyone is doing all of the time.  Less square footage has helped to keep our family close physically and otherwise.

15. My sweet neighbors and one really persistent one (Jana), who relentlessly insisted we all get to know each other better.  I am so glad that we did!

16. Facebook -call it what you want, when used by mature minds, it is a fabulous tool for keeping in touch with lots of people.

17. Daughters who love Jesus -authentically.

18. Faithful prayer warriors who when they say they will pray, they don't just mean a one or two sentence mention. 

19. The fact that I am not currently on oxygen support.

20. The fact that there is oxygen support in case I need to use it.

21. A kind Pulmonologist who is very knowledgeable in Sarcoidosis.  You don't know how hard this is to find and how many doctors I had to go thru to get to this one.

22. Writing.  Aside from prayer, writing proves to be the most therapeutic thing I have ever done for myself. It was back in seventh grade and it remains so now.  When I find out that it has also helped or encouraged another -it's a HUGE bonus!

23. The fact that I still have one fully-functioning lung. It is unblemished and perfect. God was pretty nice to give us two in case one bagged out a bit.

24. The time I had with my Grandmother before she died.  I enjoyed her very much.  She made me laugh a lot.

25. Boldness in life. Not just my own, but the boldness God has gifted others with and for the wise ways in which they use it. 

26. Missy, Diane, Tracy, Cherie, Tammy and Kim.  Who know just about every ugly thing about me. When life has been very dark, they have been light.  They have held me up when I was sinking.  They have been Jesus with skin on.

27. Mr. Mike and the way he is so kind to my mother. 

28. Moody Radio. 

29. Amber and Juan who have demonstrated selfless care for others time and again. I am learning how to put self last and others first through their example.

30. My Nana. A Mac truck could run her over and she would pop back up. She is strong.  She doesn't deny her emotions, she plods on in spite of them.

31. God's holy, inspired word - The Manual For Life.

32. My Mother's relationship with my girls.  It is good for girls to adore their Grandma. 

33. Freedom to worship and praise God wherever I please.  I fear this may not always be the case.

34. The feeling of relative safety when walking down the street, allowing my kids to play in the neighborhood or getting out of my car to go to the store.  We take this for granted.

35. Books. Of all sorts.

36. Listening to my girls' laughter.

37. HOPE.

38. Music. Of all sorts. It pierces my soul.

39. LOVE.

40. Forty years on earth.

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