Thankful Thursday: Thanksgiving...A Year in Review

If you had told me last Thanksgiving all the things that would happen this year, I probably would have tried to hide somewhere...or gotten really stressed out thinking about how to handle it all and trying to figure out ways to change it all for the "better."  What a blessing that we are NOT in control, and God IS.  He doesn't mess things up.  He has it all planned out just exactly the way it should be according to HIS perfect plan for our lives.

Here's a recap of the past year...

December 2010 -- our daughter (17 mos at the time) came down with a fever that spiked, and resulted in a febrile seizure, a ride to the ER in an ambulance, and a few hours spent in the ER.  Those moments...those very, very long moments when she was unresponsive were the scariest moments of my life.  I cried out to Jesus in those moments...literally.

March 2011 -- the dreaded phone call (which I received as a voice mail because my phone was off!) from my husband..."I've had an accident.  I'm okay, but the car's not."  A few moments difference, and it might have been the driver's side front door instead of the driver's side rear door.

March 2011 -- Earthquake/Tsunami in Japan...not something that affected us personally, but affected those that we love and care about deeply and thus we were emotionally connected.

April 2011 -- An F3 tornado ripped through our neighborhood, literally in our backyard.  Looking out our window we saw 2 brick homes ripped apart and countless others damaged.  Our friends' house was destroyed.  But, all life was spared.

May 2011 -- Just a few days after the tornado, those same friends whose home was destroyed got the phone call that their 2 teenage boys had been in a serious car accident.  Broken jaws, concussions, etc.  Again, not us personally, but very close to home and affecting those we love and care about deeply.  The body of Christ is such that when one member is hurting, the rest feel it keenly.

June 2011 -- the best month of the year! My brother married his true love (and our favorite)! :-)  Much rejoicing and celebrating!  We also discovered that we would be blessed with another child in early 2012.

July 2011 -- we celebrated our daughter's 2nd birthday, and announced our pregnancy to friends and family.

August 2011 -- the heart-wrenching pain of miscarriage.  For the second time in a year, I found myself literally crying out to Jesus.  We buried our son, and began the healing process.

September 2011 -- A few days later, a call from my (new) sister-in-law informed us that my brother had an accident at work and was thrown from a horse.  I firmly believe there were Angels on the ranch that day (not that they aren't there everyday).  He ended up with a broken wrist, and some cuts, scrapes, bruises, etc.

October 2011 -- Another phone call from my husband..."we're replacing the Accord piece, by piece."  This time, just a fender-bender.

October 2011 -- A friend, who assisted in the birth of our daughter, had a sudden and unexpected heart condition, and was with Jesus 24 hours later, leaving behind her husband and 5 daughters (ages 3-15).

So here we are...  apart from my brother's wedding and daughter's birthday, it would be easy to say that this was a pretty depressing year.  And, in all honesty, there have been some pretty low moments.  I have, on more than one occasion said that I am so ready to bid GOOD RIDDANCE to 2011.  But, I share all of this to say, God is faithful.  If you had told me all of this would have happened, I may have given up hope and decided I was done with this "religious business."  Where was God when I needed Him?  But, having come through it all, I find myself so much more aware of my need of Him, and the realization that I can't do anything on my own.  It is all through the strength that He gives...and that strength doesn't come in a 30 or 60 or 90 day prescription.  It is daily bread...He gives us strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.  I can look back and say God is good...I still don't understand why He chose for us to endure some of these trials, but He is good and He is faithful to keep us.  I have learned what it means to cry out to God in my time of need and to feel the comforting peace of His presence that He sends to us in solitude and through the ministry of His people.

This year has made me realize more (but probably not enough), the fragility of life.  So many near-death and actual death experiences.  This has really made me feel very strongly about "living in the moment" and taking a good look at what/who is important and how/where do I want to spend my time.  We are not guaranteed our next breath.

As I reflect over the past year, I am thankful that my daughter's seizure didn't have any lasting effects on her -- she is very healthy and very "normal."  My husband has come out of two car accidents with no injuries, and insurance has paid for the repairs.  Our lives, the lives of those around us, and our home were spared in the tornado (we did have minor damage, but ended up with a beautiful new deck as a result!).  Our friends who lost their home were not at home during the tornado (all 7 of them!) and the two that were in the car accident are mostly back to normal, when, from the looks of the car, it's surprising they're alive.  They have been blessed with a new home that far exceeds what any of us could have imagined for them.  God granted us strength in our weakness to accept His will for our lives in the loss of our son.  The process was free of physical complications and I have recovered well physically.  My brother is mostly recovered from his injuries and did not require surgery.  I could continue listing ways that I see God's faithfulness...they are everywhere.

This post is meant to encourage...to remind you that God is indeed faithful, He is indeed good, and He does indeed love His children.  We just might not always be able to understand His plan.  That's where the faith and trust comes in, and we just have to believe, and realize, that it is our duty to obey and to trust, and as our Heavenly Father, He will care for us and bless us in ways we never expected.

As we are apt to say around here....it is all by God's grace, and for God's glory.

 We have often found ourselves waiting for "the next bad thing" to happen, and for me, wondering what lesson God is trying to teach me that I'm just not getting and what's He going to have to do next to get my attention and what can I do to try to stop Him?  Thankfully, He doesn't work that way and He doesn't play games.  We have had to repent for our lack of faith, and daily ask Him to help us to trust Him.  This song from Rich Mullins has been in my head on more than one occasion this year...it's become my heart's cry.

Well, sometimes my life just don't make sense at all
When the mountains look so big 
And my faith just seems so small

So hold me Jesus, 'cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory 
Won't you be my Prince of Peace

And I wake up in the night and feel the dark
It's so hot inside my soul
I swear there must be blisters on my heart

So hold me Jesus, 'cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory 
Won't you be my Prince of Peace

Surrender don't come natural to me
I'd rather fight You for something I don't really want
Than to take what You give that I need
And I've beat my head against so many walls
Now I'm falling down, I'm falling on my knees

And this Salvation Army band is playing this hymn
And your grace rings out so deep
It makes my resistance seem so thin

So hold me Jesus, 'cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory 
Won't you be my Prince of Peace

You have been King of my glory
Won't you be my Prince of Peace.


Rachael said...

Tears are falling down my face as I read this, I feel we've had a similar year. Full of testimonies to God's goodness in our lives. So thankful we have Him to go to in times of difficulty and times of joy. Without Him can you imagine the despair we would feel? Where would we find hope? Thank you so much for posting this. Hope you and your family have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.

kaycarlton said...

Further up and further in.

Psalm 30:
I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

As for me, I said in my prosperity,
I shall never be moved."
By your favor, O LORD,
you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.
To you, O LORD, I cry,
and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
"What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me!
O LORD, be my helper!"

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Katie said...

Mandi- Such a beautiful post. I love that Rich Mullins song as well. Truly enjoyed reading your reflection son this year...

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