Gratitude

Gratitude.

It may very well be my most overused word of 2014. Days have passed, time has moved forward, but there remains an overwhelming swell within my soul that cannot make it through a single day without bubbling up and making itself known. Even when there is no one around to hear, the whispers of my heart make their way to my lips and I thank my Father…for the zillionth time for the miracle He has worked in my life.

So it should come as no surprise, I suppose, that on this Thanksgiving Eve especially I am overcome with it. I fail miserably to find a word that fully expresses the depth of my emotion, so inevitably the same word emerges time and time again…gratitude. Plain and simple.

There are so many dimensions to the story that has redefined me, that I frequently balk at the task of capturing it in words on a page. Just as your appreciation for the beauty of a prism deepens with every turn of the wrist, so it is with me. Every time I carefully unpack the memories that have become some of my greatest treasures, God illuminates a new angle of those familiar moments and leaves me speechless.

I’m just so thankful, I don’t know what to do with myself. If you had told me years ago that one day I would nearly die in an operating room, listening to the doctors’ helpless voices as they struggled to invent a procedure to save my life, I would have been terrified. If you went on to say that I would come to value that experience as one of my greatest gifts, I would have thought you were a crazy person. But so it is.

On that cold night in March, God took a faith that I professed and showed me His power first hand. He took the scripture that had been planted in my heart and brought life to those words in a way that I never could have imagined. The promise in His Word that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us leapt off the page and into my life. He carried me. In my darkest, most helpless hours, He focused my eyes on Him and piece by piece put me back together.

I laid on a table watching my vitals slip away and was completely at peace…not because I was ok with dying, but because I knew God had me. There is a song by Mandisa that I can no longer listen to without brimming with tears. I loved it before, but now the words echo the cries of my heart,

“He is with you in the ICU when the doctors don’t know what to do and it scares you to the core, He is with you.”

I sing this song with joyful tears because while I always understood it to be true, I KNOW it to be true now. I was there…that was me…and God showed up.

The nurses couldn’t help but remark on their shock at my calm. Outside of my epidural, there were no drugs. No sedatives. Nothing to alter my mental state in the slightest or numb me from the reality playing out around me. “How was I keeping it together?” They wanted to know. What I was unable to tell them in the moment, I long to tell them now. I wasn’t. God was. Fully awake and fully focused on Him, I was acutely aware that He held the broken bits of my body together and I felt wrapped in His abiding, profound peace.

Three hours of surgery and a single scripture.

“So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

A scripture that reminded me of God’s incredible faithfulness and one that I shared on social media 3 months to the day PRIOR to the night I would need it most.   God didn’t just show up on March 3. He didn’t take a break from heaven to check in and rescue me. He was there all along. Three months prior, He knew what I would be facing and He planted that scripture deep in my heart so that when I needed it, it would already be there. The fact that it’s documented as three months exactly is just icing on the cake. It’s as though He wanted to make sure I didn’t miss the fact that He was there, preparing me far in advance before my greatest trial.

“It’s a miracle from God.” At the end of my surgery, the doctors used those exact words to say what I already knew to be true. They couldn’t explain how I was saved, outside of divine intervention. God showed up. Not just for me, but for everyone who was there to witness it.

Gratitude.

Not just for the fact that I live to see another day, but for the fact that every day is now framed with the understanding that I will never walk alone. That just as He orchestrated events and carried me through this harrowing ordeal, He is even now, preparing me for everything that lies ahead. I don’t have to fear…I don’t have to wonder…for the rest of my life, I walk in tremendous freedom, knowing that I won’t live a single day outside of His will for me, and that He will always see me through.

And for that, I am forever awash in gratitude…plain and simple.

Mama’s child

Oh Lovebug, in the scheme of letters and posts directed to you, this one is a little silly but I can’t help but write about it!!  My child, you LOVE to organize!!!!  As I write those words, I am literally grinning from ear to ear thinking of the countless moments that have led me to make such an assertion.  For months now, you have loved putting items back in their proper places.  The teacher in me beamed at the development of categorization in your brain, but now it has grown into so much more.  You close doors that are left open.  You rearrange items in our cabinets.  You pick up clothes you find around the house and carry them into the laundry room.  It’s enough to make me swoon!!

Last night, I was getting everything ready for bath/bedtime when I came across this scene on your toy shelf.  You had very meticulously arranged Dexter and one of your “guys” beneath the covered deck on Noah’s Ark.  I was so touched by the sweetness of it, I had to snap a picture.

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When I met you in the bathroom and told you that it was time to hop in the tub, you rushed past me.  I realized you had a random car in your hands and knew exactly what you were doing.  You wanted to be sure to put it away before bath time.  I followed you into your room and watched as you returned the car to its proper place.  Before racing back to the bath, you made sure to nestle Dexter back into the driver’s seat of his digger and put your “guy” away as well!!  I was covered up in joy over this little moment.  Your attention to detail and follow through is just exquisite!!

Another mom at My Gym yesterday laughed when her boy threw blocks across the room and you hurried over, scooped them up, and returned them to the block pile.  She said her oldest son was the same way and that he continues to love organizing things today at age 9.  That made me wonder…will you?

I am going to share one final example and then I will end this, as I am sure that you are rolling your eyes at what I find so impossibly endearing.  Last week we spent time in St Simons and had guests staying at the beach house.  One of the gentlemen used the restroom and after returning to the group, you walked into the bathroom and promptly put down the seat he had left up!!  My boy!!!

I know it probably seems so silly that I am this amazed by all of this, but this is one of those times where I can actually see me in you.  You are SO wonderfully, beautifully, perfectly like your Daddy in so many ways.  Your hunger for adventure, your boldness, your ability to make us laugh, your impish grin, you truly are your father’s child and I couldn’t be happier.  I love your Daddy with every cell in my body, so naturally I am over the moon that you are so much like him.  It warms my heart, though, to find a glimmer that you and I share.  I’m not sure if this is a phase or a part of your permanent wiring, but for the moment, I am delighting in it.

You are such a treasure.  Every day that I am blessed to spend with you, I thank God over and over.  I feel forever privileged to have all of this time with you–I love you more than you will ever know!!!!

AML,

Mama