On a more serious note, I haven't written in a while. Not because I didn't want to, I love to write, I actually yearn to write; but more because I let the enemy steal the joy from me. Over the last 10 years or so Derrick and I have journeyed through life together in the ministry...the good, the bad and the ugly. If you've followed any of my posts, you've read about some of those good and bad times. In the midst of it all, I believe I became cynical. I didn't want to write because I didn't want my life on a page for all to read. In a way, just wanted to be left alone. I realize now that I totally succumbed to the enemies schemes. That was just where the good 'ol devil himself wanted me. Well, I'm putting the past behind me and moving forward and plan to write, whether anyone reads or cares or not. :) I guess if anything I say about life, marriage, children, frustrations, joys, ministry, trials or celebrations can help just one person, it's worth putting my life out there!
I've decided that there is no better time than Thanksgiving to realize the riches I have in the friendships that God has given me. There are friends that I can truly say that I have had since I was little bitty. No, we don't see each other that much anymore in person, but thanks to that crazy thing called Facebook, I am able to keep up with them and I know that if I ever needed them they would be there with a listening ear in a heart beat to pray for and encourage me. Other friends I have gained through the years of school and ministry and some friendships that I have clung to as they have been my life support in difficult times. New friends that I have recently made that I look forward to growing old with. Each of you know who you are and I want you to know I thank God for your friendships and I will never take your friendship for granted!
As I was having a conversation with someone today about a stroke victim and how that person would forever be disabled because of this, I couldn't help but flash back to three years ago at this very time. My mom, Derrick and the kids and I sat around a dining room table for Thanksgiving, trying to make the most of a restaurant bought meal (which I am very thankful for btw), as my Daddy laid in a hospital bed from suffering a major brain aneurysm just a few weeks prior. How can I take for granted that the doctors said he shouldn't even be alive and I sat with him today without even one little sign of his stroke shining through. As well as the strength that God filtered through my sweet Mama during this time...something that I will never forget and will always see God's faithfulness portrayed though her in this situation. I thank You and praise You for the Godly parents that You entrusted me to and I thank you God for every minute You allow me to have my family here on this earth! Each moment is treasured and never taken for granted!
I'm thankful that my brother's family is in a happy place! That my sister-in-law is Martha Stewart in disguise and hosted an army at her house today for Thanksgiving meal. That my brother is faithfully serving You as he leads people to You and mentors those in their home church; and that their four boys are growing in You, marrying sweet precious young women, and living out their dreams.
I'm thankful that I consider my in-laws to be two of my best friends. I love them to death and am so blessed to call them "Mom & Dad." Now, from stories that I've heard about in-laws, I know I'm not ever to take that for granted! ;)
I'm thankful that even though I don't get to see my other sister-in-law and brother-in-law very much, I know that God blessed me with another sis and bro and they would be there for me in a heart beat if I needed them as I would be for them. Thankful that I have watched my nephew grow up into a successful musician and so proud of his accomplishments!
As Derrick and I just had one of our "family talks" with our 6 kiddos tonight, reminding them about respecting others, gratefulness and living their lives to the best for Jesus, I sat there and looked into each of their eyes and was reminded of the awe of how much of a blessing each of these children are. I prayed all of my life for God to allow me to be a mother, and even though they came much later than MY plans, and even though they drive me and each other crazy at times, they are 6 of the hugest blessings I have ever had!!!! I will never take for granted that I have 6 proofs of God's amazing love and faithfulness and I adore each and every one of them.
And lastly, but most importantly, I thank You God for loving me. Just little 'ol me. Despite my shortcomings, my failures, my doubts, my fears. Despite the times I've strayed thinking my ways were best. Despite the times I have placed other things, even the things that You have given to me, of higher importance to You. Despite my busyness in the lists I thought I had to get done instead of spending time with You. Despite it all, You have loved me just the same. Your love for me has never wavered. You are the same yesterday, today and forever. You are faithful and good. Your mercies are new every morning. No matter how ugly this world gets, I know that the victory is Yours and I have the privilege of being on the winning team...and for this, Jesus, I am eternally gratefully and I will never take it for granted!