Usually on Thanksgiving Eve I post my thank you list. Well, this year is a bit different. Sure I could sit here and list out several things or people I'm thankful for this year (and if you're a facebook friend, you've seen my daily "Today I'm thankful for..." posts) but this year I'm basically thankful for one all-encompassing thing: God's faithfulness.
It was a little over a year ago when I started Beth Moore's study on Esther - and if you haven't done this study yet, PLEASE DO! It remains my all-time favorite of hers. Anyways, I remember watching Beth speak in one of her videos and feeling envious of how close she seems to God. Not that God is closer to some than he is others - the bible says he doesn't play favorites - but I believe Beth has asked God to be her everything, to walk so closely with her that without prayer, without the Word, her life would turn upside down. And I wanted that kind of relationship with God. I remember asking God to draw me so near to him that I could see him at work in my life, for real.
Let me tell you. He answered. Time and time again I've seen his hand at work. But it hasn't always been the way I thought he'd answer.
Its no secret that I'm a stay-at-home-mom. I love that I get to be home with our kids every day. But there are days I really wish I was the one getting up, going out into the world of adults with grown-up conversations and lunch dates and coming home to dinner and laundry done. (In Drew's defense, this totally happens on the semi-rare occasion I'm gone while he's home with the kids.) And I definitely wish I was getting a pay check when it comes time to review the good ol' budget. Finances have not been as great this year yet we continue to trust God with them by being faithful in our tithes and offerings. And time and time again God has met our every need. Not that checks have magically appeared in the mail (although that has happened before) He answered that prayer in other ways. When we were preparing for Anniston's arrival there was a "Mommy/Annie Wish List" posted on our fridge of items I just wanted to have before she was born. Things like some nursing tanks, a new breast pump, a moby wrap, new burp cloths, long-sleeve onesies, etc. God provided all of those things through random donations of many different people. A friend at church loaned me her pump, another friend loaned me some nursing tanks without even knowing I needed them, my sister-in-law was given a wrap she didn't plan on using and graciously gave it to me. My friends threw a surprise shower for me and had managed to sneak a peek at that list and got most of the items on it in addition to a huge diaper cake, some wipes and other necessities for our baby girl. Because of those donations we were able to still meet our needs financially - because we weren't spending money on those items - and I still got to have some wants too. "He will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches..."
As you all know Anniston's birth did not come as routinely as we expected. And while I was in the hospital being monitored for my blood pressure I kept praying that God would keep her healthy and that she would do well in the delivery. He did answer my prayer, but it wasn't an "As you wish my child". She didn't do so hot, to be honest. All the nurses kept referring to her as "really sick" - which I hated - but at the time she was the baby who needed the most help in the special care nursery. But that doesn't mean God wasn't faithful. HELLO?! He made sure the hospital I delivered in, the hospital on the south side that had NO previous nicu capabilities at all, got a ventilator a mere 6 days before our baby was born because He knew she would need it. He arranged for Christ-following doctors to be the ones on call to take care of her during those first critical hours of her life, who made the decision to give her the surfactant and played a huge role in turning her breathing around. He was with her. He was with me. I knew people were praying for her and I knew they were praying for me because quite frankly, I wasn't freaking out. "Everyday Bethany" would have been freaking out in that situation. True story. I'm a worrier, I get it honestly and while I pray against it daily... it happens. But I physically felt those prayers while Annie was in the hospital and I was sending out specific prayer requests and one by one those were answered. God's glory was all over that Special Care Nursery. He is faithful.
Right after Annie came home I struggled a lot with some baby blues. I was hormonal, thats a given, but I was also dealing with grief over not having the birth experience I was prepared for and struggling to adjust to life with 3 kids. I was praying against post-partum depression and had a few of my closest friends praying with me. And each day got better but in the midst of this was my first MOPS meeting since Annie had been born. I had every excuse already to go as to why I wasn't going. First of all, it starts at 9am. To most of you, thats not a problem but since my kids don't wake up till 9 and I was just up at 6 with Anniston I was determined just to go back to sleep. But something told me to get my silly butt up and go. The speaker that day spoke right to my heart. Right now I can't even tell you what it was she said specifically but I just felt God speaking to me. And to think I almost missed out on it because I wanted to sleep! He's done that several times over the last few months.
I could go on and on but the bottom line is this. God is near. He's so near that He knows your every thought, He sees your fear, your worry, your tears. He is faithful. And when I say that I don't mean "He is faithful to make everything turn out the way you want it." What I mean is that He is faithful to show you His glory in the midst of those trials and will bring you safely to the other side. There may be heartache - but He will heal that broken heart and make you whole. There may be suffering - but He will be your strength.
I'm so thankful that as I look back on the last year I see God's hand all over our lives. In the big things, in the teeny tiny little mundane details of my everyday life. He is there. And He is faithful.
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