SO Thankful Replay…Day 23

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As I look back over this past year  – it’s been a difficult one for our family for sure…..

Speaking transparently – we dealt with a lot of loss this year. Learning to work in Haiti without my brother has been difficult. Though I know he is SO happy where he is now – I’m having to learn how to do so many things on my own….things I never had to think about before.

Watching my dad’s health decline – seeing the Parkinson’s Disease become stronger and him weaker – it’s hard. I think you can tell from my previous blogs that I think a lot about my dad. I have a lot of my papa in me. I have the same heart for ministry in Haiti as he does. I have that same fight. I’m realizing more and more that my time with him is becoming more and more limited. I’m not quite ready to face that.

This spring our partnership with one of our greatest & dearest supporters came to an end. Though we still remain very close to the congregation – we also know that the distance will only grow when you can’t see each other all the time in Haiti.

This summer Rosie had an unbelievable episode where I thought we might lose her for good. Her mind was just gone. She didn’t know her name or her age. She just stared off into space. This lasted for a few weeks and was frightening. They believe she had a mini-stroke. Honestly she’s not been herself all year and this didn’t help. She still is missing her joy. I miss seeing that smile….it’s began to wither away.

This summer we found out we were pregnant but lost the babies a month later. Though we are pretty happy with the number of kids we have now – cuz there’s a lot of them – we can’t help but feel cheated somehow. There’s this gap that’s been created – this large gaping hole –  that we can’t seem to fill.

Asher’s seizures returned this summer – we thought he had outgrown them. But we still struggle to keep them under control.

Then of course the boat sank in September! Yeah – I think you’ve heard me speak enough about that – no need to go into those details all over again.

Let’s just say that this year didn’t go like I had planned. Yesterday I wrote about how I’m thankful for the clouds because without them the sunrises don’t seem as dynamic. It’s true as much as it hurts…you can’t know the goodness of each day without having experienced the sorrow as well.

Though our partnership with one church came to an end – another church stepped up that same month and built our church! Then in September – seemingly out of nowhere – another church came to the Mole for the first time. This new partnership has allowed us to finish up some much needed construction projects that we’ve been praying about for years.

You see without the loss of something – you can’t know how amazing & incredible God is when He blesses you.

Our boat sank – and I may never quite get over it. But God has nearly doubled our blessings through it. My parents said there’s so much stuff for their mission and ours – they don’t know how they will fit it in one u-haul! That’s pretty impressive.

Though I still can’t wrap my head around the losses Jose & I have personally suffered – I have been able to reach out to women through my clinic who have undergone the same losses.

You see it’s so much bigger than looking through this year and noticing the good & bad….. it’s about looking at EACH DAY – and seeing the goodness that it brings. It’s forcing yourself out of your own depression – and seeing the beauty that’s all around.

I shared below that my dad would wake us up every morning and say – “Wake up! Wake Up! It’s a BIG day! Something special is gonna happen today! Can’t wait for you to come home from school and tell me about it”!

We need to wake-up with those same expectations. We need to wake up and believe that it’s a BIG day. We need to be looking for that special thing that happened today. Yes we may cry ourselves to sleep but when the sunrises – our sorrow needs to turn to joy….simply by the fact we made it through the night.

When I sink into depression it’s hard for me to snap out of it. I may battle it my whole life. But the biggest thing I can do to fight it – is to surround myself with people & community. To look for the blessings & see how God has provided for us. To see the day for what it is – a gift from God.

So today I’m thankful that there is goodness in each day. I’m thankful that when I purposefully look for it  – God has something great to show me.

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SO Thankful…Day 23

As December is now approaching I can’t help but reflect over the last year. I’ve been thinking about the challenges we’ve faced this year. Here are just a few…

  • We started 2011 with $1000/month loss as long-time supporters fell on hard times.
  • I spent 8 days in Miami Hospital getting blood-clots removed. I was told it wasn’t a matter of “IF” but “WHEN” I was going to have a serious stroke.
  • My father had quadruple bypass surgery – over 12 blockages.
  • My son had heat-related seizures.
  • Rosie was officially diagnosed with significant developmental delay.
  • My children needed counseling this fall.
  • Many layers of darkness in the Mole were exposed this year and the realities are absolutely heart-breaking.
  • Then as our family’s support leveled off – we lose two more supporters and we’re ending the year much like we began it.

It’s definitely been a roller-coaster  – emotionally, physically, and financially. I can’t wait for 2011 to be over! That’s for sure.

So here’s the crazy thing. Last night while I was laying in bed I felt like God was speaking to me. He was telling me to be thankful for 2011 and for the challenges that presented. Huh? I probably laid there a good 30 minutes in disbelief.

But the more I laid there trying to ignore it –  the more I really thought about it. So much so that I decided at midnight to get up and write – so that these thoughts would be fresh in my mind.

Here is what I’ve come up with:

The daily challenges I face with my ministry & with my family actually have made me stronger. It has built up my confidence level to heights I have never imagined as I claim victory over each hurdle.  I always feel in the moment – I can’t do this anymore. But what I’ve realized time and time again this year is – – YES. I. CAN.

There are normally two types of people involved with my challenges. You see there are some who fight to make my life easier. They go out of their way to help me. They sacrifice their time, energy, and resources to help fill in the gap. They encourage me in my 9th hour and pray for me when I feel alone. They’re part of the reason I can claim victory over the challenge.

But as I began to think last night – I am even thankful for the more challenging people I have to deal with too! You see they push me to exercise my tolerance and patience. When they stretch me – they actually help me realize the GRACE that my Father in Heaven must have for me. How can I not extend that to them when God has offered that to me time and time again?

***

When we were little my dad had a special way of waking us up. I’m totally serious. Each morning dad would yell into our room – “Wake up! Wake Up! It’s a BIG day! Something special is gonna happen today! Can’t wait for you to come home from school and tell me about it”!

You would think after all those years we would realize that not every day is going to be a great day! In fact – some of them really sucked!! Ha! But there was something about the way he woke us up – we really did believe that something good was going to happen! And oddly enough – when dad would ask us at the end of the day what that good thing was – we ALWAYS had an answer.

God reminded me of that last night. Why aren’t I more excited each day? Even the worst day has something good in it! It has to.

Each day allows us to experience a new beginning. For all the headaches and heartaches I accumulate throughout the day –  I know I can look forward to a new tomorrow. For each morning that greets me – I can look forward to new possibilities and new experiences. Each day brings the promise of goodness. A new day often refreshes my perspective –  I no longer feel as jaded as I did the day before.

When it comes right down to it – there are so many things to be thankful for EACH DAY – even on a bad day. Even on a terribly bad day! Even on the worst day ever! AND unfortunately I often fail to appreciate them.

Why was it that when my dad would ask me about my day when I was young- I would look back and come up with something great that happened! But when you ask me about my day now – I’ll tell you “it was the worst day”.

Something that God just yelled at me is – WAKE UP! Every day has something special in it! Choose to look for it!

Today I started thinking about all the blessings that I have received! Today I am promising myself to be more mindful – and especially thankful – for all of them as I wait for a new day.

So today – oddly enough –  I am thankful for the challenges I face –  and the goodness each day holds!

For proving I CAN DO IT and REALIZING Each Day Has Its Blessings!

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