Thankful Heart

‘I have a thankful heart that You have given me
And it can only come from You’

Know that the Lord is God. It is He Who made us, and not we ourselves. We are His people and the sheep of His field.
Go into His gates giving thanks and into His holy place with praise. Give thanks to Him. Honor His name. For the Lord is good. His loving-kindness lasts forever.
And He is faithful to all people and to all their children-to-come.
(Psalm 100:3-5 NLT)

The definition of thankful: grateful and appreciative, aware and appreciative of a benefit, expressive of gratitude: a thankful smile.

Are you thankful? Do you thank God for your blessings every day? More than any other time in my life, this past year I have chosen to daily in my quiet time, in my prayer time, in my moments of overwhelming joy and agonizing despair, I have chosen to thank God for blessing me. No matter what life throws my way, I will not go through the day without thanking God for blessing me. Sometimes in my darkest moments, through my tears the only words that come to my mouth are, “Thank You, Lord!” and only because I have this hope, this peace that somehow, some way He will take care of me, and He will provide for my needs. I may not be able to see it with my eyes or touch it with my hands, but I know in my heart, His provision is certain.

I am so thankful today for Ryan, my amazing, gifted, gentle and loving husband. What an extraordinary journey our life has been together! We are celebrating 17 years of marriage next month and I have to call it an awesome achievement for us to have stuck with it thus far. How easy it would have been for either one of us to give up instead of sticking with one another through the ups and downs life has handed us thus far. It seems all too common to hear about so many marriages ending these days for one reason or another. With each day, with each difficulty we face together, we can agree that we have been strengthened, we are more certain of our love for one another and God’s plan for our lives together.

I am so thankful for my children, first my sweet daughter Rylee. What an amazing young woman you are! I am almost in tears to think back just this past year and realize how much you have had to endure, how you have handled the experiences we have been through. You have had to endure some very difficult, stressful times in our home that we have chosen to work through rather than attempt to hide from you. At your age, there is not much that we could hide from you because you are painfully aware of what is going on because it affects the entire family. I am so thankful my prayers for you have been answered! Over and over again, I see God transforming, strengthening, maturing you into this incredible person with such a gift for music, for being such a dedicated and hard working student, for loving your family so fiercely! You are such a beautiful person, inside and out, and I am so proud of you and how God is using you for His purpose. He is going to do some wonderful things through You, I have no doubt!

For my sweet boy, Bailey. You are such a cool kid! And so incredibly clever! I am absolutely filled with joy because of you and your firecracker personality. That personality and your gift for music and drama are certain to carry you to the stage in more ways than one I believe. You have such a kindness, such a big heart for others, for your family, the love and compassion just shines through your handsome face. I am amazed at the things that you come up with, your creativity, your wise cracks, those moments when I can’t contain my laughter at what you’ve just said or done! There is never a dull moment with you! I am so proud of you for how you have endured this past year as well. Like your sister, you are old enough to have been very aware of the stresses we have been through and some of it has been so much more painful for you to experience. I have felt such deep sadness at times to watch you struggle with it all, but as you have come through it and found the peace God gives, and realized the love your family has for you, it brings me such a depth of relief and peace. You are becoming such an incredible young man, and I know God has an amazing plan for your life. Hang on buddy, the ride is sure to be an amazing one!

For my little man, AJ. There are no words to describe the joy in my heart and soul just to see your sweet smile, those dimples, those sweet pink cheeks! You are growing up way too fast, I wish I could keep you little for a lot longer! You have been my little bear, my cuddly comfort in ways you will probably not understand until many years from now. Thankfully, this past year has not affected you as much as your siblings because of your age and the inability to comprehend the depth of what has occurred. In some ways that is a comfort to me because you won’t be able to remember some of the most difficult moments we have been through. I see in you a focus, an independence that is sure to take you far one day as a young man. I love to watch you pour all of your attention in to what you are doing, whether it is a game, a homework project, making me “dinner” while I am cooking our dinner, or reading a great book together just you and me. When your eyes light up, my heart lights up! Some of my favorite moments of the day are when you rush to hug me and tell me “Bye Mom!” before I head out the door to work every morning, or when you ask me “Can I sleep in your bed tonight?”. I am so proud of you and I know you are sure to become the young man God intends for you to be.

For my sweet baby girl, Chloe. What a joy and what a blessing you are! God timed your arrival just perfectly because there have been moments this past year when one of the only things that has brought joy to my day is to come home to you! You, like your siblings, have been a wonderful baby! I have been so blessed to have four wonderful babies! You have been the icing on the cake, the one that has rounded out this family just perfectly I believe. You’re picking up on everything a bit sooner but I know that is to be expected with 3 older siblings to keep up with! You are the most vocal of the bunch, and you keep us all in stitches by some of the expressions that come over your face. You are a joy, you make us all laugh and to hear you laugh fills the house with more fun than can be contained! I am amazed by God’s creation of you, how He has formed you so perfectly and uniquely. I am in awe every day to watch as you grow, change, reveal who you are to us in your sweet personality!

My heart is full, I am so incredibly thankful for what God has given me! There is no need to dwell on what happened in the past, but to move forward knowing we have learned so much, we will continue to learn from what God has for us to do right now, and we will look forward with great expectation to what He has for us in the future. God is good, all the time, in every circumstance, and we will not be moved or shaken by the uncertainties of this life. We have our hope and our peace in Christ, and we will stand confidently upon the promises He has given us.
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