Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Something to be Thankful For...

Isn't it amazing to look back and think that all of our days were planned for us, before we were even born?  That every moment of our lives was perfectly orchestrated so every piece would weave together into the life we have today.  As I reflect upon my life, all I can do is be thankful and praise God for the beautiful life He's provided for me.  And I am thankful that He's opened my eyes to see the needs of others, as a perfect reminder of how blessed I truly am.

Many times we question why certain things happen at certain times.  We don't understand hurt, loss and pain.  We cling to the hope that "there is a reason for everything" and that someday we will come to know why.  That the purpose will become clear.  There are still many things I do not understand, but I am now able to reverse my thinking and find some reason to be thankful for the hard times.
For 27 years, this was the most important man in my life.  My father is the true description of a hero.  Maybe he wasn't famous (although sometimes I think he was, at least in the town I grew up in!  I don't meet many people there who didn't know him!) but he was the world to me.  At times I feel cheated that dad never met Andrew.  That he isn't still around to see me be a mother.  But I know he'd be proud.  Everyday I try to live to make my dad proud, and I know he's watching me and smiling.  I realize now that I was actually blessed to have a father who I can call my hero.  For so many that isn't the case.  True, our time together was shorter than I would have liked, but those 27 years gave me a lifetime worth of memories and things to be thankful for.

And I don't call it a coincidence that my dad left this Earth just one month after I married the man of my dreams.

 Dad walked me down the aisle, and into Craig's loving arms.  It was almost as if he needed to wait until he knew I would be taken care of.  He knew Craig was that man for me.  Craig is like dad in so many ways.  I'm so thankful.

I like to believe that dad picked Andrew out just for us.  That he worked together with God, to create this perfect little person to bless our lives beyond belief.  I know dad met Andrew in heaven before he sent him to us.  Andrew was dad's little way to continue to teach me so many things in life.

Andrew, my precious little miracle.  You have taught me so many things.  In three short years I have learned more than I ever thought possible.  I am so thankful you were brought into your daddy's and my life.  You are on this Earth for a very special purpose, and it is my prayer every day that you will find happiness in this life and that all your dreams will come true.  Your daddy and I will be there every step of the way, cheering you on.

This is one of our very favorite early pictures of Andrew in the NICU.  This was taken a few days before his open heart surgery and is one of very few pictures we have of him before his scar.  It is so odd for me to look at this picture and not see that mark.  That beautiful scar that is such a symbol of who Andrew is.  The constant reminder to us of how blessed and grateful we are for his life.  The scar that has opened our eyes to the world around us.  To see beyond the surface and to know what it truly means to have faith...and hope.

Andrew had a slow start in life.  Things didn't come easy for him (they still don't always).  He didn't walk until he was 21 months old...

But I'm so thankful he can walk...

He makes unbelievable messes...
But I'm so thankful he can...
(and even more thankful that he can feed himself now!)
It took almost three years before he learned how to do it.  But he learned. 

I'm so thankful for the support our family and friends have offered to us.  They are God's way of placing people in our lives to help us through those tough times.

I'm beyond thankful for my mother.  I honestly don't know how I'd survive without her.  From the moment dad left this life, my mom became my only parent.  That was such a scary thought to me.  Not a day goes by that I don't talk to my mom.  Whether it is to ask her a "cooking question" or just tell her something funny Andrew did, she is always there for me.  She will drop everything at a moment's notice to be there for me, and I am so thankful.

While it isn't always easy to take the hard times life has offered us, and try to find something positive...it is a little easier to find that in the midst of those hard times...there's always something to be thankful for.

"I will thank you Lord, with all my heart;  I will tell of all the marvelous things You have done.  I will be filled with joy because of You.  I will sing praises to Your name, O most High."  Psalm 9:1-2

Happy Thanksgiving!


Sundie said...

Tears! ...we share a similar story! I lost my dad 6 months after I was married and share the same pain as you... It would be nice to see the relationships that would be shared between Grandpa and the Grandkids!
Your dad seems like a great HERO... and I believe he left that Heroic trait in Andrew! Thanks for sharing your story! Have a great Thanksgiving!
Sundie & Sydnie

Jessica said...

I hope that your Thursday is filled with many more great memories and things to be thankful for! Enjoy your week, Heart Hugs, Love, and Blessings, Jessica

Stefenie said...

Jen!!!!! What an amazing heartfelt post you shared with us. It definitely pulled at my heart strings as I read it!

Your dad sounds like he was such a wonderful figure in your life and I too believe that he had a hand in placing sweet Andrew in your life. What an amazing gift he gave to you!

Stef, Ryan, Wyatt and Logan

Anonymous said...

...and I am thankful to have such a positive role model to show me how a classroom should run and to post such heartfelt messages as I progress through pregnancy, awaiting my own little miracle!
Happy Thanksgiving!
amy :) (and Simon and baby Liam)

The Carter's said...

Beautiful post Jen!

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I am thankful to have you as a friend!

Big heart hugs,

Olivia said...

What a beautiful post, Jen. You have a way with words. Thank you so much for sharing. Your dad sounds like he was a wonderful man.
We do have so much to be thankful for!

"Dove" said...

Beautiful post....and very beautiful little boy. You do indeed have much to be thankful for, and how precious that you recognize that, even on the days that you have to look harder to see it. Your post was precious.

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