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Monday, December 2, 2013

A Grateful Heart

As the Thanksgiving season is drawing to a close, and Christmas will soon be upon us, I wanted to reflect on all that God has blessed my family with.

It's a long standing family joke to say, "There are just so many things. I don't know how I will choose." This is usually said with nervous anxiety from being put on the spot in front of others. Your mind can tend to freeze up, and you draw a blank. You know there is much to be thankful for, you are having trouble voicing the words that your heart often feels.

I don't mean it lightly when I say there are so many things I have to be thankful for. It would take hours for me to write down and share how truly blessed I am. My cup has overflowed with blessings. God's love will pursue me all the days of my life.

Every Thanksgiving we sit down with my extended family and spend hours talking about the goodness of God. You may have the tradition of football, movies, or games. We have the tradition to share what's on our hearts. This can literally take hours and hours to accomplish. Every year we take turns sharing our top five things that God has done in the past year. We don't share our five all at once; we take turns going around the room. Our thankfulness began somewhere around five thirty, and ended after ten at night.

It's a breath of fresh air to see how God works in our lives. He is always up to something good and something new. It's up to us to recognize his handiwork.

I neglected to get permission this year from my extended family to share their five things. This year you will have to settle for my family's thankful heart. I know you won't be disappointed. God is AMAZING!


  • In January God gave me the word STRETCH. I had my ideas of how He was going to do that in me, He obviously had other plans. It's unbelievable how God knows exactly how everything is going to work together and He knew in January that it was going to be hard. Even with the difficult times I can say it has really been a good year. I probably wouldn't have chosen to go through some of the things that I did, but now that it's over and done with I can see exactly what God was up to. He had my best interest in mind. My faith has been made stronger and I have relied on Him more than ever before. There were several times this year that my cry was Jeremiah 17:14, "God, pick up the pieces. Put me back together again. You are my praise!"

  • I am really thankful for children and the opportunity that I've had in the last year to work with them. I am so thankful for Compassion and World Vision. The relationship that I’ve been able to start has been amazing. From the very beginning Aberu was very special to me, and I pleaded with God that I would have a special relationship with her. In the past 5 months, I have received 10 letters already. I am overwhelmed by God. I am also really thankful for Yeabsira and Meyli. I even told them that we were going to be sharing things that we were thankful for and that I would be sharing them as one of the things. I have loved to see my children praying for these kids every day. Not a day goes by that we forget them, and it’s always my kids who remind me.

    At the beginning, I wanted to adopt more children and I had to restrain myself. God told me to wait until the end of the summer before getting more. I made a deal that I would wait until my birthday, and then I would adopt one as a personal gift. But when my birthday came around, I didn’t feel that pull anymore. I was content to wait, and thought maybe at Christmas I would adopt a new child. After the first week of school, I knew why God told me, "Wait." We met neighbors that seemed to really want to be part of our family. We had our own real live children that we could talk to about God and show kindness to. God’s timing is so perfect. If we had met these children last year when they moved to our block, I would have probably dismissed them. Now that my children are all in school, I have extra time and energy. I think that's just one of the ways that God has been stretching me this year. In all honesty, at times it's really exhausting to have extra kids in my home but also it’s been very rewarding.

  • I'm thankful for different things for each of my children. With Ariel, I'm thankful for the extra attention that I've gotten to give with the Bible studies we've had together on Thursday nights. I think we've gotten to know each other better and our relationship has gotten stronger. This year I've gotten to know Gabriel a lot better. He's shared his troubles with me. I like that he comes and talks to me. I think a lot of it happened when he went to the hospital and we had those three days together. With Zech, I think it's been really neat to watch him learning to read and learning site words and going to Kinder College and watching him sound out words. On the subject of stretching, I know that the issue with Gabriel may not seem like a good thing, but God has been using it in all of our lives to make us grow.

  • I'm thankful for the financial blessings God has provided. God has definitely been stretching me in this area! We had a "Summer of Unfortunate Events". Through it all we may have had a lot of things go wrong, but I don't feel like it was a bad summer. It was very memorable and it all fit together. Towards the end we would laugh about what went wrong. We have had many unexpected bills come up and every time God has provided. I don't know why I ever worry over money. This past month has been a huge stress for me with all the medical bills we have accrued. Gabriel’s trip to the hospital has totaled so far over $5000 from Doctors and we haven't even gotten the hospital portion. I was physically making myself ill worrying over it. But God spoke truth and the fear vanished. This trip to the hospital was one of the best things that could have happened to Gabe. He has had freedom from lies that were holding him back. He has confidence again, and he feels loved. That to me is priceless. I don't care what the charge is, I will be happy to pay it because Gabe's happiness is worth it to me! God has been stretching me to a new level of trust.
    *Update* Insurance paid the entire hospital bill. We didn't owe a penny! Thank you, God!

  • I want to say I am really thankful that all of my children are in school. I have been able to rejuvenate myself. After 12 years of taking care of children, I didn't realize how stressful it was. I love my children dearly, but everyone needs a break sometimes. I wasn't getting that. The past few months have given me so much patience and energy. I used to take naps almost every single day; since I've had so much "me time" the need has disappeared. This of course has not all been easy. It was terribly difficult to let go of my last little baby. It still happens to me where I forget and go to talk to Zech and he's not there. The tears still come. Through it all I have been stretched and I am so excited for this next phase of my life. I have free time to pursue the dreams I have, and I can accomplish my goals much easier. I am free to be me. God knows exactly what we need, when we need it!

  • Titus

  • I'm thankful to God for protecting my family so much this year. He's had plenty of opportunities to do so.

  • I'm thankful to God for all of the opportunities that He gives. Specifically referring to the new A/C and heating.

  • I'm thankful to God for the ways that He's provided for me and my family this year. Unexpected bonuses at work, etc.

  • I'm really thankful to God for providing the job that I have in such a miraculous manner. He's shown me how important it is to have something that gives me a feeling of accomplishment.

  • I'm thankful to God for the family He's given me.


  • I am thankful for my community group because I've gotten really close to them.

  • I'm thankful for my family. Because they're always at home and I get to play with Gabe and Zech and talk to Mom and Dad.

  • I'm thankful for Valentine. She's really old and I've had her for most of my life and the doctor said she was not going to live very long. But she's lived for a very long time. She doesn't even bite me anymore, but she falls off my hand a lot.

  • I'm thankful for school because I've got a lot of friends and I get to meet new people and I learn a lot and stuff and its fun.

  • I'm thankful for all my stuff, like my phone, iPod, house, and stuff. Because I know that a lot of people have to go without.


  • I am thankful that I have been able to get by and recover from what the kids at school have been doing. Grandma taught me a while ago how to pray and give it to God. I gave to God the bad thoughts and memories.

  • I am thankful for the opportunity to publish my second book that I've been working really hard on.

  • I am thankful for food and how tasty it is. (Takes a bite of pie) Amanda said "you're not kidding."

  • I am thankful for all of the organs in my body. Thump-thump. I am thankful for my chance to learn a whole lot. If I hadn't gone to school for K-2nd grade, I don't think life would have any meaning at all. I love reading, and without school, I wouldn't be able to read.

  • I'm thankful that God gave me an idea for a new novel.


  • I am thankful for God in my heart. It makes me proud because I like God. He's my friend.

  • I'm thankful for the states. Because they have presidents in it. (Told the story of Luke Washington and the Pilgrims)

  • I'm thankful that I'm in school with Mrs. House. I like to learn.

  • I'm thankful for music and PE. In PE, I like it when we play games. In music, I like to sing.

  • I'm thankful for the world because there's a lot of people in the world and the people in the world are my friends. Like Zana, Ella, Noah, Jamari, Danger, and Mark.

    I pray you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and were reminded of how much God has done in your own life.

    "Let me shout God’s name with a praising song, Let me tell his greatness in a prayer of thanks." Psalm 69:30
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