Monday, December 31, 2012

Count My Blessings ~ Even the hard ones

Recently, I was visiting with a friend and we began to reflect on the blessings of the the last year. This is my short list ~ a  Godly husband that loves and supports me, three great kids, family and friends that are amazing, a new and unexpected job for me with an organization that I love... the typical list that goes on and on. Then they gave me a challenge: "look back and find God in the hard stuff ... and keep finding Him when new hard stuff happens in 2013."

Here goes:

Twice this year our boys have had accidents in the truck. First on our Anniversary and then again on the last day of term finals at the high school when we got blasted with this winter's first big winter storm. Both times the truck spun 180 degrees and slid backwards and sideways into a ditch. Both times there was no oncoming traffic, the truck missed a telephone pole, the truck stayed upright and didn't flip. Both times our sons came home safe. God is GOOD.

Twice this year we had vehicles that needed unexpected and significant repair. The Pilot's suspension broke in a dangerous way, on a day when I was driving across the Cities while at the same time cell phone reception for Verizon went down for the several hours. I made it home safely. The repair was costly but possible. All of our vehicles have at least 150,000 miles on them, and yet they continue to get us (car payment free) where we need and want to go. God is Good.

I ended up with a really bad dental issue. A crown failed, I ended up with a cavity that went from the base of the crown to the underside of my jawbone. The root canal that had been done on that same tooth also failed and I ended up with an abscess that stretched along the top of my jawbone and sinus cavity. But we found a specialist that got me on some strong antibiotics to clear up the infection. Oral surgery included two bone graphs on my upper jaw (not covered my insurance) but the rest of that procedure and all of what will happen next year should be fully covered by insurance. Treatment and recovery will be a long process. But it is possible. God is Good.

After planning a family hiking/camping trip to the Appalachian Trail for the summer of 2012, one of my son's and I both had injuries the week before the trip. My son hurt his knee playing basketball at teen camp. We were able to get him to the hospital and a specialist (while at teen camp) and confirmed that he had a severe sprain and would not need surgery. I rolled my ankle the same day (with an audience of hysterical jr. high girls) but again, nothing real serious. We had to modify what we did, how much we walked and how much we carried, but we had a blast. Even saw 2 black bears, but not up close and personal! God is Good.

Matt's had issues with his back for several years. It sucks. Good doctors and good meds (both covered by our insurance), exercise, a new inversion table and preventative care have helped. God is Good.

Our children. They are tweens, teens, young adults. Trying to figure out life, God, relationships, college and other mysteries. They have each made many choices this year, some have proven to be good and solid ~ others have ended up being opportunities for growth (all be it painful and hard.) Sometimes we are able to be the parents they need in the moment they need us. Other times we have failed and had to seek forgiveness and do our best to make things right. All of us are still learning, growing and seek God. God is Good.

We didn't make it back to Arizona this year. It was a hard choice. Instead, our teens did the HS Band trip in the Spring of 2012, we did a family trip to the Appalachian trail this past summer and we will go to Guatemala with our oldest sons in Feb of 2013 as part of a Jesus Film ministry team. We miss our Arizona family. We love them. They support us, love us and miss us too. We hope for a trip in 2013. God is Good.

A dear friend in her 90's who went with us to church every Sunday for the last few years went home to be with Jesus this fall. She filled a hole in our heart and life that we didn't know we had. We are thankful for the time God gave us with her, and we are so glad that we KNOW she is now home. God is Good.

After 9 1/2 years with our family, our beloved boxer, Angel died on Thanksgiving morning. We know we did all we could. She was with us when death came. We loved her as a family, raised her and did life with her together, said goodbye together and miss her now. It's still hard. God is Good.

Matt and I have been trying to go on a date for over a month.  Every time we set up a night something happened. Work forced Matt to stay and work an extra shift. All I want is a night alone with my man! But work is very short staffed. Some changes at the plant regarding who does what  went into effect in late October and have caused a shortage of staffing in Matt's area.  It is a shortage that will continue until at least the spring of 2014 - yep you read right - this will be our reality for at least another year. But Matt has a job. A very good job. Matt will be able to work there for as long as he chooses. He is paid well for what he does and for what he knows. We have health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, prescription coverage, a 401K, paid time off, a pension. In a time where many of our friends and family wonder and worry about employment, we have peace. God is Good.

At the beginning God is Good. In the middle God is Good. Even when I don't feel it God is Good. While I don't understand it God is still Good. When I am hurting God is Good. In the end God is Good. Amen.

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