On Monday I had planned to write a Thanksgiving post on what I had learned this past year about giving thanks in all circumstances, but I didn’t feel well. Tuesday I didn’t feel much better. Wednesday rolled around, and I had horrible stomach pains, so I decided I would write a post-Thanksgiving blog the next night. The next night I was recovering from surgery.
For the first time in our lives, Matt and I didn’t gain a pound on Thanksgiving, and I lost an appendix. While fasting on Thanksgiving and going under the knife wasn’t part of the original itinerary for the day, I handled this change in plans much better than I normally do. Perhaps the reason I found myself going over my potential Thanksgiving blog days in advance was God’s way of mentally preparing me for the eventful day.
I had decided that I would write about all of the negative experiences this year that were actually mirrors reflecting all of my blessings. Through economic hardships and multiple physical battles, I found that I am an incredibly lucky woman. In the midst of all of these hardships, I was always extremely grateful for my loving family, healthy children, God’s provision, and countless other blessings, yet even though my mind knew these truths, I would still struggle with depression. My goal for future trials was to be thankful for my blessings AND of good cheer while going through the trial.
I should’ve known that the trial would come quickly as God follows up all of my quizzes with a final assessment. I would soon enough have a chance to practice Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”. I have no problem rejoicing in the Lord–it’s the ‘always’ part that can be a little tricky.
With the exception of missing my children, I did well while in the hospital. I was thankful for family, thankful for an insurance deductible that had already been met, thankful for painkillers, and thankful for a hospital staff that didn’t seem to mind missing their Thanksgivings, either. But God wanted to drive home a point that He had been making throughout the year. There was a specific person for whom He wanted me to be thankful.
The woman who was on the phone with me while I tried to think clearly amidst stomach pains and changing holiday plans, suggesting different options for feeding my breast-fed baby who had never had formula.
The woman who showed up the next day with my mother, bucket in hand, a new supply of scrubbing sponges and Comet in tow, as she helped this team map out a strategy for tackling the filth that three small children can bring to a home.
The woman who had yellow gloves pulled up to her elbows as she scrubbed the kitchen chairs with Murphy’s Oil Soap and scowled every time my husband entered the kitchen, oblivious, as she tried to mop.
The woman who showed compassion as I admitted my embarrassment at my mother and her deep-cleaning the house while the kids were away and I was laid-out on the couch. She said, “I don’t know how you do it,” while I thought, “I must not know how to do it, either, if they brought their whole cleaning arsenal.”
She showed up again and again after my D&Cs to watch my children, and she showed up this morning–with a powdered jelly doughnut–to help until I am allowed to hold my baby on my own. I think she’s the only person who understands that I don’t like jelly doughnuts with the sugar on top, only the powdered kind.
She’s my sister, and we probably wouldn’t like each other if we weren’t in the same family. Heck, we don’t always like each other now; we couldn’t be more different. However, I am completely overwhelmed by the sacrifices she has made for me over and over. I knew I was blessed after she and her husband helped us during the ordeal after Chloe’s birth, but to see her scrubbing my floor without me even asking for help–she and my mom just showed up–I can’t even find words to express my gratitude.
I don’t know how to end this post without sounding over-sentimental or exceptionally cheesy. I just want to say, Lisa, thank you. I know you keep tally, so I owe you about eight weeks of babysitting and a few days of intense cleaning. Love, Jennifer