When my daughter Ella was born and diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder 3 years ago, my picture perfect world shattered into a million pieces. I thought my life was over. I thought my joy was gone forever. That I would never have a reason to feel thankful again. I most definitely never thought there would be a point in my future that I would be deemed qualified to write a blog post on thankfulness. But God has a funny way of digging down deep and working in the hardest parts of our hearts. I have a little different perspective now about thankfulness. Which is why the first thing I’m thankful for today is
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The hard times. The struggles. It’s easy to praise God when life is good. When things are going your way. When you’ve got a good job, a nice home, a loving spouse, healthy children. Good things happen to us and we cry “God is so good!” It’s not so easy to feel that when you’ve lost your job, the mortgage is overdue, or your chid is diagnosed with a rare disease. But if life with Ella has taught us anything it’s that our biggest blessings haven’t come from the easy times, when everything was handed to us. Our biggest blessings have come only after the storm has raged, after we have been stripped of everything we once knew, clinging to the only One who remains. It is only then, when the rain starts to subside and the clouds begin to part, that we emerge and can see the strikingly brilliant rainbow forming in the distance. Yes, our biggest blessings have definitely come though our most intense struggles.
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The second thing I’m thankful for are the times I don’t get my way. Sometimes I like to think I know best the way my life should go so if you don’t mind God, I’ll just take over and steer this vehicle the direction I want, thank you very much. But oh so graciously, God doesn’t allow that to happen. I would have never ever in a million years chosen to be the mother of a daughter with special needs. I didn’t think I was qualified for that. I didn’t think I would be good at it. I didn’t think it was at all what I wanted for my life. But God did. And boy was He SO right. It’s like He actually knows what He’s doing!! If I were to have everything in my life go the way I think it should go, it would be a giant disaster of a mess I am sure. I’m thankful God always gives me exactly what I need instead of what I think I want.
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And the third thing I’m thankful for today is the ugliness of my heart. What a strange thing to be thankful for.. It’s something I don’t like seeing. Something I definitely don’t like admitting. But it’s there. Lingering around, affecting the way I treat others, my closest family members and the furthest strangers. And it’s the place where I need God the most-where he can shine His glory the brightest because the biggest work needs to be done there. I’m thankful He sent me Ella, the biggest blessing in disguise-a gift I didn’t know I needed or even wanted, as a way to heal a toxic part of my heart I didn’t even know existed.