I started my blog a couple months before what would be the darkest time in my life.
Most parents would agree there is nothing in life that stretches you, tests you, and proves you like raising a child. It also reveals a love that most have not known except maybe from the receiving end, if they were blessed. A love that can imagine actually dying for another. And in many ways does. Daily, slowly dying to self. Sacrificing sleep, money, time, ambitions . .
I've fought many battles for my kids over twenty-one years. The enemies were varied, but I always knew I could . . would . . MUST defeat them. Until two years ago. Just a couple months after I started writing here. Putting my heart on display. The perfect platform for my enemy's knockout blow.
Emily was always easy to parent. The third of six and the only girl, she loves to take care of her brothers. Reading to them, baking for them, rubbing their backs, doing their chores. She sings all the time. Smiles and laughs most of the time. Always has.
Until the clouds came, as she described them. Clouds that darkened her sky, blocked out the sun, robbed her of hope, and eventually threatened her life.
These weren't puffy, white happy clouds but black, ominous, and scary. And they came with wind. Howling. Breathing lies so loud, it made her deaf to the truth.
No matter how loud I screamed it.
You are loved! Your life is good! You are beautiful! We love you! I love you!
STOP HURTING YOURSELF!!!!
And I fought and fought and fought. And screamed and cried and begged and prayed.
And finally, I quit.
I gave up. Out of breath. Breathe in. Out. Mumbled prayers. Mercy. Please.
And this is where I learned the power of thanksgiving.
Ann Voskamp is a farmer's wife in Canada. She helps her husband, home schools her children, and writes in between. Words that are genuine, humble, sometimes ugly. Always true. I can't remember how I found her blog, but I know it was God who led me there.
Because Ann taught me how to say thank you. Not because I felt grateful, but because it's right. Because it heals. Because it saves.
Because it breathes life into death.
She taught me how to count. To record. To tell myself and any who happened to read how good my Father is. How much He loves and cares for me. Even when clouds blacken my sky and that of the ones I love.
My platform became an altar. No longer a stage for my enemy's victory, but a holy place to tell of love.
And the sun broke through.
Counting again (#146 - 151 of 1000 Gifts)
16. Hearing her sing again
17. Beauty from ashes
18. Coffee shops with wifi (if you live in the country, you understand)
19. Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin
20. My husband's smilin' Irish eyes
21. Opportunities to share my story
Please visit Ann's blog, One Thousand Gifts, here:
Labels: 1000 gifts, family, Thirty Days, thoughts on cracked pots