Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I've got so much, so much, so much...

Back in the day, way back when I was in our church youth group, we would sometimes sing a silly song with a chorus that went something like:
I've got so much, so much, so much
so much, so much, so much,
so much, so much, so much
to be thankful for!
Then you would sing a verse that would be something like this:
I've got my Jesus, to be thankful for
I've got my Jesus, to be thankful for
We've got each other to be thankful for
We've got each other to be thankful for
and then you'd repeat the chorus
We would get really wound up while singing it and act goofy and sing loudly, so at the time, I don't know that we really realized the truths that we were singing.

The past six months have been rough. I recently found out that I have a thyroid problem and with some helpful medication, I am starting to feel better. But before that was diagnosed, I was so tired--physically, mentally and emotionally-and I wasn't sure why. I found myself wondering, "Is this what life is going to be like with four kids? Am I ever going to feel like I can handle it?" It was discouraging to say the least. And on the heals of a rough pregnancy and a preemie and all that came along with that, I didn't have a lot in the reserves, if you know what I mean. In general, I am a very optimistic person, but I was having a hard time finding the silver linings. I was forgetful. I was gaining weight. I was in survival mode with the kids and the housework. And I wasn't being a very attentive wife. Now, the medicine that I'm taking hasn't magically made all of those problems disappear, but I am getting more energy back, and my outlook is returning to my normal. I find myself "surviving" fewer and fewer days, and actually enjoying more and more of them.

Let me clarify a bit though, before you think I'm blissfully happy all of the time. Life with 4 young kids is tough. Will and Maggie are each at challenging ages--Maggie is mobile and trying to put everything in her mouth and Will is almost three, the age of temper tantrums and meltdowns. I absolutely love homeschooling Jon and Sam. It is a highlight of most of my days, but it is a lot of work, too. And they are not always the perfect students I dream that they would be. (personally, I blame the parents!) Just when I get one room clean, somebody is ransacking two or three others, so the house is never as clean as I wish it were. And by the time Pete gets home, I am not the doting wife that I once imagined myself to someday be. But all is grace...God has brought me to such a time as this and He will bring me through each day in His strength, if only I remember to lean in on Him. Pete is my better half, swooping in to play with the boys after dinner and helping with housework or picking up pizza. And the kids, well, thankfully, they don't really know any better! They love me so sweetly, hugging me and asking me to play Super Mario Brothers with them, even though I stink. :)

I've always loved the verse from Nehemiah that says, "the joy of the Lord is my strength." Lately, I have been trying to live it a bit more each day. I've been trying to thank and praise Him for the little things as well as the big. I read Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts when it first came out and the challenge to count ten blessings or gifts a day transformed my thinking, but in the years that have passed since then, I have gotten out of the practice of giving thanks in all things. It's amazing how many things there are to be thankful for if you stop and really think. Last week, Jon and Sam and I made a thankful tree. I originally intended for us to add to it each day, but the boys got so into it and wanted to keep writing more things they were thankful for, so we used up all the leaves that I had made. I think I'll be making more. I want to be ever mindful of all that I have been given and blessed with. Life is not perfect by any stretch, but it is good. In the words of that silly song, "I've got so much, so much, so be thankful for!"

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