As our family gathers for Thanksgiving today there are many things I am thankful for.
I am thankful for the many ways we have experienced God's love, mercy and grace over this last year. There have been many days this year where I have woken up before the sun comes up. I love seeing the night sky turn into morning and watching light fill the sky. Each day His supply of love, mercy and grace have been new in our lives. 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman has been a theme song for us. There's a verse that goes, "When the sun comes up, there's a new day dawning, It's time to sing your song again, whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes. There was a morning where I took this picture of the sunrise and told Susie I know we might face some hard evenings along this journey, but I'm excited and thankful for every sunrise that we can face together as well.
I am thankful for health. Last year as we celebrated Thanksgiving, Susie had just finished a brief stay in the hospital after her first round of chemo. It was very scary. I knew she had at least 5 more rounds to go and was unsure as to how it would affect her mind and her body. I am thankful that God gave her energy, strength and grace to face each round. I am thankful that she completed her chemo in April. I am thankful that since January of this year, each of the 5 MRI's she has had, have been stable - no new tumor growth!
I am thankful for God's ability to restore. There is a song that reminds me of this, it is called Beautiful Things by Gungor. Susie is a beautiful thing God has made. He has been restoring her energy each and every day since she finished chemo. This Fall has been wonderful to see, as she has been able to re-engage fully to being mom to four young kids. As a dad and husband, I cannot tell you the joy in my heart as I watch her with the kids. It brings a smile to my soul and makes me very thankful for God's ability to restore.
If you couldn't tell already I am very thankful for my wife. I am thankful that I can spend another Thanksgiving with her. I am thankful for who she is, a woman of filled with grace, love, beauty, humor and wisdom (especially when she has google at her fingertips)! She has been and continues to be God's greatest tangible expression of love to me. I am thankful for how she has handled all of this. She tackles each day with a determination to make the most of what is in front of her, regardless of the circumstances and regardless of how she feels. She is awesome and I am so thankful that she is my bride.
I am thankful for our kids. Our kids have been resilient, gracious, strong and tender. I told them after our Thanksgiving meal last year that when they got older, daddy would tell them how hard this past year had been. With tears in my eyes I told them they have been such source of strength for daddy. This year, I could tell them the same thing. They have been a rock for me and for Susie each and every day.
I am thankful for the opportunity to learn. I have done more reading this year than any other year in my life, thanks to the doctoral program I am in. I have learned more about Missions and Development than I even knew was out there. I am so thankful for my cohort and all that we are learning together. I look forward to the continued learning and however God might use what we are learning in our future to help bring affect change into our world.
There are many more things I am thankful for, like the fact that so many of you continue to remain engaged with us and continue to help us. I could go on and on about that, but the kids have woken up and I need to wrap this up. My prayer and my hope is that in the midst of what you have faced this year, regardless of what your evenings have brought you, that you would be reminded of God's love for you as you enjoy this day of Thanksgiving. May your year be filled with reasons to be thankful.