Mateo's continued health is something our whole family is very grateful for. I know so many heart families are spending their Thanksgiving either in a hospital room with their little loved one or at the Ronald McDonald house, eating a meal so graciously donated by someone else. Either way, they are away from family. From one heart family to all the other heart parents, we know what you're going through and we pray for swift recoveries and that you'll all be home soon.
Our family is always thankful for all the support and love from our brothers and sisters in Christ at our local congregation. God knew exactly where we needed to be, and when we needed to be there. We stumbled on our local church one day, shortly after arriving in Florida. We were out looking for a house on a listing we recieved from our realtor. We never found that house, but we found the church home where we belonged. We have had an over-abundance of care, concern, kindness and generosity since we set foot in the church in Brandon. We know we are loved and while we're away from blood family year after year, we always have a spiritual family that we know we can count on. They have been with us through every up and down since Mateo was born. The waiting room was filled with concerned friends, laden with coffee and sweets, at every surgery Mateo had. We recieved phone calls, cards, emails, facebook messages....all too many to count. Our brothers and sisters went to God in prayer numerous times on our behalf...holding special prayer services for Mateo and our wonderful "drive-thru" prayer meetings. We have been lifted up in prayer so many times by those in Christ, and God has heard.
I am thankful for my family in Wisconsin. They are so far away but so close in heart. My mom and I could chat on the phone for over an hour almost every day...we never run out of things to talk about. She's the first one I want to call when ANYthing happens in life, good or bad. My dad, while not much of a phone talker, is always with me in thought. I am the way that I am because of much of what he taught me growing up. Many of my decisions are based on some principle he taught me, which I know are also based in God. Something I will always be grateful to my parents for is making sure that we were taught the truth. They have definitely "trained up a child" with me and while I am trying to do the work to know God, they are the ones that set me in that direction.
I love my sisters...and while they are going through their own trials now, I hope and pray they find their solution in Christ. They are beautiful girls with so much to offer and during my visit last summer, I enjoyed every moment I got to spend with them. My brother, who I don't get to talk to nearly enough, is funny and gives the best (and sometimes painful LOL) bear hugs. He works hard for his family and also is trying to bring up his boys to know the LORD.
I have gotten to know my sister-in-law much better over the years that her and my brother have been married and I'm thankful for our relationship. I hope that we can be closer as the years go on. She has been a help to me by giving me great advice when I wanted it and encouragment when I desperately needed it. She has inspired me by her diligence to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord and has been a good example of what a Christian wife, mother and friend should look like. One of the smartest things my brother has ever done was marry that girl! I am really looking forward to being with them all for the upcoming holiday season. I'm hopeful that when our family moves closer next year, we'll be able to see one another much more often and develop deeper relationships.
I am also thankful for our most recent addition to our family...a healthy little boy we named Mason. He is a red-headed spit-fire. He is determined and stubborn. He is also sweet and cuddly. He is in to everything and can't wait to be just like his big brother.
I also thank God for my husband. Our marriage and relationship has been put through the ringer several times and we always come out of it stronger and healthier than when the trial started. We love each other, we respect each other, and we support each other. Mel balances out our relationship so well. When I tend to be over-cautious, frenzied and impatient, he is thoughtful, calm and VERY patient. We are a team and Mel has been there to keep our family afloat during some seriously scary times. He is our rock and God has blessed me with one of the best out there. I am blessed to be with a man that wants to know God more closely and wants to lead our family in that direction as well. He is an amazing father who has an amazing love for his children.
I know this list could go on and on but I'm going to end it here. We have been given a wonderful life. We've had our moments of trial, but even that is a blessing in disguise. Through our trials we are able to really appreciate the good times. Through our trials, we can bless others and comfort those who are going through something we've been through ourselves. God tells us in James that our trials are to strengthen our faith. Give us more endurance. Make us complete and mature in Him. He also tells us in 2 Corinthians that he comforts us in our trials so that we may know how to comfort others when they are enduring what we've already endured. What a blessing. Happy Thanksgiving!