This is not supposed to be a "poor me" post. On the contrary. As I look back at all we have been through and where we are now, I am reminded yet again of the Lord's infinite and gracious mercy. Sometimes when my husband and I wake up in the morning and head out to enjoy coffee on our patio, we just look at each other in disbelief. It has been a long time since we have felt this relaxed and at peace. So tonight, on the eve of my fiftieth birthday, I ask your indulgence as I pause to take stock. How am I blessed? Let me count the ways.
1) I made it to 50! (Well, almost.) And barring some very minor physical ailments, I am in good health (and could feel even better if I would work at it a little harder).
2) I have been married to my first and only boyfriend for over 27 years. He doesn't get enough credit for putting up with me. It isn't easy. (You people only see what I decide to share after much editing.)
3) I have three amazing children who only get more amazing every day. They are all in good health, and they all know their Savior. Two of them are in college on scholarship, and the third is going to be around for me to hassle at least eight more years. And I get to homeschool him!
4) My husband has a job. He enjoys his work and the people he works with. I get to piddle around making a few bucks here and there doing things I like to do. We have everything we need, and many of the things we want.
5) My mom has bounced back incredibly this year from a long period of injuries and depression. She is enjoying her days in a way she hasn't in a very long time.
6) We live in Oklahoma! It is prettier than I could have ever imagined, and yes, the mornings are like something out of a movie.
7) We belong to a great, confessional Lutheran church with a dedicated, caring staff, faithful elders, and kind and loving members.
8) Evan will receive his First Communion this year!
9) We have a great house that we are renting. (We do hope to buy again, but in the meantime, it sure is nice to not be responsible. If something goes wrong, we just dial up the landlord.)
10) Life has slowed down to the extent that we are finding time to enjoy it. As I look back over the last 15 years, it seems that so much of it was spent constantly on the go, trying to make ends meet, trying to please others, trying to prove something (not sure what), just trying, trying, trying. I don't mean that there weren't good days. There were--many of them. But they were exhausting. It is blessed relief to find ourselves in a place where there is time to breathe, time to sit, time to think, time to read, time to walk, time to watch movies and cook and play games. For so long there was no time for anything but to go on to the next thing. Now it's actually possible to make the Next Thing wait.
During some of our darkest days, a wise friend and teacher told us, "Expect blessing." When everything seems to be going wrong, it is hard to trust those words. Yet we know that in all things, even in our sufferings, God blesses, and so we cling to His promises, and wait, and hope. I don't want to make the mistake of looking at the ease of these days as some sort of reward for having come through a difficult period. We are poor, miserable sinners who have earned nothing and deserve nothing. And I know there will be hard times again. But I sure am glad for this stretch, however long it lasts, and for our Lord's grace, today and always.
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)