Thankful in November, Day 3 & Day 4

Happy Sunday to you!  I've been enjoying a quiet afternoon at home today, which has been like medicine to my soul.  Oh time change, how I used to love you...But now that I'm a parent of little people, how I despise the interruption you bring into our routine.  I picked Ava up from the nursery early today, after they came looking for me because she crying...I'm chalking it up to not enough sleep and her refusal to eat breakfast this morning.  Thankfully they both took great naps but Carter woke up crying and snuggled in my lap for about 30 minutes...It's just one of those Sundays! 

I think I'm really going to love this journey of thanksgiving throughout the month of November.  It's tough to choose just one thing a day to share, but here are my thoughts from the 3rd and 4th.

Day 3- I'm thankful that God is still in the business of miracles!

My blog friend Faith just became a Mom yesterday and with the birth of her amazing girls, God worked a real life miracle that so many of us got to watch unfold.  I won't steal her story, but she and I "met" through our blogs almost 5 years ago I believe?  We crossed paths somehow, I can't even remember, but our friendship was born through our shared longings to be Mothers.  We exchanged emails for awhile, each of us lamenting about the wait and encouraging each other through it.  Over the years, my wait came to an end sooner, but Faith and her sweet husband persevered a little longer.  We all got to watch as she shared so honestly about her ache and her hurt to be pregnant.  SO many people have lifted them up in prayer and pleaded with the Lord to grant them the desire of their hearts. 

It's been an amazing journey to see the Lord work, but it certainly has not been easy.  They have been such a sweet, living testimony of God's sufficiency despite their unchanging circumstance.  Over a period of time, He led Faith's husband into full-time youth ministry (which made me love them even more!!) and I watched while they stayed faithful and believed God through their pain.  They could have cursed God, but like Job, they chose to praise Him anyway.  And in His great plan, He answered them!  Not only did He create a little life, He created TWO little lives!!  Two precious girls that all of us have been waiting to see and behold.  And yesterday, we got that chance when the tweet came that they arrived and the pictures started appearing...Little Emery Grace and Kinley Pearce entered this world early, into the waiting arms of their Mommy and Daddy and into the hearts of so many of us who have prayed for them before they were ever known.  Miracles from God's hands to Faith and Chad's arms.  Amazing!!

I think my friend Faith is aptly named because she's kept her faith through a difficult journey and when it looked bleak, she actively put her faith in the one who promised to answer her and to work out His perfect plan for her in His time.  What a faith builder for all of us to see the glory of our great God in the faces of two sweet baby girls.  Go check out her blog post today and see for yourself the two little miracles who made her a Mommy!  Who would have ever thought that the world of blogging could connect hearts from all over the world, people who would have otherwise been perfect strangers, and point us all back to the Author of life?  I'm so grateful for my friend Faith and for her girls.  Everytime I think of her, I smile, knowing God heard her cry and gave her a double blessing!  This is the scripture they shared yesterday and I think it's a beautiful one...

Psalm 126:4-6 (The Message translation)
And now, God, do it again—
    bring rains to our drought-stricken lives
So those who planted their crops in despair
will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
So those who went off with heavy hearts
will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.

Day 4- I'm thankful for friends who walk faithfully through hard places.

On the flip side of my friend Faith's miracle is the sorrow of a dear sister at Church who just lost her son.  On Friday I hosted our monthly Pastor's Wives Coffee and our dear friend shared with us the heartbreaking story of her son's recent and brutal murder.  As I listened to her with the ache of a mother's heart, I saw the sadness in her eyes as she relived her loss again.  Nothing could be worse I think, than that.  Losing a child, even an adult child, in a senseless and horrific way is a pain that no parent should have to endure.  It's a reminder of the evil in our world that is no respector of persons and strikes with no warning.  Her pain is real, raw and difficult to bear up under.  And yet...

I heard her say, with great confidence, that her hope in the Lord is not only sustaining her moment by moment but also bringing healing and hope to those who've previously had none.  She is able to say that God is still her rock, still in control, still good.  Although her feelings may fluctuate, the truth of the Gospel and it's redemptive power, stands.  In the worst storm she's endured, her anchor holds.  Jesus promised a life eternal when He conquered death and the grave and she knows that this life is not the end.  She will see her son again, who has been made whole and is in the presence of his Savior and when the the Lord calls her home, he will be waiting to welcome her too.  And I'm watching her not only say these things, but walk them out and believe them as if her life and her hope depended solely on God and His Word being true.  Because it does! She has an incredible peace, amidst her sorrow, that holds her together right now.  I'm so thankful for her, so grateful for her example in my life, although if I could change her circumstance I would.  She's paying a terrible price for her faith to be proved genuine.  One that she never asked for but is faithfully trusting God to see her through. 

In the Psalms, David told the Lord he would bring a sacrifice of praise to the altar.  For many years that phrase meant nothing to me until I found myself in a similar place as David, choosing to praise God even though it was a sacrifice to do so.  My flesh didn't feel like there was much to praise Him for, but His Word in me and the Holy Spirit in me reminded my soul that He wanted all of my broken heart, not just the pretty places. He was worthy of my praise at all times and died for me to prove his love.  My friend is doing the same thing.  It's not easy to praise the Lord when someone carelessly takes the life of your son and leaves him as if he matters to no one.  He did matter.  He mattered to a great number of people, namely to his aching Mother who is left to grieve for him until they meet again in Heaven. 

My heart breaks for my friend who loves Jesus with every fiber of her being and who is still choosing to lift the name and work of Jesus on high, even in her darkness.  She is an incredible woman of God and I thank Him for crossing our paths, for the privilege of knowing her and serving alongside her.  The more I get to know her, the more she amazes me. 

Two friends I'm grateful for tonight, two women who remind me of Job's critical choice in Job 1:21...
"...The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, Blessed be the name of the Lord."

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