"He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm,
and carry them close to his heart, and shall gently lead those that are with young." Isaiah 40:11

Monday, July 4, 2011

We Give Thanks!

What a week! So many reasons to give thanks! I think I'll just list some of the life-giving gifts of this last week.

1. My parents taking the kids to Banff for a night - which included a gondola ride and a swim in the hotel pool. This left Dave and I a whole evening to ourselves!  We had so much fun.  And it was so incredible to have a day to do whatever we wanted.  

2. Rachel's smiles, giggles, enthusiastic hand waving, happy clucking, and generally her infectious happiness.

3. Spending time at the park with family and not having to do constant bottle feeds!! (Rachel was a short distance away at the FH.)  

4. Reconnecting with friends at the EMC conference this weekend - and for conversations that were good for the heart!  (our church is part of the Evangelical Mennonite Conference and we also hosted it this year). I can hardly remember the last time I had such a long strech of uninterrupted conversation! What a great weekend. 

5. The reason for the lack of interruptions above - we had both sets of parents staying at our house on the weekend! Thank-you!! AND...we only had the two older kids at the Flames House for one night in the whole week that we have stayed here.  

6. The kids excitement, bordering on hysteria - about travelling to Manitoba with their grandparents.  We got a text this morning from Dave's mom saying that they were already in Medicine Hat...(meaning they left at 4:30am) and the kids still hadn't slept in the car yet - they were too excited.  I miss them so much already but I know it is good for them and for us to have this break.  We are going to pick them up in a week. Thank-you!!!

7. Connections with other families here at the Flames House.  This past week we have met two babies here, and both have not grown much because of their conditions.  One is a foster baby.  I have so much respect for families who choose to care for these kids - and sadly, there are so many more that sleep in hotels etc...because there are not enough homes for them.  We have also met another family here from Afganistan / Iran, also with a young baby.  I think it has been good for both of us to finally find someone who understands our particular struggles...

8. The lessons that God has been teaching me.  And there really are too many to list here. The idea of blessings has been on my mind alot this week.  I often think of blessings as good things that God gives, which is true, but sorrow and pain can also be a form of blessing. And I have been reflecting on how this has been true for us. I can honestly say that I am thankful for the sorrow we have experienced this past year and a half, because it keeps bringing me back to Him.  I read in a devotional that the word 'blessed' in Hebrew means 'to find the right path'.  I liked that definition because I think that's what God has been doing for us this past year.  He has used suffering to help us find the right path.

9. The ways that God speaks through friends.  We have received so many wonderful emails and I only get to share a mere fraction of the ones we get.  But there was one that ministered to me in a deep way this past week. She reminded me of the telling in Scripture of the woman who pours expensive oil on Jesus' feet.  The people around her thought this was an extravagant waste.  Yet Jesus received it as worship and praised her for it.  I think that I too have wondered if people see our choice of carrying and loving a child with medical needs, as crazy.  I wonder at times what good can come of having to focus so much energy on one child.  Is there value to what we and many others do for our hurting children, for the 'least of these'? I think too of friends who foster babies, maybe even with the hope of adopting them, but sometimes they have to let them go after expending so much of their time and love.  And so the image of the woman annointing Jesus was deeply encouraging to me.  For us, loving Rachel is like pouring perfume on Jesus' feet.  And so our suffering is not meaningless.  If I might borrow one line from my friend, "Your suffering is not meaningless, it is heavy with glory that is blessing the very heart of God."  How encouraging that is to us!!  

10.  And I have to add one more...in the middle of writing this - one of the staff watching Rachel came to get me. She wanted to show me what Rachel was doing.  She was sitting in her chair, kicking a ball off again and again - grinning happily each time she pushed the ball away with her feet.   I LOVE seeing her like this, moving her arms and legs and so full of life! God, thank you for this little girl who is teaching us so many things, and who has added so much joy and beauty to our life!

1 comment:

paige said...

What a beautiful post -
We drove past the Flames house this past week and i pointed it out to the kids, "That's where baby Rachel (who we pray for) is!!" :)
Also, was thinking of you this morning as we were reading in Genesis... our little son is named "ephraim" after Joseph's son who was given the name because Joseph said that God made him "fruitful in the land of his suffering" - that's what i'm praying for you today... That God would allow you to continue to bear fruit - even in this land of suffering.