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Strength to Care

Lessons from Matthew & Isaac – Our CHARGE Syndrome Journey

Give thanks…with a grateful heart

Matthew trying to fit into one of Isaac’s preemie onesie

A new buzzword that has cropped up this year is the term “black Friday creep.” We barely made it in to the month of November and the holiday ads began to bombard our screens and speakers. I, for one, have never understood the concept of black Friday. I hate to shop…I am a buyer, not a shopper. If I am in need of something that I actually have to pay retail for instead of finding it at a garage sale or a second-hand store I will research the item then go buy it. the only exception is that I like to grocery shop. I let Theresa, who loves a good bargain do most of our other shopping. Most of my retail purchases have to do with car parts and home repair, the former to keep our vehicles with a combined mileage of nearly 750,000 miles running, and the latter to fix and keep ahead of our little home wrecker named Matthew.

As we approach this week and count our blessings I cannot think of any “thing” I would want so bad that I would willingly put myself in the arena of black Friday. There is just too much to be grateful for what we as a family already have.

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.”   Thomas Merton

Sarah Anne reading a book to Isaac in his bed

We know that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. How could I want anything more than to have seen the miracles of God working in our family…especially over the past 6 months? Theresa and I celebrated 21 years of marriage. A marriage that started with the turmoil of the very weekend of our marriage engagement, I lost my dad. We celebrated our precious first-born, Hannah, turning 18. Our sweet Megan turned sweet 16. Matthew celebrated his 11th birthday along with other milestones. Sarah Anne turned 3 in the midst of her baby brother being in the hospital. She continues to be at his side most of the time providing therapy no therapist could give him. She is the one who can make him smile just with her presence while the rest of us have to make sounds and gestures that would make others outside our home suspect our sanity. And then there is Isaac. He has completely rocked our already crazy world. In the past six months we have experienced the miracle of his birth, the miracle of skilled doctors and nurses who have cared for him, came too close for comfort to losing him and have learned what endurance of strength and faith means. We have felt what “the church” really can be beyond bricks and mortar…what it means for a community of believers to stretch themselves beyond the pews they sit in and serve others along with the needs we have had and still have as we negotiate life with two special needs kids.

Yes, a grateful heart about sums it up…how could we ask for anything more? As you give thanks this week and as you make plans for your holiday season, don’t get too wrapped up in presents that need to be wrapped in paper.

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