When gathered around the Thanksgiving table, how many people say they are thankful for surgical scars? Or that they are thankful for debt? Or that they are thankful their house is messy?
This time last year, things were feeling rather bleak. We had much to be thankful for, but things were ugly on multiple fronts. I was struggling to cope with a possible autism diagnosis for Ladybug. I was dealing with her bad days, waking multiple times a night, watching regression and struggle and wondering if things would ever get better for her. We had gallons of water freezing inside our house. The Mechanic was freezing on an air mattress in the concrete unfinished basement that was called a bedroom. We were bathing the girls in a Rubbermaid tote, and washing our dishes in water that was nauseating.
This year, we have two new surgical scars. And I am more thankful for them than anyone who hasn't been through this kind of thing can even imagine. One scar brought me a baby boy, whose smile as soon as he sees me can brighten even the roughest day. Yes, we have a pile of NICU and flight bills, but he came back to me healthy. Those first few hours were scary, and those two days without him were probably the hardest I've faced, but they have made me treasure him even more.
The other scar brought my oldest daughter back to me. She's no longer slipping away, but blossoming, growing and learning at a scary rate! Her quickness to smile and laugh, the pictures I now have of her looking right at me and giggling, make her stack of bills worth every cent! Yes, her scar is going to be more visible in two places than it "should" have been. But to me, those places are like pillars that the Israelites put up, to remind them of the great things God had done for them. She is healing, she has skin covering those wounds that we battled for nearly 5 months.
We have a mortgage. Sounds like a bad thing, but it means we have a house. A house that is ours. Well, ours and the bank's. But no "mean man" has any right to come into our house and threaten us. My heart doesn't race when I hear a knock at the door. I have an appreciation for a roof over my head that I've never had before. A permanent place to call home, with a kitchen, and separate rooms, and working heat, is something that we take for granted until we face living without them. We would never have been sleeping under the stars, but living in a camper with a newborn and two toddlers would not have been pleasant.
Our house is messy, but mess means life. And our house is full and overflowing with it. Turkey works together with Ladybug to create the biggest mess they possibly can; if one book out is good, all the books off the bookshelf must be even better! We have special drawings by Turkey on the bookshelf, and no matter where I put it she always seems to manage to get into the margarine. With two toddlers, the mess and noise level don't simply double, it's as if it quadruples. But I can't imagine not having Turkey right there in the middle. You can't help but smile when she comes out wearing the 3rd outfit of the day, with the shirt and pants on backwards, or only wearing a diaper and an upside down coat, or wearing absolutely nothing except shiny red shoes and a hat.
I truly have much to be thankful for. A husband who loves, protects, and provides for his family. Three beautiful children, full of life and joy and challenges. And even a dog, despite him living up to his name of Chaos. Material possessions that need to be picked up, dishes that held food that need to be cleaned, and grace that strengthens when my blessings overwhelm me.