- I participated in my master's degree graduation ceremony this weekend. Technically, I graduated in December, but my school only does one graduation a year. On Saturday, I was hooded and proclaimed a graduate. I am thankful that God gave me the time and ability to complete my degree. I am thankful that it is OVER!
- I am thankful for the women who have shaped my life. Obviously, this weekend was Mother's Day, so I have been thinking about the impact my Mom has had on my life. My Mom is definitely one of those unearned blessings. For several years I treated my Mom with only anger and spite, yet she has continued to love me. While I don't think I will ever be able to remove the sting of words I spoke years ago, I am certainly attempting to deserve my Mom's respect and to demonstrate my love to her.
- I am thankful for my generous and joyful Mother-in-law. Julie often expresses joy in difficult circumstances, whereas I tend toward cynicism. I am thankful for the way she raised my husband and the love she extends toward my daughter.
- I am thankful for the other women in my life who have taken the time to walk along side me and guide me in life. There are several women in my church who have known me since childhood and have had a profound impact on the woman I have become. These women have forgiven the person I was and have taken the time to invest in my spiritual growth.
- I am thankful for my sisters (Yes, I am thankful for my brothers too, but it was Mother's Day, so I have been thinking about women a lot). I have four wonderful sisters who mean the world to me. I have learned about compassion and empathy from my sister Rachel. Her heart truly breaks for others. From my sister Hannah, I have learned to be teachable. Hannah is the most like me in how she responds to situations except she is humble enough to admit when she needs advise and she typically follows that advise. My sister-in-law Katie has taught me about openness and sharing my heart with others. While I tend to push people away and isolate myself during difficult situations, Katie freely shares her heart. From my sister-in-law Dixie, I have learned to delight in my daughter. Each time she looks at her children, her face lights up with pure joy.
- I am thankful that my side of the family was all together for Mother's Day. I do not know how much longer we will all be together, so I am joyful for every moment the Lord allows us to all be together.
- I am thankful for my husband. Jacob is truly my best friend. I have known him since I was 13 years old and we were close friends before we started dating. He is the one who has seen my greatest joys and my deepest pains. He is my support because he leads me back to the cross of Christ when I am overwhelmed.
- I am thankful for my daughter. For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a mother, but I never could have imagined how much it would bless my life. My heart melts every time she yells my name as I walk in the room. I cannot express the joy and pride I feel because I am her mother.
All of these blessings ultimately point me back to my Lord and Savior. James 1:17 reminds us that "every good and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." Though I did not deserve any of these blessings, the Lord has been generous to me. The Lord is the greatest blessing in my life. It is through Christ that I have freely received salvation. It is the Spirit of the Lord that comforts and directs me. And it is before the Father that I carry my burdens through prayer. I find rest and hope in His promises. In Him, I find my purpose and value in life. It is because of the extravagance of God's love that I have joy.