Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Blessings all around me

My children love decorating the house for holidays. They started talking about our Halloween decorations in late September and insisted on pulling them out right on October 1st. On November 1st, after a month of pumpkins and skeletons, the children were ready for new decor and so packed up the spooky embellishments in favor of cornucopias and turkeys. So now, surrounded by Thanksgiving reminders, my thoughts too turn from candy and costumes to all the things I am grateful for this year. I decided, in honor of the season, I would try to focus all my blogs this month on gratitude.
The first thing that comes to mind as I ponder what I am most thankful for is the bucket of Halloween candy and the cute pictures of my kids in their costumes. I am kidding (mostly, I mean I do appreciate chocolate in the house and the pictures of the kids all dressed up did turn out so, so cute!).
Actually I find myself thinking back to where I was in my life a year ago. At that time, Tim and I were seriously discussing whether or not to add to our family. It was a discussion that had literally been going on for more than a year. We talked about it, prayed about it and struggled to discern God's plan as well as our own desires, which seemed to fluctuate depending on our four children's behavior. As we agonized over the decision many things weighed heavily on my mind. I worried about our finances, the added challenge of another child, and the thought of another long pregnancy. Our conversations seemed to go in circles, one minute we greatly desired a baby and felt God calling us to have another child, the next we felt sure that was a crazy idea. Finally, we decided the only way to truly tell what God wanted was to trust in Him enough to put it completely in His hands. We threw away our NFP chart and prayed that God's will be done. It was only a few weeks later that God revealed His plan and we found out we would be welcoming baby #5. Despite my previous uncertainty and indecisiveness, as soon as I found out we were expecting I was instantly filled with overwhelming gratitude.
It was the weekend before Christmas that we found out about baby and we told our children on Christmas Eve. What a beautiful memory it is to think about sharing the news of our new baby as we celebrated the birth of baby Jesus. All the Mass readings that week spoke of rejoicing and blessings and that is how we felt. A few days later, I lost sight of rejoicing and I was instead filled with fear and worry about our unborn baby. After having four beautiful healthy children I started wondering if, perhaps we were asking too much to hope for another healthy baby. I was plagued by thoughts of all that could go wrong and almost expected that at any moment one of those things would come to pass. I spent the first trimester of my pregnancy in terror, losing sight of our prayer that God’s will be done and our decision to trust in Him. It was around the end of my first trimester that we announced my pregnancy to people outside our family. A friend, upon hearing the news, said to me, “Oh God must be so proud of you and Tim, trusting in Him and being so open to life.” Her statement was just what I needed to hear. It was true, we were cooperating with God in His plan, and He was blessing us for trusting in Him enough to be open to life.
And so, this Thanksgiving I will say a prayer of thanks to God for His plans, He always knows what is best for us even when we, try as we might, can’t seem to figure it out. I will remember to be thankful for good friends, who so often bring me closer to God and remind me to keep things in perspective. And, of course, I will be mindful of my greatest blessing, which now includes our five beautiful, healthy children, my family.

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