Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Williams Thanksgiving List 2011




I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.
—Psalm 78:2-4

The year of 2011 will go down as the year of rest and peace. We spent the year basking in the uneventful. Here are the blessings we celebrated before the Lord this year, as we gather to celebrate a day of Thanksgiving, I will rest and bring praises to the Lord for all that He has done and provided for us over the past year.

Health & Wellness::  The past few years we spent a lot of time at the doctors office, on medication, recovering from colds, RSV, allergies, and ear infections. We worked through intestinal issues, constant vomiting, neck pain and many other issues. The year of 2011 will go down as the year we as a family started a holistic journey to becoming more healthy and aware of the foods that we consume. We discovered that most of Abby's health issues were related to an egg allergy, she is also allergic to homogenized milk. Most vaccines are made out of eggs so each time we had a new round of shots she would be sick for months. It took a long time to figure this out, now that we're aware of her allergies, she has flourished and grown in personality and vocabulary - because she is no longer perpetually sick. We also are singing praises for Abby & Gabe's asthma which has been prevented through diet and more natural methods of care. We're so excited to not have them inhaling steroid medication 3x per day! There are no words to express the joy in seeing the personality of my daughter take shape. Her constant sickness left her unable and unwilling to interact much with her environment, she rarely talked and learned to walk much later than I expected. Each time she was healthy, her personality and physical desires became evident, but quickly she would become sick again and retreat to her silent and sleepy self. We are now 7 months into a clean bill of health - she has learned to walk and talk! Abby's personality is flourishing and wildly happy. Her giggles and  high pitched voice always makes me smile!



Family Time:: I'm so blessed to have the best family, my children and husband are the most blessed things to be around. Their presence brings me such joy! I find myself laughing or singing or smiling just being in their presence. My husband is a "glass is half full" type man who always challenges me to look at the world with thankfulness. He is a person who fills the cup of our family and invests a lot of time training and investing into our lives.  My husband diligently reads God's Word and then imparts the Word of God into our children's hearts each night before bed. I teach them too around the breakfast table many mornings a week - that is a huge blessing that many women's aren't home to be able to impart. I look at our family and feel so  blessed to be living out the Word of God each and every day - the great, the murky, and downright humiliating. It is all being messily lived out each day, which gives us a huge avenue for deep and meaningful discussions. I just love my  family so much and am thankful for the Lord for crafting these lives together. I'm thankful for my sweet boys Drew and Gabe who make being a mother so enriching. Their minds are active and excited about live and about learning about God. I just love these two sons of mine who I know will grow into fine men with great ideas and perseverance for God and His wild plans!

Home Learning:: The precious job of teaching my  children is an enormous task and I don't know how anyone does it without the Lord's faithful hand to direct their path. I am a blessed woman to work from home and be able to teach my children. I never sought out on this path, in fact I never thought of a world outside of my business life before I was married. I loved my career and didn't think it needed to change. The lord then blessed me with a marriage and three blue eyed blessings. Along the way the goals of career and more money became so insignificant to me. I am so blessed because if I had lived out the life centered on a career I know it would have turned up empty. Instead the Lord radically changed my heart, gave me a deep and often torturous love for children and a vision to teach these fragile blessings at home. It is a challenge most days - I'm learning far more than my pupils. The constant chattering and questions and messes are sometimes more than I  can bare - but the Lord is so faithful to be using the tool of home learning to change me and mold me into His image. The process of home learning is one that brings me to the feet of the Lord daily - the perfectionist in me always turns up flawed - the amount of work we complete is never enough to satisfy. I often picture my son falling farther and farther behind, but then the Lord gently leads me to His Word and reminds that I am being faithful in what I am called to do for this moment. My burden is light. I am not to grow weary in doing good. I then  remember that the Lord is in all of this mess and is using me as a tool to shape and mold the very character of my children and the hearts that will exist for eternity. It is then that books and math and reading take a backseat to the overarching reward of being with my children in heaven. My goal in home schooling is to lead them to a relationship with the Lord. I am thankful for the opportunity and responsibility and take it seriously.



Brotherly Love:: This year I'm so thankful for my husband's relationship with his family. Especially his father and brothers. The very essence of who I married is woven deep into the brotherly love John experiences as a child. These brothers were the ones who protected and loved him for who he was. They kept the bullies from kicking his crippled legs in school and blessed him with passionate ideas about manly things like guns and hand crafted skills. My husband is a hard worker and loves to get his hands dirty fixing or creating things. I love it that we sit at the table at night and I see the sweat and tears he poured into it - the memories of working on the benches with his dad the week our first son was born. I smell the workbench in the garage and still smell cigar smoke from his fathers pipe. These men in John's life taught him skills that are being used by God to bless widows and improve communities.


Aunt Kessa & Uncle David from Oregon:: We are blessed with an aunt and uncle who flew all the way from Oregon over Thanksgiving to spend and invest time in our home. Our kids had a blast and many great memories were made - from riveting games of 5 Crowns to cold walks and a day long trip to the Dallas Arboretum. They even endured my children's poor bathroom etiquette with grace!



Nana's: I am blessed to live  close to my mother. I get many perks like her watching the kids so John and I can go out on  a date. My mother is a woman of love who is a giver of time and smiles. She adores all her grand-kids and invest all her free time in their lives. She loves to have them over for sleepovers and reads them books at night. I am blessed to watch her care for my Nana with joy and honor. The process of caring for the parent who cared for you is a hard change that is unfamiliar. There are few books on how to  care for aging parents with grace and dignity and she models to my sister and I how to truly love  even when it hurts. I respect my mother and am so blessed to have a heritage of women (my mother and Nana) who are nurturers and creative and willing to live with little so they  can invest much.

Vietnam:: I am so thankful for a church that impresses on the hearts of its congregation to serve and bless others. I am thankful that my husband was provided the opportunity by friends and family to spend 10 days in Vietnam, learning the culture, sharing with educators, and most importantly, living out his God given gift. I was humbled by my husbands willingness to commit to a presentation that he felt totally inadequate to share. In was in John's weakness that God's love for special needs children was revealed. My husband has a gift - this gift brings daily pain and agony, yet he still calls it a gift. Amazing - only the Lord could do that in John's life. Most people don't know the amount of pain John lives with because of his Cerebral Palsy because he so rarely talks about it. Instead he chooses to accept the pain as a reminder that he has been intrusted with a message to save souls. It was while in Vietnam that John grew a love for the lost. I've never seen my husband so passionate about inviting strangers and neighbors to church. I am thankful for Vietnam because this trip not only changed the hundreds of teachers and parents who attended but it changed my husband's heart towards servant hood and impressed a deep boldness to win the lost to Jesus.

As we close out the 2011 year, I am in awe at how the Lord has shaped me and shaped my family. We have grown so much closer and more committed to service for the Kingdom. The year of 2011 will be remembered as a year of learning contentment, rest and peace. We began to look at stuff as distractions and giving as an investment for all eternity more so than ever before. We saw the Lord bless us beyond our wildest imaginations and discovered that  the gift of giving is far more meaningful than hoarding time and possessions for ourselves. This year the Lord also imposed on me a deep sense of needing to rest - rest in the Lord's provision, rest from activities and investment into our family. This was the year where we were enriched by just being together and not running from activity to activity. Thank you Lord for being active and penetrating in our lives - we are truly blessed to have a God who unites us all together and then draws us to Himself.

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