Find me thankful. Find me grateful. Find me on my knees. Find me dreaming. Find me singing. Find me lost in Your grace. -song “Find Me” by Jonathan David and Melissa Helser
I am thankful for the three sunflowers that unfurl on my dining room table, their golden tips lighting up the gray of November.
I am thankful for blinking Christmas lights that fill me with holiday hoorah.
Across the street, I see a dark cat looking out a window at a large oak tree. Our cat sucks on the soft part of his blanket and kneads with his two front paws, as if kneading for milk and the comfort of a mother he lost too soon.
I am thankful that after falling off the top of my car in a mad dash for the freeway to drop Olive off at school, my house keys and Baby’s hat were lying on the street- somewhat battered and damp from the morning fog, but still there when I returned home.
I am thankful I didn’t have any bald spots this time during the falling out hair stage of nursing.
I am thankful Baby has ten fingers, ten toes, and a smile he never holds back but just gives and gives.
Lying in bed with Baby, I speak softly to him about the wonders of Mexican hot chocolate and mocha with whipped cream. I confide in him that I don’t see what the big deal is about coffee and press my face into the softness of his cheek.
I’m thankful for Husband’s sleepy smile of adoration even when Baby wakes at 5 in the morning, for the third time in a row.
I’m thankful for that morning when the sun hadn’t come up yet, and Husband brought back breakfast sandwiches we savored in the kitchen like a well-kept secret. We kept giggling as we hid our secret from Olive who had just woken up and we could hear through the wall, singing a song she had learned at school.
I’m thankful for the time Olive and I were singing the Little Mermaid song with great gusto and Baby pulling at his sideburns with a look of bewilderment.
I’m thankful for the moments I have with Olive when it’s just us- no Baby, no school, and no jeering thoughts of things to do or what to do, like the time we painted a large Jesse tree when she stayed home from school with a sore throat. She stood on a stool to paint the leaves green, and I stood beside her holding the palette as I painted the trunk and branches gold. We worked in silence, which is rare since she always seems to be chatting away or asking questions. And it was this magical moment of stillness as if we were the painting.
I’m thankful for monthly brunch with Sister- her crispy hash browns, sweet breakfast sausages, Belgian waffles, yogurt with fresh berries and honey, and Jacob’s omelette I begrudgingly share with Olive, followed by a competitive game of Sequence for Kids, winner gets to sit in the furry white throne.
I am thankful my friend prays for me though she is riddled with pain and oppressed with heaviness that keeps her from barely functioning. She prays for me and sees the goodness of God in me and our situation. Especially in the hard places because she knows that He makes all things good.
I’m thankful that He rejoices over me with gladness and exults over me with loud singing. That’s the kind of mom I want to me- to rejoice over my children and exult over them with singing and words of life because lately I’ve been the mom who nags and scolds with drawn out sighs.
I’m thankful that after a fight, my daughter and I can forgive each other easily, and she still lights up when she sees me.
I’m thankful for prayers I’ve forgotten and given up on, that He hasn’t forgotten and will answer even if I’ve stopped praying.
I’m thankful for the times when I feel discouraged and weak, He nudges me to remember the truth. So as I speak aloud truth to chase away the lies, muttering to myself in the kitchen as I put away the dishes, Olive calls out from the living room, Mommy, what are you saying? -I’m declaring truth, I say, waiting for her to ask what that means, but instead she says, Oh, as if she knows it has something to do with God and not to bother me. I declare truth that I am His child, a child of the King, that He never forsakes and is always with me, that He is good and faithful and loved me first. His precious blood covers me, His Spirit fills me. In my weakness, He is strong. He is my strength. If God is for me, who can be against me? I feel myself getting stronger inside, and I am able to look the day in the eye and stand. And who knew that that day would end with me exhausted but laughing, laughing uncontrollably at my friend telling stories about her crazy kids. That is victory.
As I’m driving home, the leaves are on fire, a blaze of bright oranges and reds lining the streets and screaming glorious. I think about the fire that raged in our own city in which people died. People my friends knew, people who had families, people who were around my age. When I see the leaves, I think of those who live their lives with purpose, and I cry. The leaves change from a hopeful green to a fiery red that burns and bleeds, the way people find their calling and it’s as if they’re living for the first time. I think of how the stem loosens its grip on the branch it hung from its whole life and drifts down to the ground, gently landing with a silent finality. Their inevitable death carpets the earth like star shaped confetti.
I’m thankful that in the spring, after what looks like barren limbs that have given up, there are signs of life and green everywhere. I am thankful for life, for the extravagant eternity wound up inside every single one of us, waiting to stretch out into its destiny and burn brightly like fire against the gray of winter sky.