Election 2016 is over. Can I get an amen? Who else is happy this mud slinging, upside down, shenanigans for an election are over? Can we move on and just be grateful we live in a free nation and have the right to vote? I have bigger problems to deal with anyway. There’s a smell in my living room and I cannot find the source. It’s beyond unsettling.
November always represents a month of thankfulness. I love nothing more than reflecting on a year, as we head into the holiday season, on the things I am particularly thankful for this year. 2016 brought many changes to our lives. I found a job that I don’t despise, and have worked hard to learn something new every day I am there. Sure, they tease me relentlessly (I ask for it) and I feel really insecure at times. But I work in an environment where many people are more interested in seeing a person succeed than seeing them fail. This is a first for me in my Nursing career. And I am very thankful.
I am particularly thankful for our church family that opens their hands to the world around them in ways you might not see at the church on the corner. My sweet church shows us how to love others well. To some, we may be crazy Jesus people, but to the homeless friends we know by name, to the orphans in Kenya and Uganda, and to the foster families of Boulder County, we are Christians who act different. The people who fill our small church dive in to service without hesitation, from large families to my 89 year old friend Irv who helps guide small groups and brings me tomatoes from his garden. To be a part of this church is a gift for which we are very thankful.
I am thankful for a handful of women in my life, from my sister to my best friend who continuously call me to do good, and call me to live out the purpose God has set before me. I’m thankful for women who have walked the road of adoption, with whom I can be brutally honest about the difficulties that come with certain aspects of adoption. I’m thankful for women who mentor me and challenge me with gentle guidance and leadership. I’m thankful for women who study the Word of God with me, and remind me I am not walking this path alone. They are prayer warriors who teach me God is faithful and every time we meet, there are stories of what a good, good Father we serve. For these women, I am abundantly grateful.
For my family, the Repenning 6, our kooky unit of chaos and love, words can hardly even touch how full my heart is with the knowledge that God’s Hand has blessed us above and beyond what we could have ever asked for or imagined. The “perfect family” we are not. We fight, we complain, we hurt, we are messy. But at the end of the day, or maybe the next morning, we come together, talk about the hard stuff and take that tiny step toward becoming the person God is calling us to be. The success of my children does not impress me. I’m thankful they are intelligent, healthy people who are able to get jobs, do well at school, and open the door for a lady. But their accomplishments and accolades don’t mean anything if they don’t know where the honor and gratitude is due. Nothing makes me happier than when something happens and Faith will say, “Oh man, mom, that was God”! Hearing one of my kids offer up a thankful heart to the way they see God’s Hand in their lives gives me hope that no matter how dark their road may be, they will remember to call on Him. For my family, I am exceedingly thankful.
Today my 13 year old daughter asked me if she could stay home from school. Jr. High isn’t easy, and the pressures of projects, sports, and hurt feelings just got to be too much. I did something I never do. I gave her the day off. After giving her a leisurely morning, I took Faith to lunch. Zoe and I don’t go to lunch often, so taking Faith to eat out was more than a treat. As we sat in the sun eating our pizza, I stared at those 2 girls—my adopted children, chosen by God to be in our family. Gratitude washed over me, and as we drove home the three of us sang along with the radio to the words, “Its Your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise, we pour out our praise to You only”. There are few better moments than these.
Billy and I don’t have 20 years of easy life to brag about. We have experienced murder, miscarriages, job losses, broken relationships just to name a few. But never, not even one time, did God seem distant in the storm. There are no human words to explain the way my heart feels towards the Loving Father I know that has carried me for so much of my life, through all the sadness and all the joys. For this gift, my words sound small, but I say them anyway. Thank You God. You are real. You are alive. You are so good.