As Thanksgiving comes to a close for 2017, I’d like to take a few moments and remember some of God’s special gifts this past year. I find in remembering the gifts, it makes the difficulties easier to take confidently. Such times remind me that since God has blessed before, He will bless again. Author Ann Voscamp calls this ‘seeing God through the holes.’ This visual doesn’t ignore the things in life that rub us raw, but it focuses on the God who is able to use the raw for our good and His honor.
Please join me!
Gary and I enjoyed our first vacation together since our honeymoon four years ago. We actually learned new things about one another, such as: he loves sitting at the beach, listening to the waves; and I actually will get up to see a sunrise over the ocean.
The last week in January, Gary and I enjoyed a day in DC with David and Hollie, my step son and his girlfriend. It was our first outing together as couples. There’s something beautiful when our children begin to see us as friends rather than parents. It was an absolutely delightful day together!
My mom had knee replacement, and I was able to be with her three weeks. During that time, my sister and brother-in-law took me out for a day’s respite to Dahlanega, Georgia, site of the first major US gold rush. Their love and care for both mom and I during a difficult time meant so much. (Mom’s medication temporarily altered her greatly, but all’s well now and mom’s knee has healed wonderfully!)
Gary tore his rotater cuff, and so before having surgery, we took a week and headed to North Carolina’s Outer Banks. My first husband and I took Evan there several years ago, and I hadn’t been back since. It brought back many special memories, and I was very grateful to share this special place with Gary. His surgery went well, and we’ve greatly enjoyed the last seven months of his recovery at home. He’s going back to work in another week!
A very dear friend passed away from cancer, and God sustained us along with so many. I’m so grateful for Pastor Paul’s legacy, and for God’s amazing love that shelters and sustains through the pain.
Gary discovered Ocean City, MD! We spent at least 3 different days during the summer walking the boardwalk and sitting on the beach. On our second trip, we took my sister-in-law for her birthday. She and I got henna tattoos in celebration of her special day!
Gary ended up in the emergency room one week before he was to join me on a trip to Rockville,TX where I was going to attend a writer’s conference by author Mary DeMuth. I’m very grateful God protected Gary through a frightening 105 degree fever and subsequent five-day recovery in the hospital. I’m also glad I was still able to attend the conference. The conference was intimate, informative, and life-changing. (She’s now scheduling conferences for 2018.) The weekend at Magnolia in Waco was the icing on the cake. (Going to Magnolia was on my bucket list.)
A special 58th birthday with Gary in St. Mary’s MD. This day of adventure was just for me.
My dear friend, Joy from Hawaii came for a visit. We see each other so seldom, so we enjoyed almost a week of sightseeing and friend-time together.
The week following Joy’s visit, I headed to New Mexico. My sister-in-law and I spent a week touring beautiful Santa Fe, portions of Route 66, the Taos pueblos and cliff dwellers, along with portions of the old Cumbres and Toltec rail line via a steam train adventure. We saw so many beautiful places, talked to many interesting people, and enjoyed the time together immensely. True gifts.
Gary and I took an impromptu trip to Cumberland MD for the day. The weather was sunny and temperate. Probably one of the last ‘nice’ weekends of fall. Gary is learning I love a good adventure. He provided one just for me!
Gary and I celebrated our 5th anniversary in Williamsburg, VA, one of my favorite places in the world! For some reason, coming here feels like coming home.
Thank you for joining me today! It does my heart such good to remember these special gifts from Daddy. I encourage you to take a few moments at the end of this holiday weekend and remember your past joys. If 2017 was too hard, or life in general hasn’t been easy, I’m so sorry. I’ve been there. Let me pray for you, as sometimes in the pain, we forget the joys we’ve known. Or the remembering of them is far too painful.
Lord, I bring my friend to you. Their present pain clouds past joys and gifts. Please comfort them. Please draw them into your embrace, so they know you care. Please, in mercy remind them of past joys in a way that refreshes and brings hope for tomorrow. Please. Because you are the God of hope. In Jesus’ name, amen.
It’s good to be back with you.
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