Things I’m thankful for this year that I wasn’t thankful for last year

thanksgiving-snoopy

A change in our circumstances can often lead to a change in our perspective.  I guess God knew I needed a new perspective, so He chose to change our circumstances.  The last two years have definitely been the most difficult of our 24 year marriage.  I have not enjoyed the journey, but I’m thankful for the new perspective that the long and bumpy road has given me.

As I began to think about what I’m thankful for, I realized that there were several things that I’m thankful for this year that I wasn’t thankful for last year:

Health Insurance:  We had health insurance for the first 22 years of our marriage and we took it for granted.   Then 2012 rolled around and everything changed. My husband went into work one day and was told that in 6 months his job was going to be eliminated.  So he went to work for a new company. He had to work for the company’s temp service until the company officially hired him. The temp service provided us with a limited coverage insurance.  One of our girls had to have 2 MRI’s in January.  The insurance  paid for the first MRI, but paid nothing on the second one.  We had reached the maximum amount they were going to pay on our daughter for the whole year and it was only January.  Our limited insurance coverage was much more limited than we ever imagined.  We spent several extremely long months with no health coverage for our daughter.  Then one day the letter finally came in the mail. My husband would be hired at the end of June and we would have new health insurance.  It was like a dream come true.  We now have excellent insurance coverage.  It’s even better than the insurance we had for the first 22 years of our marriage.  Every time I am asked for my insurance card, I am so thankful to have one to pull out of my wallet.

Our girls can walk:  We live in a world where people often focus on the negative instead of the positive. When people look at a child with a disability they tend to focus on what the child can’t do and don’t consider what the child can do.   Earlier this year, I found myself focusing on all that our girls can’t do.  I felt angry and hopeless.  God stepped in because He knew that I needed to change my perspective. We decided that the girls needed to have a fresh start and we began to look for new therapists for them. The biggest blessing of their lives happened when we found Easter Seals.  I have spent every Monday afternoon since March of this year sitting in the waiting room at Easter Seals.  Almost every time we are there we see someone come in the front door who is in a wheelchair.  One day we were standing out front waiting for my husband to pick us up.  Two little girls were having a race to see who’s wheelchair could go the fastest.  The little girl who won the race was all smiles because her new wheelchair went so much faster than her old one.  As I stood there and watched those little girls, I got tears in my eyes.  It was a divine appointment from God .  He had me standing on the sidewalk in front of Easter Seals at that exact moment for a reason.  He wanted me to realize that I need to be thankful that my girls can walk and run. We pull into the parking lot of Easter Seals every week and our girls unbuckle, climb out of the van, and walk to the front door.  So many parents pull up, unload a wheelchair, lift their child into the wheelchair, and push their child’s wheelchair through the front door. Our life could be so much harder than it is.  I’m so thankful for the gentle reminder I received that day that I should be grateful that our girls can walk and run.

Our girls can talk:  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t wish that our girls didn’t have the speech and language problems that they have.  Every Monday we enter the Easter Seals waiting room and every Monday we have the exact same problem  Our girls talk too loud.  They definitely lack volume control.  We are constantly telling them that they are talking too loudly.  It’s embarrassing at times.  But then God once again steps in and gives me new perspective.  I see children all the time who have severe cognitive disabilities and what we deal with suddenly doesn’t seem as big as it once did.  There are Mommy’s who have never heard their child talk.  They have never heard their child say “I love you, Mommy”.   My girls tell me “I love you, Mommy” all day long.   It is a gift to have children who can talk and I shouldn’t take it for granted.

Easter Seals:  Easter Seals is a place where a child is accepted exactly as they are.  At Easter Seals the therapists focus on our girls abilities instead of their disabilities.  Our girls are thriving because the focus is on what they can do instead of what they can’t do.  I’m thankful for Kayla, Susan, Lisa, and Jill.  They are excellent therapists who are so caring and loving towards our girls.  We spend 2 1/2 hours just driving to Easter Seals for the girls to have therapies that last for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  It’s worth every moment of driving and every dollar spent on the gas to get there.  Last year I had only heard of Easter Seals.  This year my heart is filled with gratitude for all that they do for our girls.

As I tuck my girls in and kiss them goodnight tonight, I will thank God that they can walk and that they can talk.  I will thank Him that I am blessed to hear “I love you, Mommy” all day long.  I encourage each one of you who are reading this to think of something that you are thankful for this year that you were not thankful for last year.  As you kiss your kids goodnight, thank God for all the many ways that He has blessed your children.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)

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