Hmm…after 4.5 days in the car with three kids under 7 and no video games, boy I’m thankful to be home. With a gigantic blizzard hitting Milwaukee and Chicago a day after we left, boy I’m thankful to be home.
And after seeing aunts, uncle, great-aunts, great-uncles, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cousins and even more (even if for less than 24 hours), boy I’m thankful we got to up to WI to see my Great-Grandma Koeller for her 90th birthday!
“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies…Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” (Proverbs 31:1, 25)
If there was ever a legacy of love, Grandma Koeller has lived it, and left it to all of us, and I am so thankful for it. I think the estimate was more than 150 people made the trek to Shawano (It’s pronounced “Shaw-no”, by the way, and it’s north of Green Bay and the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field–for any of you geography buffs out there. And they call it “the frozen tundra” for a reason, too. It is.) Oh, and did I mention that we shared the hotel with 5 junior hockey teams in town for a tournament? Our kids didn’t have to worry about being noisy or disruptive at all!
“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.” (Proverbs 31: 28-29)
And as much as I might dramatize it, I actually loved having our whole little family together, night and day, for a week. I’m so thankful we got that bonding time as a family. Sure, I got tired of Sock Monkey, Froggy, and Speedy the Turtle Pillow Pet ninja fighting across the back seat. Sure, I got tired of “Moooomma, my tummy is hun-gee!” five minutes after every meal. But I loved seeing them all lined up with their little headphones and Tag readers in the backseat. I loved exploring new hotel rooms with them every night (and remembering way back when 2 beds and a bathroom were exciting to me too). And I loved getting compliments on how well behaved they were, sitting in the Dodge Garage in Kent, OH while Hemi got fixed up. Those moments make all the disciplining and training and fussing and correcting worthwhile. Of course, that sort of fell apart later at the hotel, but hey, it’s the little things.
“Chasten they son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” (Proverbs 19:18) “The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.” (Proverbs 20:7)
I’ve been a bit out of sorts since we got back. I’m thankful for my job, but I didn’t miss the daily work-week grind. I’m very thankful that there were no problems at the farm and we had good help to take care of things, but I’m getting a little anxious about lambing season right around the corner. And I’m thankful for our wonderful little school and daycare that prayed for us while we were gone and welcomed us back with open arms; but I got a small taste of the bonding and daily learning experiences, the teachable moments, that can occur in a homeschooling setting, and I miss it.
“And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shall teach them diligently unto they children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
I’m also thankful that our Green Bay Packers are going to the Super Bowl, but it makes me miss my parents like someone ripped the heart from my chest. Seeing the newspaper covers, the billboards, the email jokes, it makes my throat choke up with hot tears until I can barely breath. It reminds me that they’re not here. They’re missing it. That our life is going on without them. That we’re seeing things, doing things, moving on…It’s not a new pain. I face it each time my kids do something I want to share with them. I face it each time something exciting happens at the farm and I want to call them. Right now it’s just sharp and raw and biting. It’s the elephant in the room any time my family talks about this football season and doesn’t mention them.
“Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak. O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O Lord, how long? Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: O save me for thy mercy’s sake…I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears. Mine eye is consumed because of grief…” (Psalms 6:2-4, 6-7)
Which makes me thankful for prayer. It makes me thankful for the Bible. It makes me thankful to know that there is no where I can go that God is not already there. There is no sadness I can know that He does not already know. There is no pain that He will not share. I never wake up in the middle of the night, afraid to wake Him up with my crying, my pleading for comfort, my fears. He never gets tired of hearing me struggle with the same issues over and over again. I am thankful that, as Pastor Gray says, there is no problem bigger than my God.
“Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou has been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle forever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings.” (Psalms 61:1-4)