1. Jared. I am so thankful for a sweet sympathetic spouse who thinks I am the best ever. He reminds me constantly of the beauty he sees when he looks at me. He reminds me of the good in our lives when I'm struggling and just see the pain. He is a wonderful father who takes time with his kids to talk about what matters as well as being fun and playful. We have been together since we were 15 and he knows me better than I know myself. I am so very thankful for my Jared.
2. Our Children. I am thankful that this diagnosis came after we were done having children. If this had come 10 years sooner our family would look very different. I can't have children on these medications due to dangers of severe birth defects. If this disease had to come, I am thankful it came after all 5 children are already here and old enough to be self sufficient.
3. Our Church. The outpouring of love and support from our church family has been such an encouragement. I am thankful for the cards, prayers, hugs, and phone calls. Ministry can be so hard at times but this season has been a reminder of how wonderful life in the ministry can be. I am so thankful for the family God has granted through this church.
4. Worship. I have always enjoyed singing. When I sing I feel closer to God. Being a part of worship during this has been times of reprieve. Moments when my focus is taken off of self and put where it belongs. I don't think about anything but the words and the music. I absolutely love being a part of this ministry and I'm thankful I have been able to continue.
5. Friends. When Jared and I were looking for a church 15 years ago I prayed that wherever we went I would be able to find friends, to have community. The most common complaints from those in full time ministry is loneliness and isolation. I love my friends and feel I have people in my life that fit all kinds of roles. Thank you for loving me when I'm unlovely. Being patient with me when I'm self focused and emotional. Thank you for reminding me of the good and admonishing me when I need it. Thank you for being my community, for being an answer to my prayer from all those years ago.
6. Family. I am thankful for family on both sides that have called and text and shown love and concern. I have called on you for prayers and sympathy. Thank you for not tiring of me when I need to talk through the same thing for the 100th time. Thank you for letting me talk about all the gory details and offering support and love in return.
7. Modern Medicine. I currently have 9 prescriptions in addition to vitamins I take daily. If you do some research you will see that it wasn't that long ago that people diagnosed with auto-immune arthritis' were doomed to a life of pain and deformity. The medications that are available may have side affects but not taking them cripples the body ensures severe chronic pain. I am so thankful to live in this time, in this country, so I have access to the medications I need to be able to function and live a long life.
8. Our home. Everything I need is on one floor. When I have an achy painful day I have everything I need without any stairs. We have a big bath tub in our bathroom and I have a huge bag of Epson salts. Soaking in that tub has been wonderful and brings relief. Obviously these are not necessities, but they sure make it all a lot more tolerable.
God is good regardless of my circumstances.