Good evening bloggy friends!
No. I didn't almost forget to post today. I promise. Partly...it's been a busy day. Partly...I've been a mixed bag of emotions.
Yesterday turned out to be a wonderful birthday! I have so many sweet friends, and I truly felt most blessed yesterday! I also loved being able to pray over the prayer requests that have been posted in conjunction with my giveaway post. And...if you're up late reading this, you have less than an hour to go before the giveaway officially closes (see post right below this one). I'll announce the winner sometime tomorrow evening! I'm almost giddy about it personally...I can't wait to see who wins!
I've also been getting ready for my daughter's 14th birthday party. It's birthday central around here. I so remember this week 14 years ago. She was already 10 days late, but I really wanted her to have her own birthday, so I consented to being induced two days after my own birthday (rather than ON my birthday). My "little" 9 pound, 3 ounce bundle of joy hung in there too. I was secretly hoping she'd arrive on my birthday anyway...ssshhhh...don't tell her I said that.
But, aside from all the birthday festivities, I've shed lots and lots of tears since Thursday. Honestly...I'm having a tough time coping with the recent news from the Whittaker family. I shared a post from their blog a couple days ago, but the latest one that I read this morning caused a new outpouring of tears. Please read it when you get a chance, but grab your kleenex first. It will not only cause you to feel more grateful...I just bet it might challenge you a bit too. Click here to read more of Susana's story. I'm still grasping to find the right words to convey my feelings about all of this. My heart hurts. My eyes burn. But, my mouth continues to praise the God of the universe!
I also spent some time today with another family from our church. They just went through a grueling process with their 14-year-old daughter that has spina bifida. She broke her hip on Christmas Day. While this is tragic for any person, this is especially tragic for a child with spina bifida. But, their attitude astounds me. Their faith refreshes me. And...yet again...I find my mouth praising the God of the universe!
Lastly, I've been following the blog of another woman - my own age - that just suffered a massive stroke earlier this month. For more on Joanne's story, please click on the "Praying for Joanne" button on my sidebar to the right. I've been reading the updates posted by her friends and family. I've been praying for this sweet woman, that I've never met, as if she were a close friend. And...then I had to laugh at myself for a moment, because in Christ, we are ALL family. We hurt for each other, we laugh with each other, and we rejoice together. So, yet again...I find my mouth praising the God of the universe!
One who may not know this great and loving God that I intimately know won't understand how I can praise Him in the midst of such devastation. And...honestly...apart from Him, I don't have the capacity to do it either. But, He gives me the ability to those things that I otherwise can't - including offering up praise in the midst of difficult circumstances. As I type this, I'm reminded that even through my mixed bag of emotions...I'm to praise Him not FOR all things but IN all things.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV, 2010)"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
So, for today, this is me. Mixed bag that I am. But, still lovin' Sweet Jesus!