It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
to declare Your steadfast love in the morning,
and Your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp,
to the melody of the lyre.
For You, O Lord, have made me glad by Your work;
at the works of Your hands I sing for joy.
As I sit here in our cozy, warm house watching the snowflakes fall lightly out the window, I am thankful. One year ago I would never have imagined myself sitting here, not only in this particular house but with all the blessings that surround my life. God is so good to me, and I am thankful for so many things.
Every day I find I am more and more grateful for God’s blessing and provision of my husband Steve. Growing up with an engineer dad and two engineer brothers I always said I wanted to marry an engineer. But as I waited for God to answer my prayers for a husband, I often wondered what kind of man would be “the right fit” for me. It was an almost instant realization for both of us and our families when Steve and I first started dating. But that initial connection and “perfect fit” only deepens and blossoms over time. We’ve been married for a little over five months, and the past two have been rough at times due to the transition of moving, getting connected with people in our community, and making decisions about my health. But in the midst of the stress and fear and anxiety and difficulty, I’ve had my husband and best friend. He doesn’t always know what to do or say, but he is there. He prays for me and with me, and I couldn’t be more blessed. You don’t always realize how precious a companion is until you have felt the loneliness while waiting years and years without them. There are so many reasons why I love Steve, but one that has stood out to me recently is how attentive he is to details. I share a lot of things with Steve throughout the day, and I know he is really listening because when he goes to the Lord in prayer, his words are a true expression of what’s going on in our lives. He brings God right there into the details of our lives, which returns my focus to the One who controls all things. And when God answers our prayers (which is very often!) Steve always, always remembers to thank Him — even when it’s a “small” thing. It’s been almost a year since Steve first told me that he loved me, and my love for him as my husband grows deeper every day.
I am thankful for our home. It has been a blessing to begin fixing it up to make it our own. We are in a wonderful neighborhood with friendly neighbors. We have painted a bit, bought some new furniture, framed a bunch of pictures, and have plenty of room to grow a family someday. It is a special place for us to begin our lives together. It needs a lot of work (but what house doesn’t?!). In fact, we were supposed to get half of our windows replaced today, but it has been delayed due to the snow — and one of our bedroom windows blew in this morning!! But we are thankful for working heat and hot showers. :)
It’s been a bit of a transition for both cats getting to know each other, but they are making great progress! Toward the beginning we were worried that we’d have to get rid of one of them, but we have not had to lock either of them up for several days now. And they’ve been fine being out together when we’re away from the house and also overnight! They still have a ways to go before they’re buddies… (even as I’m writing this, Toby is bugging Lily and she’s hissing at him…) But I’m thankful that they are getting there!
It was hard to leave my elementary teaching job in Platteville, but God has provided a job that is perfect for this season of my life. I only work two days a week, have small classes (my largest is 8 students), and I get to teach without the stress that is ever-so-present in a regular education classroom. I’m thankful for an excellent music curriculum that teaches foundational music skills in a fun but meaningful way and also getting to teach violin to enthusiastic students. And I’m enjoying the variety that comes with teaching kindergarten all the way up to 5th grade. Really, I love them all. :)
I’m grateful that we found a new church so quickly and that I’ve been able to join the worship team. I’ve discovered that it was a lot easier to join a church as a college student when there were ministries that target that age group and LOTS of friends to meet and engage with right away. But as an adult it seems to be a lot harder to make connections. I still don’t feel like I have any close friends here, but at least there are familiar faces, people that recognize me, and the start of friendships. This past Sunday we had a very special service in which people from the congregation got to share with everyone how God has worked in our lives and why we are thankful. I was sitting up there with the worship team and felt led to share how thankful I am for all of those people there on the stage with me. It has been a way for me to use my talents for the Lord while getting to know people in a more personal way than just a hello on a Sunday morning.
And where would we be without our families? I have to conclude with the people that are so very dear to us, even though we are scattered across the state, the country, and the globe (thanks to John in Africa;). This morning as we prayed together before Steve left for work, we gave thanks for our families. We have been truly blessed to have such loving and supporting families. When Steve and I married each other, not only did we gain an incredible companion, but a second family. My family has embraced Steve as another engineer, brother, and son joining right in. And Steve’s family loves me like I am their own. This past weekend we got to visit my 97-year-old grandma. We hadn’t seen her for a while, and she didn’t know we were coming. When we stepped through the door, her face lit up and she started clapping and said, “I knew someone would come! I’m so glad you came!” :) I’m thankful for time spent with each family member and am looking forward to celebrating birthdays, holidays, and many other moments with these people that are so precious to me.
There is so much more to be thankful for. This year especially, God has blessed me more abundantly than I could have asked for!