Thursday, September 11, 2008

Even the Roses Have Thorns - A Thankful Thursday Post

"For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says, do not fear, I will help you." Isaiah 41:13

On this most memorable day in history, I am slightly awed that seven years have passed since the terrible events of 9-11. I think often of those families, their children born during that time, the same age as our Emily. I think of their sacrifice, many unwilling participants in a fate they had no idea was upon them. And, of course, I find myself thankful for so many reasons. Most of all, I am thankful for every man and woman who make it so that we are free and look to ensure we are safe.

This week has been an emotionally challenging one. On Saturday, I was just going into the dentist to begin a root canal I was dreading. My mother called, upset. Very upset. Her cousin's son, whom I have mentioned here before (Jeremy)was back in the hospital and yet, again fighting tongue cancer. Jeremy is younger than I and has a beautiful wife and two beautiful little boys. He will heal, he will get through this, but the struggle they have to endure is tiresome and scary at best. The beauty of this time in his life has been touched by the thorns and I hope you will join me in lifting him and his family as he gets well.

Just before that occurred, I received a phone call from a dear friend, who left me a message to call her back. I was pressed for time, so I called and quickly left her a detailed message about her son's upcoming wedding and the bridal shower we would all be attending. She was calling to tell me that unfortunately, neither the shower nor the wedding would be taking place, as his fiancee decided that this was a vow she could not take. I spent time with him on Sunday, and though he will be fine, it will take time for him to heal and cover over the places where the thorns have invaded.

And this, our little rose, attended her first preschool class on Wednesday. She was a champion, marching down the hall, attitude fully adjusted and going straight to her favorite toys upon arrival. I assured her I would be back and I slipped out of the room. I felt like a heel. She did very well. When the teacher opened the door, they were seated at the table with their backpacks on. Hannah was one of the first called and she bounded into the hallway and jumped into my arms, and yelled, "Mommmmmy!" (insert huge smile). Some of the other moms who had endured the wait alongside us, filled up as they watched. She says she wants to go back next week. Thank you, God for building trust in our family, for helping Hannah (and Mommy) to be brave and for speaking in that still small voice to my heart that she could do this. We will take each week as it comes and continue to pray that she likes and wants to go to her playgroup.

What I was not expecting about this experience was the flashback it would give me. I suppose this was my very own thorn this week. When Emily was two, attending the same class, in the same room, we had a very difficult year. To protect my own heart, I have blocked much of it out, but the sight, smell and even the pattern on the curtains brought back this wave of grief I was not prepared for. That was the year our son was stillborn. That was the year I suffered a terrible depression. It was a very, very hard year.

The blessing about grief is that sometimes it brings about change. And so in reliving some of the moments from that year, I discovered that was also the year we began our adoption. And as beautiful as a precious rose, it comes full circle with our little girl home and now two years old. I am thankful for the hardships, the grief, the pain. God carried us through and He knew His plan was far greater than anything I could have dreamed.

Finally, I am thankful for friends, both cyber and real-life. A passing word, an encouragement or acknowledgement, these people reach in and touch our lives. This week, I am especially thankful for Michelle and Stefanie. Michelle was one of several people who emailed regarding our family photo and removing our lady friend from Rob's shoulder. Thank you to all of you, who had suggestions or offered to assist. With all that Michelle has on her plate (two gorgeous daughters included;), she took some time to correct the picture and email it back to me in lightning speed. Thank you Michelle for showing such kindness. Visit her blog to say hi, you will be touched and amazed by this beautiful family.

And Stefanie...she nominated our blog for a bloggy award - humbled and grateful about sums it up. You can visit Stef and send her some love, she is an inspiration, a warm and wonderful woman with so many gifts. She is a daughter of the King and the mama to eight (no, not a typo, eight) magnificent children. She continually inspires me with her humor, truth and devotion to that which is most critical in life. Simply put, you rock, Stef.

What are you thankful for?


Michelle said...

How do you do it? Your words move me every time. God has given you a gift to express your feelings in such a beautiful way.

I did not know about your son. Words cannot express how sorry I am for the heartbreak you have endured. I am sending big hugs your way.

I will pray for healing for Jeremy as he undergoes treatment.

You are so sweet to mention me in your blog, but I would be glad to do that for you any time. It was nothing. And once again, you are SOOOO deserving of Stefanie's award!!

DiJo said...

Dear Heather,
As always thank you for sharing your beautiful words on such a poignant day!

You are such a gift!


mommy24treasures said...

oh Heather I am in agreement with Michelle, your words always move me differently from anyone's. I find myself often in anticipation of reading your Thankful posts.
I find myself today wanting to reach out and give you a warm friendly hug for all the pain you have endured. I am so thankful today that things are well for you.I am so glad Hannah did so well her first day of class:)
I will be praying for Jeremy as well.

Don and Lisa Osborn said...


You are so thoughtful and full of thoughts. Thank you for your honesty and your transparency.

I love you,

Joy in The Truth (Sharon Sloan) said...

OK, you didn't mention root canal to me! Small, minor detail!!!!!

Love you, dear friend!

So glad Hannah had a good experience! What a cutie!

sara said...

Friend, I am thankful for you!! Amidst the thorns, you take the time to honor what you are thankful for. I am sorry for your friends' son & his loss of a relationship and for your cousin and his young family. I am praying for their wounds to be healed..physically & emotionally.

I love your transparency and thank you for sharing your journey.....I am sorry for the heartbreak that you have gone through.


missy said...

Stop by my blog...I left you a treat : )

PS-Your post touched me so much!!! Prayers, my friend, Prayers!

Glad little bit had a great day!

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

Hi Heather,

Thanks for checking back in tonight...I think we are headed in the right direction....she seems to be a little better tonight.

I am so touched by your you know, I have just started visiting you blog.....I am so sorry for all the pain you endured....unfortantely we all stumble upon those thorns in our lives......your strength and dedication to your faith is apparent and has obviously pulled you through...what an inspiration you are to those around you!

You have a lot to be thankful for..


Anonymous said...


What a beautiful post, once again! I am sorry t hear of the sadness touching those whom you love and will add them to my prayers.

Whenever you mention your son, I am filled with tenderness for you. How moved I am to hear your story of our God bringing you beauty for ashes. You are an encourager to those who are lucky enough to have found there way here!

Love you,

Anonymous said...

PS, Hannah is SOOOO cute! She looks quite grown up in the post today!

Linette said...

I had no idea about your son. Thank you for sharing such a personal thing with all of us. Thank you for sharing your touched me more than you'll ever know.

And I love Hannah's apple dress. I've been eyeing that at Gymboree since it came out. :) She looks adorable!!

prechrswife said...

Wonderful, thoughtful post...

The Byrd's Nest said...

You DO always have a way with words and I love reading these type of posts on your blog.

Praying for Jeremy and wishing I could give you a great big hug.

Kristy said...

You know even though this post talks about hardship along with blessings it was a beautiful post . I am thankful for reading it and I am thankful for you putting it there for me. God bless you and your family.

If you would like to, go to my blog and read about my big news! Something else I am thankful for.

Love and blessings, Kristy

Denise C said...

OH Heather...YOU are such a blessing! I feel like Connie, I, too, find myself anticipating your Thankful post....I love to find a new post from you....and love even more when I see your name in my inbox!!! You are truly a blessing to me and so many more who have the pure honor of knowing you!!! I will lift Jeremy up in prayer before God and I will continue to cover you as well...I did not know about your baby boy either....Bless your precious heart....thank you for always sharing it so openly and beautifully here!!!
Love you sweet friend!!

Jodee Leader said...

Adorable pictures of Hannah. I am so glad she enjoyed her first day of preschool!

Sheri said...

I'm so glad that Hannah's first day of preschool went well for you. That's a big step for a little one!

Thanks for always sharing from your heart! God has given you a gift with the written word, and it's obviously appreciated by many.

I'm thankful today for wonderful cyberfriends like you!!


MacMui Mom said...


Thank you for sharing the hard things as well as the wonderful things. Thank you for remembering God in all things. Thank you for being the wonderful person you are.

Love you.

Lisa R

Leslie said...

What a beautiful post. Sounds like this was a full circle moment for you.

Lori said...

Heather, I always feel so honored to share in your life and to hear your faith and wisdom through your words. I'm sorry for the challenges that were before you this week yet thankful for the many friends you have around you and also for the blessings that sometimes come from those times.
Sending a big hug your way!

sheryl said...


You have the most amazing gift of words and the ability to look beyond unimaginable pain to find the blessings. You have touched my heart so deeply so many times, and once again, I am left speechless and in awe of your beautiful heart.

YOU are such a blessing to so many!



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