Do you ever have those random, depressing "what if..." thoughts? Today, as I was driving home, I was thinking about how my family in Florida has been pressuring me to set a date to visit over my sister's winter break. I am completely dreading how much work it is going to be to travel with both our kids and then have all of us stay in one room for several days. I found myself wishing that, just once, my family would come visit me. How much easier that would be!
I love my dad, but he has only come to visit me when we first moved to Iowa when I was seven, once a couple of years later, for my high school graduation, and then for my wedding six years ago. So, I found myself thinking, "It would probably take something tragic for him to actually commit to coming." Boom. Like a flash of lightning, I had this "what if..." moment, where I imagined one of my children--or even a future child--deathly ill. I saw a hospital. I saw a church. I saw a slideshow at a funeral.
Then it was over.
These are not thoughts I usually dwell on, but when I have those moments that are over in the blink of an eye, they really make me think. When I'm driving and I see my car rear-ending the semi in front of me, I slow down. This evening, I thought back to earlier in the day when I was disciplining my toddler for the tenth time for climbing up on something he wasn't supposed to be climbing on. At the time, I found myself saying aloud, "How can I be so frustrated with my child?"
I love my oldest--I love him so much it almost hurts when I think about it too much. He brings so much joy to my life and to Jordan's. He teaches me new things all of the time and helps me to slow down and appreciate life. He is learning and growing daily, and I couldn't be prouder of him. He has days of pure sweetness where I want to shout to the world, "Look at my perfect baby!" But there are times, so help me, there are even days, it seems, where I am so exasperated with his behavior that I forget all of these good things.
So, when I had this brief "what if..." moment, I remembered that frustration, and I realized:
there are days I forget to be thankful for my greatest blessings.
There are days that I wake up to the sound of my toddler jabbering in his crib, and I don't give thanks that his lungs are healthy enough that I can hear him three rooms away through his closed door.
There are days that I change my baby's diaper for the fifteenth time, and I don't give thanks for how much he eats and the miracle that is his precious little body absorbing nourishment from mine.
There are days that I mumble a welcome home to my husband as I breathe a sigh of relief that it is no longer two against one, and I forget to give thanks for a man who goes to work everyday without complaint, then trudges home to help with diapers and baths and dishes and stories and bedtimes.
There are days that I receive messages from friends who love me and think of me and pray for me, and I don't give thanks for all of the people in my life who seem to know just when I need encouragement.
There are days--there are far, far too many days--that I wake up and go through my day, on my own, then collapse into bed, and I forget to give thanks for my salvation. Somehow, I fail to be daily blown away by the amazing grace and mercy shown to me by my Father. Somehow, I fail to fall to my knees in gratefulness for the love that has been shown to me through the sacrifice of my Savior.
Somehow, I fail to recognize that I don't deserve any of these blessings.