Grateful. Thankful. Blessed.

I am blessed! Blessed beyond measure in my life. But I didn’t always feel this way. There are many years were I felt alone, helpless, and hopeless. Many times when “be thankful in all circumstances” made me angry at God. Why would I be thankful for the death of a spouse or a child? But I am…today. I’ve learned that why I may not always understand the why behind God’s action or inaction, I have learned that I have hope in Christ and that allows me to be joyous and thankful. (To hear my full testimony, click here).

I reflected on life as I prepared to give my testimony, and realized that God placed many, many blessings in my life. Those blessings are people - people He sent to my life for brief moments, a season, and a lifetime. People that I may not have appreciated when first meeting yet have grown to see them through God’s eyes and even better added them to my family. People that I didn’t even realize were helping to lead me to a closer relationship with Jesus.

As we come into fall, we turn to November and Thanksgiving and you’ll see many FB posts and Instagrams with “I’m thankful for…” titles. And yes, I’m going there also. BUT I’m starting mine in October because this is an emotionally tough month for me. Not only do I get to celebrate my birthday, I also get to remember my son Kyle’s life (and death). I get to give thanks to God for placing the right people and opportunities in my life at the right times. So I’m starting my list early because I’m continuing to work on turning October into a month of celebration of victories and transformation! And I’m starting my list with what I am most grateful to God for (well, right after the sacrifice of His Son Jesus for me so I can have eternal life, hope, and joy)—PEOPLE!

DISCLAIMER: This is not going to be a one time, one day post. This will be a continual posting for however many days, weeks, or months it might take me. Also, these people are in no particular order, except for the name who God laid on my heart that particular day. Love you all.

Today I am thankful for Michelle V. Michelle has a passion for loving others. She and her husband, Jim, are foster parents and have had many children come to their home for short and long stays. Through her, I have witnessed and learned how to love others like Jesus did and does. Totally unconditionally, with no concern of that persons circumstances, abilities, or anything that society might think matters. I’ve learned to open my heart more to people and accept them not only for who they are but where they are in life. Her capacity for loving others doesn’t just stop with the kids that come into her home but with the parents or grandparents who are struggling. She loves on the broken-hearted, down-trodden, unwanted, and seemingly hopeless; praying for them to overcome addictions, abuse, and ask for the help needed. I see people differently because Michelle has shown me how to see them through Jesus eyes.

I’ve also seen the full faith and confidence of someone who KNOWS they have the power given to us through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Her faith isn’t fluff or just for show. When she asks God to remove a pain, a negative feeling, disbelief, or anything, I hear, fell, and see with full faith and confidence her words “I REBUKE THAT IN THE NAME OF JESUS!” I have felt the tremors of the faith and power in invoking Jesus’ name when that is said. I have more confidence, more encouragement, better understanding, and love with having a personal, faith-filled, family-oriented relationship with Michelle.

So Michelle, thank you. Thank you for being in my life. Thank you for being my family.