With a Grateful Heart (November 23, 2014)

This is the week we give thanks to God for all the blessings we have in our lives.  And in spite of the challenges I have been facing, I do indeed feel blessed.   I am so very tired, and living in pain, but as a dear friend reminded me, the good thing about pain is that it reminds you that you are still alive.  And I have a warm, snug roof over my head where I may take my rest.  Others do not.

My husband was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, and we are still waiting for an appointment with the cardiologist.  We cannot see him until December 12th.  But we are grateful that his primary care physician is on top of the situation, and I am grateful that my husband is willing to go to the emergency room if his symptoms get out of hand.  The medication he has been given keeps his symptoms under control for now.  And we are blessed to have medical care when others have none.

I’m not strong enough to sing at church right now, but I’m strong enough to attend worship services, and receive the greetings and well wishes of my friends.  It is so good to enter the house of the Lord and feel the love and grace that surrounds me, and to feel that I am home.

My husband and I are exploring the new world of cooking for kidney disease, and finding that while it can be challenging, it isn’t all that bad.  We are certainly eating healthier – more fresh produce, more seafood (what a blessing to live on the coast where it’s always fresh!), more herbs and less salt.  Our Thanksgiving dinner will have some modifications, and sadly, no pumpkin pie for me, but I can still have apple pie.  Life is good.

I have heard from a couple of other people dealing with kidney disease, and that has given me hope and encouragement.  And, as the Rev. Billy Graham once said, “The will of God will not take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us.”  I don’t just believe this, I know this.

One of my favorite psalms reminds us:

“You hem me in, behind and before,

    and lay your hand upon me. . .

If I take the wings of the morning

    and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,

even there your hand shall lead me,

    and your right hand shall hold me fast.”  Psalm 139:5,9-10

And most of all I am thankful that, when I thought my useful days were behind me, I was given the opportunity to write these devotionals, to share my thoughts with you.  And I have heard from so many of you, and I am reminded that we are all a community that love and support each other and are bound together in so many ways.  And for this I am overwhelmingly grateful.

“I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise”  Psalm 138:1

We thank you, Dear Lord, for the blessings which you bestow upon us in such abundance.  Even in the midst of our despair there are blessings if we just open our eyes and look for them.  Help us to greet each new day with gratitude and enthusiasm, and close our eyes each night with appreciation and acknowledgement of a life well lived in You.  In Christ’s name we pray.  Amen.

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