I've had a hard time taking the time to come and write here... it's not for lack of things on my mind... perhaps it's been because there has been too much on my mind? I don't know. But, I figure I'd better come and write something and hopefully get a little bit better about writing.
My post title comes from a song that plays in my mind on a daily basis. If you're familiar with the Duggar family then you're probably aware of their friends from Tennessee, the Bates, who have 19 children. I found a video of the Bates singing (well, a few actually) and one in particular made a big impression on me. I LOVE watching this family sing together and the song they sing in one particular video has the lyrics "It's been a long journey but I have been blessed, walking with Jesus I have no regrets, He is so good to me I must confess, the way's been long, but I'm blessed."
My personal blogging tapered off most significantly after an unplanned trip to California at the beginning of October. I knew I'd be taking this trip after a phone call came through on my husband's birthday that a cousin of mine had passed away, I just wasn't aware how quickly it'd happen or how. I had just celebrated another year of life of my sweet husband that I am so blessed to have, only to find out that my cousin (who was only a year older than my husband) was no longer with us on Earth. I did find solace in knowing that he was in a better place, and I could literally see him in my mind being embraced by my grandfather who left us many years ago... but there were still a lot of feelings running through me and thoughts in my mind that still haven't quite settled.
In any case, things turned out wonderfully... my husband was amazing and asked for time to take our little family out to California all together (including his 34 week pregnant wife). He even stayed back at the hotel with all of the children so that I could go to the viewing and funeral. As I walked into the room that my cousin lay there were a lot of different emotions that hit me. It's a pretty sobering experience to be looking at someone you love and who you can remember up and smiling and so full of life, to just seeing a shell. Things were made better by being greeted by ALL of my family members.... my parents and sisters had come in from AZ that morning and my brothers were both there. Being the 7 of us (well 9, plus 2 with my brother-in-laws) was strengthening and uplifting not only to each of us, but it made a big impact on our extended family that we were all there with them. To not only grieve and mourn with them, but to rejoice in life.
I think since then I've reviewed my own mortality quite a bit. What legacy will each one of us leave to those around us? As we walked with family into the chapel after the casket had closed, my heart was full to see that every bench in the chapel was full and that every chair in the extended area had been filled.... the people that had come out on a Thursday morning despite work/school or whatever else they had going on had literally amounted to hundreds of people. Hundreds of lives that had been touched by one man, and that doesn't even count those who couldn't come or who hadn't heard yet. Who are we touching with our lives? What stories and memories will be had of us when we no longer inhabit this body?
We really have no idea what each day holds for us. We have no say as to how long we will be on this earth or what conditions we will live in as we do. Life is such precious gift! As I look at my husband and children it always makes me want to be a better person, but I've tried to increase that resolve as of late. What words will be the last that I say to them? What will they remember me by? My greatest desire is to raise sons that are like unto the Stripling Warriors who have strength and faith in the Lord because of the foundation they were given early in life. And my greatest desire is for my daughter to be like Mary... willing to tell the Lord that His will be done and being worthy of the blessings and trials that He sees fit for her.
I am grateful for life! As the lyrics of this song say: "I've had my share of sunshine and rain, days filled with laughter and nights filled with pain, but with every mile as I travel each day the journey gets sweeter each day."
So, as the kids are yelling, things have been spilled, the house isn't as picked up as we'd like, babies have been up all night (meaning you were up all night) and now you have to be up all day, let's choose joy. The spirits we get to come in contact with each day are so choice and so worth every ounce of our goodness and once that's gone they're worth every minute spent asking God to help buoy us up. Life is precious! We just welcomed our 5th child not too long ago... I have to admit, he had me a little scared along the way. I have 3 friends that were due with babies at the same time who lost theirs into the 2nd trimester, and with out little one's track history of having to endure me having surgery and Nathan being gone I had no idea how this would end. With every pain I was seriously questioning whether he would make it until I was able to hold him in my arms. His name is Zane, it means God is gracious, and that's certainly how I feel!
As you watch this video just think of the words and look into the faces of these wonderful people. Are they perfect? No. But they do have a great perspective on life. While I'm sure my husband will never outright go for having 18 children, and who knows how many more we'll have being one ovary down now, but I look at this family and greatly desire the same. Why? Because raising children is easy of course! Oh, wait, no, that's not it :-). It's because despite the challenges that arise I believe that there are spirits waiting in heaven that need body's and if I can bring them into a home that will teach them that they are children of God and help provide them with the tools they need to return to him then I should. My husband feels this way too... he'd just rather take them one at a time while I'm a big picture kind of gal! In any case, whether this one is our last or if we're blessed with 1 or 2 more I'd be just as happy... God is in control of all that kind of stuff. My job is to enjoy and give thanks for what He's given, improve each day, and learn all that I can so that my children and others can benefit from that knowledge!
Don't take for granted what is given each day. Every breath is a gift, use it wisely and in singing praises to He who gives life.
4 hours ago