Two years ago, I was facing my first Thanksgiving after Kinley passed away. Feelings were mounting and I was having a very hard time! I thought it might be helpful to look back at that Thanksgiving. Some of you may be facing your first holiday season without your loved one, some of you may be facing your 30th! What I realized is that God has done a lot of healing in this heart of mine in the past two years.
Many of the feelings are still there and I still miss her more than words could ever describe. Reading this still opened the floodgates of my emotion. But at this point in my life, no matter how much I miss her, I KNOW that this is the plan that God had for my life. I know that He's walked every step with me and is using Kinley's story and our testimony to change lives. And I am "Truly Thankful". I'm thankful for Kinley. I'm thankful for the souls that were saved after hearing her story. I'm thankful for the lives that were changed because of "knowing" her. I'm thankful that I had her, and I'm thankful that God has her now. I'm thankful for every little morsel of healing that I've received in the past two years...every prayer, every song that I heard differently, every person who spoke a word of encouragement, every scripture that changed my perspective, every time I felt that God was holding me. I'm thankful!
Here are my words from two years ago....
Can I Truly Be Thankful?
November 26, 2009
I decided instead of writing "Happy Thanksgiving! I'm so thankful for all God has given me!", I would put a little honesty into what I was saying. So here's the thing....I know most of you woke up today and were excited to see friends and family and were thinking how much you have to be thankful for. I, however, woke up and the first thought in my mind was "What do I have to be thankful for....and NO ONE better say "HAPPY" Thanksgiving to me today. It is NOT happy!!!" I know what you're thinking, and you're right, it's a bad attitude and I'm being a brat!!
I left the house to go to Kinley's gravesite thinking that I wasn't happy and I wasn't thankful. This is not how my Thanksgiving was suppose to be. This is not what I signed up for. I didn't spend what seemed like an eternity trying to get pregnant, take fertility meds that made me feel like crap, and endure evening sickness for weeks only to have empty arms when all was said and done. I didn't imagine my life being like this.
I got to the gravesite to find that someone had stolen the Willow Tree angel that Jacob had put out there on the day we buried Kinley....seriously?? So I was feeling even more angry and quite frankly unthankful!
As I sat in my car, with my entire body convulsing in sobs I started to think. I decided that I'm not allowing this day to be like that, I'm not giving Satan any glimpse of victory. God is still good, and not only that, He's still good to ME! So....here are the things I'm thankful for.
- I'm thankful for my husband who is an amazing man of God and my shoulder to cry on. I love him so much!! I know that I am blessed to have him!
- I'm thankful for a family who loves me and supports me. They know that I will have bad days and they cry with me and pray for me. They sat with my for hours at the hospital and have called, sent cards, brought gifts, and poured themselves into me.
- I'm thankful for great friends and an awesome church family who have called, texted, and emailed to let me know they're still thinking about me.
- I'm thankful that I've been bonded through loss to new friends who know exactly how I feel! Tami and Destiny are blessings beyond what words can say! They are wonderful Godly women who have relived their pain to help me through mine.
- I'm so thankful for my sweet Brenna who called this morning to say "I love you Etty! Happy Thanksgiving! You're my best friend....and please don't have 'cry in your eyes'!"
- I'm thankful that God gave me Kinley at all. I don't want to feel this way, but I wouldn't trade it if that meant I never got to have her at all. I loved her from the moment I saw the two lines on the pregnancy test and that love grew with every ultrasound, every kick, every hiccup, and every moment that I had with her. It was solidified when I saw her sweet face, kissed her cheeks, held her tiny hand, and rocked her as she "slept".
- I'm thankful that Kinley will NEVER know the kind of pain that I'm feeling. As a Mommy I will endure this pain willingly knowing that it means that she never has to have a skinned knee, a broken heart, a bad day, or one hint of sadness.
- I'm thankful that God has promised GOOD to me. I don't know what that means for certain, I don't know that He'll answer my prayers the way I want him to, but I know He knows what's best for me. I know He will work it all for good and I know that He sees my pain and He hurts with me and for me.
- Most of all...I'm thankful that I have an assurance that I will see my baby again. I don't wonder, I don't worry, I don't doubt for one instance. I KNOW where she is today and I KNOW that I'll be there with her one day. There's no shadow of doubt in my mind that heaven is a real place, that my baby is there waiting for me, and that I will join her. I know I'll join her because I believe His word, and His word says that all I have to do is accept Him as Lord, believe that Jesus died for my sins, and confess that I'm a sinner.
So I'm not promising a day of no tears. I'm not telling you that this day is easy for me. I'm certainly not saying that I am doing "well" or that I'm "over" our loss. I'm actually promising you that it will continue to be hard for me....today is hard, December 10th will be hard, Christmas will be hard, every September 24th for the rest of my life will be hard. Please don't judge me for how I'm healing, don't say that I need to "move on", don't act as though it never happened, and don't think that having more children someday will take away my pain. My baby died and that hurts more than anything imaginable. BUT....I will survive, I will have joy again, I will have peace in God, and I will spend eternity with my precious Kinley, and I will be THANKFUL.
May you too be blessed and be thankful no matter what this life brings you....