Today, I am grateful for many things.
First of all, today is Veteran’s Day, a day dedicated to those brave enough, devoted enough, to be willing to put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of others. I praise God for the men and women willing to be of service to their country, regardless of the cost. There are many veterans in this room. Thank you for your service to this great country of ours.
Today is also my 17th wedding anniversary. Two days ago, Friday, was the 5th anniversary of Keith’s graduation to Glory.
Today, for me, is bittersweet…but mostly sweet.
It is in this loss that our family has really learned to be grateful.
I have much to be grateful for in having been married to such a wonderful, Godly husband. His Christian example has helped to make the boys and me into the people we are today, and his dedication to Christ and Christian principles have allowed us to go on without him…and even to thrive.
I look around this congregation and see much to be grateful for as well.
Several of you were there on the day Keith and I married. You have been with us since the beginning, welcoming each of our boys in succession, watching us grow and change with each passing year.
I see even more who have been there every step of the way since Keith’s death.
In these past five years, the boys and I have confidently, consistently, completely felt your support and love.
Whether it was Mother’s Day or birthday gifts, home and car repairs, or support for the boys as they become men, this congregation has listened to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and helped out my family.
That’s what community is supposed to be…the church as described in Acts.
I can never fully express what that means to me…and to them.
Mostly, though, on this day I am grateful to a God who loves me in spite of my failings with a passion that I learn more of each day. He holds me in the palm of His hand…and He always will. He loves me enough to hone the rough edges…and to make glory out of my ashes. He quite literally floors me with His love.
I am thankful that in my grief and sorrow, He has not left me but instead has allowed me to grow ever closer to Him, being my Husband in a new and special way.
I have learned many lessons over the past 5 years. Some of them have been painful; some of them have been very painful. But the most important lesson my family and I have learned is that God is always there. On the good days, on the bad days, in the middle of the night, on the road trips, as the boys grow. Always.
And I am grateful. So, so grateful.