Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

I have so much to be thankful for this year, I am not sure I can really put it into words. I have been blessed beyond measure, in ways I never could have foreseen a year or two ago. My life took a completely different direction than I anticipated, and while it may have seemed devastating at first, it has become a life that I would not trade for any of the dreams I used to have for myself.

At the risk of stating the obvious, I am most thankful for the gift of my son, Jaden. Before Jaden was born, I thought I knew what love was. I had loved before, and I thought I had loved deeply. When I had Jaden, though, I realized that I had never really known love until he came into my life. From the moment I saw him on the ultrasound, I was captivated. Then, when I gave birth and our eyes finally met for the first time, I loved him completely. I love him so much, I feel like my heart could burst. If it's possible, I love him a little more every day.

I am thankful that Jaden feels safe and secure in his home, and that his sense of security shows in the way he gets a little more independent with each passing day. He is nearly a year old, and while I find myself wishing he could stay a baby just a little bit longer, I realize that his increasing independence means that I am doing things right and my son is becoming a confident little boy.

I am thankful that we are safe. A year ago at this time, I was terrified of what may come. I was very pregnant, anticipating giving birth in exactly one month from today. I had no idea what may come after that, given the situation with my son's father. I was so afraid of what my sweet baby may be subjected to, and I prayed, meditated, planned, and prepared to do whatever I needed to do to keep my baby safe.

A year later, I still see the fruit of those spiritual, legal, and physical investments. We are safe. My son is enjoying a peaceful and happy life, surrounded by people who love him. He is a gift, and everyone in his life sees him as that. My prayer is that he will always know this kind of love, and that those who may harm him would be kept at a distance.

I am thankful for the things I have learned about God's grace and provision, which I have experienced through the grace and provision of other people in my life. While Jaden and I live a very simple life, we lack for nothing. Jaden has been given things and opportunities that I could never afford to give him on my own, yet the generosity of others allows for it. I don't know what we would do if it weren't for the love and support of our friends and spiritual family.

I am thankful for the opportunities we have to help others out. We happily do what we are able to do, and I am thankful that Jaden will grow up with a sense of empathy for others. I am thankful that he will have the understanding that we are all connected, we are all in this together, and when one of us hurts, all of us hurt in some way. I am thankful that he will understand that one of the greatest things we can do is be of service to others in whatever capacity we are able.

I am thankful for the life that I have. It is not the life I dreamed of or hoped for, but it infinitely better than any of those things. I am so very grateful for the things that have happened in my life in the last few years that have derailed everything that I thought I knew, challenging me to rethink and rebuild my life from the very foundation. My days are filled with the laughter of a beautiful baby, the joy of motherhood, the challenge of making a better life for us through educating myself with an eye toward the future, and the grace to embrace it all and whisper the simple prayer, "Thank You."

I have much to be thankful for. Perhaps the greatest things I have to be thankful for are the dreams that didn't come true, the relationships that didn't work out, the paths I had to abandon as life flooded in.

I never imagined myself in this place. I had never dared to dream so big.

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