Mother of the Bride Spot

Random thoughts on being a Mother of the Bride...although since we are now past The Wedding, perhaps this would be better titled Random Thoughts On Life In General...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Thankful Heart

On January 24, 1998, my friend Debbie started to keep a notebook of things she was thankful for. She covenanted to list at least three things a day for which she was grateful.

Debbie was one of the first people to welcome us to Wheaton. She came to our front door with her (at that time) two youngest children and a plate of cookies. "Hi," she said. "My name is Debbie, and I live right around the corner from you. This is my son Matthew, and this is my daughter Lori Beth. I wanted to welcome you to the neighborhood."

"And this is my daughter Torrey Beth," I said, as I pulled three year old Torrey from behind my skirts (um -- that is figuratively speaking....not literally, mind you).

Debbie and I became good friends. She lived in a lovely Victorian house on our block, around the corner -- a home that must have housed large Victorians, since ours must have had rather small Victorians living in it. She invited us to College Church -- to the "Young Couples" Sunday School class. We were hooked, and we never visited another church in Wheaton -- a city of churches.

That was 1982. Torrey Beth and Lori Beth were best of friends for many many years. Debbie held the flashlight when Timothy was born in August, 1984 -- at home, with no electricity -- during a major storm -- while Bob helped deliver him (HEY -- *I* delivered him -- Bob just helped!!) -- because the midwife didn't get there until 10 minutes after Timothy. Debbie said she THOUGHT she was going to make PB & J sandwiches and play Monopoly with Jill & Torrey during the birth -- not be a significant part of it!

We shared many a Thanksgiving dinner at Ed's mother's home -- who generally invited at least 20 or 30 others, including Russian refugees. Ed & Debbie introduced us to our new Thanksgiving tradition -- going bowling after T'giving dinner. It became a tradition to try and beat Ed....this year Torrey and Bob got the high scores (150 and 154) beating out Ed by just a few pins....

Thanksgiving Eve, College Church has a wonderful service -- it is hard to decide which one we like the best -- Thanksgiving Eve, Christmas Eve, or Easter Sunday. They are all amazing.

Each year, three members of the congregation are asked to give their testimony. Perhaps because of something unusual that has happened that year, perhaps because they have a special story to tell. When Torrey was a sophomore in high school, she was one of the chosen.

But I digress.

This year, Debbie was one of the three who were asked to speak. And that is why I know about the notebook of thanksgiving. Debbie has been keeping these lists for nearly 11 years. She has always been able to find something to be thankful for -- even when she broke her back. That day she found 11 things to be thankful for! She said she's missed a few days, but never because there wasn't something for which she could praise God.

Debbie and Ed don't live around the corner from us any more. They have moved to Wisconsin, where Ed was the owner/proprietor of an amazing and beautiful resort and campground. But their wonderful home here in Wheaton hasn't sold yet....

Since our trip to the resort in June, the bottom has fallen out of the economy. The bottom fell out of the resort/campground as well. Let's just say that life and finances have gotten impossibly and unimaginably difficult for Ed and Debbie.

It isn't over yet.

But Debbie still thanks God, every day, for at least three things.

God is good. It's easy to praise God when things are going well. Not so easy -- but much more authentic -- when life seems to be at its lowest ebb. You see, God is still good when the Dow plummets, and half our retirement is -- just -- gone. God is still good when we think retirement is a couple of years away -- and we realize that we may be working for another 7 or 10 years instead (and we are grateful that we have a job at all). God is still good when cancer hits. God is still good when a daughter gets pregnant out of wedlock, or another child send threatening suicidal notes. God is good -- and loves us REGARDLESS of our circumstances.

The question is -- do we still love God during these hard times? Can we still praise Him?

Debbie can.

Debbie is one of my "heros of the faith."

My "Thankful Heart" notebook is only four days long -- but one of my "thank-yous" is for my dear friend, Debbie.


At 12:14 PM, Blogger An Ami in Berlin said...

This was beautiful! She's now one of my heros, too...

At 6:41 PM, Blogger RCO said...

What an amazing Christian friend! Thank you for a true and timely reminder.


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