Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Thanksgiving (04/18/05)
TITLE: How Thanksgiving Changed My Life
By Larry Elliott
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Celebrating ten years of marriage my wife and I returned just last week from our ninth annual wedding anniversary getaway. We go to the same small town each year, except for three years ago when her father died in Maryland. Thatís an entire tale in itself. My wife and I, both previously married and each have three children of our own. I am ever amazed at Godís orchestration and/or sense of humor. My wife and I both have daughters named Jessica- this was a bona fide source of fun (for me) while they both lived at home, especially when boys were involved. We also both have a son named Jeremy, although her son went home at the age of two and a half, many years before my wife and I met. He was born without a brain and lived as long as he did because of the brain stem, which controls some basic body functions, like breathing and heartbeat. She still misses him, but is thankful for the time he was here. I am not sure what happened with naming our oldest two- Gwen and Eric. My wife and I quickly discovered we had many things in common. One was a Christian upbringing, though I had both parents at home.
Eight and a half years ago, after only a year and a half of bliss, my wife began having grand mal seizures. Since then she has been to numerous doctors, hospitals, clinics and subjected to every manner of test available. No one has yet to determine a cause or cure. They simply continue to bombard her with various drugs and each with its own torrent of side effects. The newest anti-seizure drug leaves her completely exhausted at the end of each workday, so her evenings and weekends are generally spent in bed. Any extra curricular activity is, for the most part, on indefinite hold.
In the last few years my wife has also been diagnosed with an assortment of other ailments including Graves disease - the thyroid does not function properly, fibromyalgia Ėit can be painful to touch her skin (kind of puts a damper on hugs sometimes), asthma/allergies Ė includes eight rounds of prednisone (steroids) in the past twelve months (these really have some nasty side effects). All this plus emotional scars of losing a child, an alcoholic dad who disappeared for more than forty years only to resurface lying in a coma a thousand miles away where the doctors wait for her to arrive and give them permission to pull the plug, and enduring a physically and psychologically abusive marriage. Hey! Here is a surprise! She occasionally experiences depression and anxiety. And yet she maintains a heart full of thanksgiving.
I really admire her strength and discipline. He is an inspiration not only to me but many others around her. Not once has her faith wavered. On the contrary, without fail she gives thanks to our Father for each day and persistently holds on to His promises of healing. Amen. She is a prayer warrior with an ever-increasing list of others she faithfully lifts to God before ever asking anything for herself.
As for me, learning to give thanks in all things including tribulation has definitely increased my faith. Try it sometime, if you havenít already.
I am ever thankful for this companion and friend and will never forget that one particular Thanksgiving Day.
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