It is nearly impossible to approach this Thanksgiving without remembering last Thanksgiving. Last Thanksgiving- our first without John’s brother Derek. Last Thanksgiving- Mattie was 1 month old and was “still” in the hospital in St Louis recovering from a severe staph infection that nearly took his life. Little did we know then what the months to follow would hold for our family.
This was Thanksgiving Day last year with Matthias. Look at my beautiful, tiny boy!
He was just one month old. He looks so tiny in his Daddy’s hands.
I am so grateful this year that our sweet boy is home. So grateful that we are not celebrating by his bedside in a hospital.
I’m grateful that last year we had a place to call home at the Ronald McDonald House in St Louis, Missouri.
But I’m ever so grateful that this year our boy is truly “Home for the Holidays.”
My prayer tonight is for all the families who are trying desperately to celebrate and give THANKS while at the bedsides of their own children who are sick or even fighting for life today. I’ve been there, and I know the battle of the heart to remain thankful in the midst of the most difficult of circumstances. Maybe the prognosis is dim, and you are clinging to hope- thankful for one more day with your child. Maybe the road has been so hard, that today you are thankful for even the slightest of smiles, or the touch of tiny hand in yours. Maybe tonight all you can do is give thanks for the days past, the good days, the days that weren’t like the nightmare you’re now living.
Not matter how weak your prayer of thanksgiving may be this year, no matter how faint the whisper of praise you have to offer, I pray that God would surround each of you with His peace and comfort and that He would reach deep into your hearts and show you His faithful, strong love. You are never out of His reach, never far from the glance of His eye, never ever are you distant from the beat of His heart of compassion.
Tonight I would like to thank every nurse, doctor, specialist, therapist, or volunteer who has touched our lives this past year. Each and every one of you are a gift from God. I am thankful for each one of you who finds yourself working this Thanksgiving, sacrificing time spent with your own families. Your dedication and commitment to families like ours is a priceless gift.
Without naming names I’m going to quote one of Mattie’s nurses:
“As much as I am going to miss my family this Thanksgiving, I am thankful to have a job that I never dreamed of having,
and I am thankful that I get to be a part of the lives of the children that are unfourtunately spending their holidays at the hospital.”