After the Robertsons left, we packed up the crew and headed for the Thanksgiving service at church. Pastor John had asked me to be one of the speakers. He told me just to summarize what I was thankful for over the past year. I thought I'd share it here. It's a little long, but I think it's good to be grateful.
Isaiah 41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
When I reflect upon the past year of my life, I’m pretty certain that if I had known what 2009 had in store for my family I would have thought that God was playing a huge practical joke on us. Last Thanksgiving, my husband, Bob, and I found out that we were expecting a baby. After trying for a year and a half, we had almost lost faith in our ability to reproduce. I remember nights of tears and prayers and begging God to send us a baby. Let this be a warning, God hears, and he answers prayers. On December 15, 2008 (a day that will live in infamy in the Newhouse family), Bob and I found out that our one baby was actually three. We were shocked, stunned, and speechless. As the doctor explained the risks a triplet pregnancy entails, I kept repeating Isaiah 41:10 in my head – I was certain that these babies were God’s gift to me and that he would strengthen and help Bob and I overcome the obstacles that we would encounter.
As I spent the first portion of the year napping while Bob did all of the work around the house, I was thankful for a husband who took such good care of me. As the days progressed and I got slower and larger, I was thankful for the people who held the door for me and carried things for me, for the students in my class who passed out papers for me – and cleared a path through the hallway as I made my 50th trip to the restroom. By March, Bob and I were going to the doctor every week, and sometimes we went three times a week, and I was thankful for good insurance. As the doctors’ orders and my over taxed body restricted my movements, I was thankful for my comfortable spot on the couch. In April, Bob and I had our first baby shower, and we were absolutely amazed and thankful for the generosity of our friends and family. Throughout the first part of the year, Bob was concerned about my health and the health of our unborn children, and I would remind him, that we serve a great and powerful God who cared about all of us and who was taking care of us, and I was thankful for the peace of mind that God had given me.
In April, I was put on bedrest and had to stop working. I was thankful for all of the people who had helped keep me active and working. I was thankful for the students and my co-workers who had made every day I came to work enjoyable (and thankful for my husband who drove four hours everyday to bring me back and forth to work). The week after I stopped working, I was admitted to the hospital, and I was afraid. Bob brought me my Bible, and I kept it in the drawer next to my hospital bed, and I was thankful for God’s promises that rested there, reminding me that I was not alone, and that God was strengthening me and helping me.
As I laid in that hospital bed for 8 and ½ weeks, I was thankful for a church family that supported Bob and I. Every card, visit, kind word and pat on the shoulder, touched both of us, and we were thankful. I was thankful for the cleaning lady who came in and watched TV with me, for the nurses and doctors who took amazing care of me and eased Bob’s worries, for the cafeteria lady who gave Bob a discount since he ate there so often. As I sat and waited for my children to grow, I was thankful for the lives God had entrusted to our care.
On June 24, our boys were born, and I don’t know if I can even begin to describe all the things I was thankful for on that day. I was thankful that God had helped us to carry our boys to full term for triplets, that they were all healthy, that I could finally take a deep breath again.
After the boys came home from the NICU, I was thankful for all of the visitors we had who brought meals and came to admire our children. For our moms who helped feed and change our beautiful babies. When I went back to visit the nurses at the hospital after all of our boys were home, I found out that of the last three women who had been at the hospital with triplets, I was the only one who went home with all of her babies, and I was thankful. As I see the smiles and hear the laughs of my children, I am thankful. When I get to take a shower or sleep a few extra minutes, I am thankful.
In the past few months, I’ve had to repeat over and over in my mind that God is our help and strengthens us as Bob lost his job and my grandfather died. It seems that our resolve and faith in God have been tested and tried over and over again. I am thankful that I can depend on God to strengthen me and help me, and I am thankful for a church like Shepherd of Life where I can come and share in the message of God’s grace and mercy.