To the manager at Chick-fil-A who quietly slipped a $100 gift card onto the windshield of my van while my family was inside enjoying lunch. . . .thank you.
To the mechanics at a Sam's Club in New Jersey who repaired the flat tire on my van for free without even knowing that I was unexpectedly stuck in Philadelphia alone, with eight kids, for two weeks because of an amputation that resulted in a chronic wound. . . .thank you.
To the stranger at a rest stop along the Pennsylvania turnpike, who must've noticed my tired expression as I piled out of the family restroom with all eight of my kids, and followed us out to our van just to tell me what a great job I was doing. . . .thank you.
To my biological father who calls me every week (even though I am rarely able to answer the phone) just to tell me how proud he is and how much he loves me. . . . thank you.
To my husband who came straight home from work on Monday morning and sent me to bed because I was so sick I could hardly stand, much less meet the needs of my family. . . .thank you.
To my friend and visiting teacher, Laura, who loaded her kids into the car yesterday and showed up on my doorstep unannounced, just to bring me flowers. . .thank you.
To my friend, Andy, who took the time to remind me tonight that I have been blessed with the opportunity and ability to do amazing things. . . .thank you.
To my Heavenly Father, who loves me so much that He has placed all of these people along my path to help me through this difficult journey. . . thank you.
It has been a HARD day. Truth be told, I could say that about every day for the past year.
I don't share many of those struggles here. I should. The problem is, I am an eternal optimist. When life hands me proverbial lemons, I make lemonade. It can be my greatest strength. It can also be my greatest weakness. Most of the time it is simply a coping mechanism. I share the joys, triumphs and blessings in life, not to paint an unrealistic picture, but because focusing on those things carries me through the daily struggles, heartaches and trials.
The Lord has called me to do hard things. Each day I wake up with a new mountain to climb. The terrain is rough and, at the end of the day I am bloodied and bruised, but the view from the top is so worth the climb. The best part is, I have been given the tools to conquer the mountain. I know who I am, I know why I am here and I know what the Lord has called me to do. When I slip, when I fall, when I can't quite reach that next step, He is there to bear me up and it is usually through the encouraging words of a stranger, the unconditional love of a child, the prayers of a friend or the loving support of family.
So to each and every one of you who has made this journey just a little bit easier; to those of you who have been an instrument in the Lord's hands in bearing me up, I say, "Thank you!" The view from the top is even better when you are surrounded by those who helped you get there.