Dear God, Thanks

Bethany Parrish, 1997

Dear God,

You do so much for me every day and I am full of gratitude. I have so many thankful thoughts sifting through my mind that I decided to write you a letter of praise.

Thank you for the gift of life, for telling me to go to the ER, and for giving me the strength to recover. Thank you for giving me the faith and fortitude to make it through three surgeries in one year. Thank you for the joy I have in you, despite my circumstances.

Thank you for the dear friends and family who’ve brought meals, gifts, cleaned, and visited. Thank you for all those who prayed, sent cards, donated money and placed me on prayer chains. I am grateful and humbled by their generosity.

Thank you for the teenager who sent $20 of her babysitting money to my fundraiser saying, “They need it more than I do.” Bless the struggling families who gave in spite of their lack. I am rendered speechless in the face of such generosity.

I’m so grateful for the letters you sent with money and gift cards. I felt your love in each envelope. Remember the day I prayed you’d send me some money and hours later one of your cards arrived?  Thank you for the generous souls who hear your voice and obey. Give them favor and blessings in miraculous ways.

Thank you for the wonderful friends who helped us move, some we didn’t even know.  Please bless them with good health and friends who stick by in times of crisis. Thank you for friends and family who sent notes of support, and for those who called right when I needed to hear an encouraging voice.

Thank you for my online community, for their encouragement, funny antics, for sharing and listening to my struggles and joys.

Thank you for my mom, sister and husband who took turns spending the night with me in the hospital, sacrificing their sleep so I could rest easier. Thank you for my precious family, who prayed with me before surgery, showered me with love during my recovery and for the strong bond we share. Thank you for an amazing husband who stood by my side without complaining and encouraged me when I needed it most. Thank you for our incredible children, and their wonderful spouses, who make me proud to be their mom. Thank you for our beautiful grandbaby, who showers us with joy and helps us to look at life in new, exciting ways.

Thank you for sending skilled surgeons to operate on me, for their compassion and expertise. Thank you for the infectious disease doctor who kept me from having allergic reactions to meds and reacted quickly when needed. Thank you for the amazing nurses who went beyond their call of duty to make me comfortable; and for the fabulous nurses in the infusion center who made an unpleasant experience bearable.

Thank you for loving me in spite of my impatience, as my health improves and I try to do more than I should; for lifting my head and my spirits and reminding me of all you’ve done. Thank you for your blessing and protection during my health crisis, and for a life that has meaning, simply because you’re a part of it.

Your grateful daughter,

Jan

Advertisements

How to Grow Old Gracefully ~ Part 1

Parrish Family Photo 1994

When I turned thirty, I wrote an article about growing old gracefully. Was that really seventeen years ago? It seems more like seventeen months. I’ve never been hung up on age. I don’t care who knows I’m forty-seven. Maybe it’s because ever since I was child, I’ve always done things early.

When people tell me I don’t look old enough to be a grandmother, it’s really not a complement, because I’m not. I married my husband when I was eighteen. I gave birth to our eldest when I was nineteen and our youngest was born when I was twenty-one. When my son was in high school, he used to tell everyone my age when he introduced me. “Because I don’t want anyone to think you had me in high school.”

We live in an age-restricted community. You have to be forty-five to live here. My mother-in-law lives with us and my parents live two houses down. I think I’m the youngest one in this community. There are nine who are under the age of sixty; most of the residents are in my parents’ age group.

So in nearly every group, I’m one of the youngest, which helps me feel young.  Someone reading this who is older than me will say, “You ARE young!”  But a younger person might say, “Whatever! You ARE old.” So we can establish that age is relative and feeling old or young is a state of mind.

Part of aging well is genetics. Either you are blessed with good genes or you’re not. You will probably age as well as your parents. My dad’s father had blond hair until he was about eighty and then it seemed to turn overnight. My dad is about to turn seventy-five and he has just a touch of white around his sideburns. I love this because we have the same hair. Each year that my dad stays blond, I cheer because I’m anticipating my hair will respond just like his.

So what does it mean to grow old gracefully? Is plastic surgery OK? Is it wrong to dye your hair? What does God think about Botox? Please join me as I explore all of these questions and more over the next few weeks.

Part 2

Reflections on Motherhood from an Empty Nester

Hanging with Mommy  (c) morguefiles.com

Motherhood is the lowest paid, most rewarding, hardest job you’ll ever love. Once you enter into it, you have the job for life, even if you outlive your children. Because motherhood not only changes your DNA, it changes your heart forever. You’ll no longer view a crying baby or Hallmark commercial in the same light. 

Letting Go: One of the most difficult tasks of motherhood is learning to let go. From the time the umbilical cord is cut, if you’re doing your job right, your child immediately begins his journey towards independence. You have to give him the freedom to fail, try new things and experience the world on his own terms. Especially when your child is an adult, you must allow him to choose his own path, even if you had other plans for him. 
Learn You Aren’t Perfect: When you were a little girl dreaming about mommy hood, you planned to be the perfect Mommy. But, June Cleaver is a fictional character. No mom is perfect and neither are her children. Relax. Understand you’ll make mistakes – some you’ll laugh over and some you’ll cry over. All you can do is your best and pray that God will cover your mistakes with His grace. 
Give Him Time: He may think he wants all the newest toys and designer labels, but in the end, all he wants is your love and attention. Do you want your child to thrive? Give him plenty of time and undivided attention. Because once you blink, he’s all grown up and there is no ‘do-over.’ 
Pray, pray, pray: Because you aren’t perfect, because he’s not perfect – because you’ll make some bad decisions and so will he – prayer is critical. When you feel guilty, inadequate, insecure, unsure, overwhelmed, unqualified, and in over your head, prayer will help. Pray for your child even when things are going well. Pray for his protection, for his spiritual life, and his future mate. Pray that you will be the parent he needs as he is growing and when he is grown. Pray that God will give you strength to be the very best parent you can be.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Gal 6:9 (NIV)
Happy Mother’s Day!

Letter to God

Jan Parrish, (c) 2010
Dear God,
You do so much for me every day and I am full of gratitude. I have so many thankful thoughts sifting through my mind that I decided to write you a letter of praise.
Thank you for the gift of life, for telling me to go to the ER, and for giving me the strength to recover. Thank you for giving me the faith and fortitude to face two more surgeries. Thank you for the joy I have in you, despite my circumstances. 
Thank you for the dear friends and family who’ve brought meals, gifts, cleaned, and visited. Thank you for all those who prayed, sent cards, donated money and placed me on prayer chains. I am grateful and humbled by their generosity. 
Thank you for the teenager who sent $20 of her babysitting money to my fundraiser saying, “They need it more than I do.” Bless the struggling families who gave in spite of their lack. I am rendered speechless in the face of such generosity.
I’m so grateful for the letters you sent with money and gift cards. I felt your love in each envelope. Remember the day I prayed you’d send me some money and hours later one of your cards arrived?  Thank you for the generous souls who hear your voice and obey. Give them favor and blessings in miraculous ways.
Thank you for the wonderful friends who helped us move, some we didn’t even know.  Please bless them with good health and friends who stick by in times of crisis. Thank you for friends and family who sent notes of support, and for those who called right when I needed to hear an encouraging voice. 
Thank you for my mom, sister and husband who all took turns spending the night with me in the hospital, sacrificing their sleep so I could rest easier. Thank you for my precious family, who prayed with me before surgery, showered me with love during my recovery and for the strong bond we share. Thank you for an amazing husband who stood by my side without complaining and encouraged me when I needed it most. Thank you for our incredible children, and their wonderful spouses, who make me proud to be their mom.  Thank you for our beautiful grandbaby, who showers us with joy and helps us to look at life in new, exciting ways.
Thank you for sending such a skilled surgeon to operate on me, for his compassion and his expertise. Thank you for the infectious disease doctor who kept me from having allergic reactions to meds and reacted quickly when needed. Thank you for the amazing nurses who went beyond their call of duty to make me comfortable; and for the fabulous nurses in the infusion center who made an unpleasant experience bearable. 
Thank you for loving me in spite of my impatience, as my health improves and I try to do more than I should; for lifting my head and my spirits and reminding me of all you’ve done. Thank you for your blessing and protection during my health crisis, and for a life that has meaning, simply because you’re a part of it. 
Your grateful daughter,
Jan

Life Saving Surgery part 2

Still fighting for life
During this life-threatening situation, I received true clarity of thought. In that moment, my priorities fell into place and I focused on what really mattered. My worries about our bills, my job or the house became less significant. My only concern was for my family.

I must have dozed off because the next time I opened my eyes, most of my family was in the room. Supported by their love, I was incredibly comforted. I grabbed hold of these feelings and carried them with me into surgery. 

I knew in my heart, I was going to be fine and I wanted to reassure them. I didn’t believe God would send me to the hospital to die. After all, I could have died at home for free. But the pain and drugs kept me from voicing my thoughts.  

My pain had greatly diminished the next time I awoke. I was so relieved; I gave little thought to all the tubes and devices that were keeping me comfortable. I felt great peace from the prayers of believers all over the world.

My surgeon removed over a foot of dead intestine and thoroughly rinsed the peritoneal cavity. He also documented the diseased bowel so we could see just how bad it was. I couldn’t believe what was inside me. It looked like burnt brats (Incidentally, brats are a food I no longer eat.). No wonder I was in so much pain.

Thirty years ago, when I had my appendectomy, the surgeon remarked that I had three extra feet of colon. God knew that I would need it now. Because of His infinite wisdom, I didn’t need a colostomy bag.

Though the surgery was over, my life still hung in the balance as I battled a serious blood infection

Stay tuned for part three! Read part one HERE.