Tonight as I write, my heart is overflowing with gratitude. Lately, I have just felt really loved. Not that I don’t feel loved on a daily basis (because I do!), but I have just noticed it more it seems. The Lord has opened my eyes to see that I have much to be grateful for, even on the days when I feel that I don’t. So today, I would like to dedicate this blog to you. That’s right. To all of you that are my support system as I walk this joy-filled path of life, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart! I hope that this post warms your heart as much as you all have warmed mine. 

In the story of Gideon in the book of Judges, we find that Gideon had a lot that was troubling him. He was at one point, going up against the Midianite army with an army of his own of about only 300 people. Before it was 300, it was more than 30,000 Hebrews. Can you imagine losing all of those men?! It’s not a big surprise when we find that Gideon needs a lot of confirmation from God that He will deliver the Midianites into Gideon’s hands. I find that I too, am in a similar situation at times. Even if it’s not necessarily CF related, maybe I just feel really defeated because of school (lately, I feel that biochemistry is defeating me) or even work. Sometimes, I can feel my faith waning, and I have to ask God for confirmation in my life. 

In Gideon’s story, there came a point where “The Lord said to [Gideon], ‘Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hands. But if you are afraid to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp, and you will hear what they say; and afterward your hands will be strengthened that you may go down against the camp.’ So [Gideon] went with Purah his servant down to the outposts of the army that was in the camp.” (Judges 7:9-11)

To me, this shows how patient God really is with us. But it also makes me grateful for my community and my support system. From this passage, we find that God told Gideon to take his servant, Purah, with him as a friend. Gideon was able to have the physical presence of someone near to calm his nerves. I know that when I am in a stressful or fearful situation, it is always so nice to have a friend beside me during that time. 

I cannot count the number of times that I have had someone encourage me and lift me up in my time of need. It seems that most days are a struggle for me. Whether I am struggling to breathe normally or just get out of bed, I always have someone who is texting or calling to ask how I am doing or if I am okay. And let me tell you, sometimes it’s nice to have someone genuinely ask me that! Just this morning, I skipped my 8 am class because I didn’t feel well at all, and my friend Hannah made a point to ask if I was okay and told me to let her know if I needed anything. I know that she was being genuine and it’s something that really means the world to me. 

With the CF walk coming up in a month, I have sold over 60 shirts so far to help benefit research for a cure. If that’s not support, I don’t know what is! I have also had several people ask about the walk and how they can sign up. Friends that I have had for only a short time, for example, Kylie and Aujehl (who are also Nutrition majors), are asking to get involved with the walk. They also are really understanding when I need a little extra attention (like how I had to walk behind them in the wind today just so I could breathe) and they joke right along with me as I eat a pint of cookies and cream ice cream and five chocolate chip cookies while studying for a biochemistry test. 

I am thankful for the friends and family that know me and push me to be my best, even when I feel like I’m falling apart, because they know how strong God has made me and they know I can handle more than most. 

I am grateful for the friends that sit with me in my car and allow me to talk out my frustrations with tears glistening in my eyes. These are the friends that know my heart and know my desires more than most. These friends allow me to completely be myself, and they still love me!

I am so thankful for those that have stuck by me through it all. Whether we’ve been best friends since 6th grade (Stacey Siemens), best friends since high school (Brittany Lancaster), have just grown closer through the years (Hannah Branscome, Jason), or have just gotten to know each other through living life together in college (Kris, Kylie, Ashley, Aujehl, Hannah Stockman, Brianna, RSC girls, etc), I am extremely grateful for your hearts, for your unconditional love, for your never-ending encouragement, and for your laughs. 

I am also so thankful for Alex-my deltaF508 Cyster-who understands me in a way that no one else ever could. We face the same challenges and overcome obstacles that doctors said we never would. We are fighting the same fight. I am extremely thankful to Kylie and Aujehl for telling me about Alex, and I am so thankful to Alex for allowing me into her life and for opening up her heart to me. I know our new friendship is a complete gift from God!

I’m literally crying right now as so many memories flood my mind. From eating thousands of calories a day without judgement from those around me, to coughing constantly while my friends act like it’s nothing because they know it’s really nothing, I just feel so extremely blessed by the support system that I have. I know that my life would not be the same without any of you. 

To my family, who has been there since day one. From birth, to diagnosis, to now, THANK YOU. You all are awesome, to say the least. God has given me many wonderful gifts in the form of all of you and I am eternally grateful to HIm for that. Not a day goes by that I do not get some form of encouragement from at least one of you. A text, phone call, email, or even a facebook message-none of these go unnoticed. 

Thank you to my parents for raising me to be a God-fearing woman and for teaching me how to find my identity in Christ, and not in my disease. Thank you for teaching me that God controls my life-NOT Cystic Fibrosis. Thank you for disciplining me, as it has helped to shape me into the disciplined woman that I am today (although I still have A LOT of learning to do in this area!). Thank you for loving me, even when I am unlovable and certainly undeserving of your love. 

Thank you to my precious baby sister, whose heart of pure gold inspires me to be a better woman, sister, friend, and daughter on a daily basis. Thank you for your listening ears and for your wise advice when I so desperately need it. Thank you immensely for the laughter that you provide me with DAILY. You are such a joy to live with! I love you pooky.

I know that I can’t mention everyone who plays a role (whether large or small) in my life, but I just wanted to try. My posts are mainly about me and what I go through each day, but I wanted this one to be about all of you. 

So to wrap it up, think back to Gideon and his servant Purah. If Purah hadn’t of been with Gideon that evening, do you think Gideon would have had the courage to voyage to the Midianite camp alone? I’m not so sure he would have. It’s the same with us. As we trek along the scary paths of life, we need others beside us-cheering us one and helping us to the finish line. We need our support system. 

So thank you for being a part of my support system. Thank you for loving me through it all. I pray that I never take the support I have for granted, and that God will bless you ten times more than you have blessed me. 

“The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” -Proverbs 2:9 [NLT]


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