“But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever”. Psalm 52:8


Learning to be thankful

All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children's peace. Isaiah 54:13

LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us. Isaiah 26:12

Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Psalm 103:2

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Thessalonians 5:18

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3

There are certain things we only stop taking for granted when we are deprived of them. It doesn't matter, it is human nature. We think we have the right to complain about little worthless things, until we realize there are much more serious troubles than the insignificant ones that had annoyed us so much. It happened the same way with us. Before our beloved Vitoria arrived in our lives, we were, unfortunately, very ungrateful. God has taught us so many things through her life! During the pregnancy, we received from God an invitation to reset the way we see life - this time wearing the glasses of gratefulness. Instead of feeling discouraged because our little baby had a malformation incompatible with life, we realized we could be thankful for her life, for the privilege of being able to have children, for the unique and special life we had conceived, for the joy of having a happy marriage, for the comfort we found in God, in our friends and family... During my pregnancy, Marcelo became unemployed. It was one more hard blow in our faces. Once more, though, we searched for God's help, and He showed us that, even in such circumstances, we could still be thankful, because nothing essential was missing. We were alive, we were healthy, we could work, we could fight, we could persevere, and better times would come our way, for sure.
When our baby was born, we were happy because God had given us strength to hold on until her birth, fulfilling our mission to love and protect her during 9 months. After that, she went straight to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) and we were happy because we were able to meet her and spend several special moments with her. Most of the couples whose babies are born with this particular malformation are able to spend only a few hours with their baby. We felt we were privileged. Time went by and Vitoria continued in the NICU. However, we felt we were still privileged: after all, she was in the hospital because she was alive! Even though things were not the way we would like them to be - our beloved daughter faced several hard situations, several infections, blood transfusions, days in which she could barely breathe and her heart would get weak, she felt pain... but her heart was still pumping, she was still alive ans she could get better, and she did!
She spent five months in the hospital, and we spent all this time with her as well. Even though we would go back home in the evenings, it felt like life had no meaning outside that hospital. What was the point of going out in a beautiful sunny day, if our beloved baby could not be with us? It was more interesting to us to spend our days with her, in a cold NICU room. And it was what we joyfully did.

After five months living inside a hospital, how grateful we feel for being back home with our daughter! Every afternoon at home has a special taste. Now we can open the window, feeling the soft breeze and let the sun in, being able to have a cup of coffee, have a snack, looking to the side and seeing our daughter is there, and she is well. We can let her sleep in her crib, or in her stroller, and also take a nap beside her. Such actions are wonderful. We had never done any of them in those last 5 months. We experience the most precious moments when we wake up in the middle of the night, hearing her calling us to complain about something. We can hold her and caress her. We believe she has also waited for these moments and she faced all challenges, fighting steadily for her life, so that she could leave the hospital and be with her family at home. She also knows, since she was a newborn, the value of the small things in life.

In face of all that has happened, all we can exclaim is: How good is our God! He listens to our prayers, He sympathizes with our pain, He fights beside us, He gives us strength during the hard days and He gives us the victory in all the battles we have in life - when we let Him go in front of us, guiding us. He gave us Vitoria with life. He has lovingly taught us to be thankful for the small things. He has taught us what happiness is.

Thank you so much, Lord!

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