MATTHEWS: Counting blessings

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Everyone faces challenges in life, some small, some big, and some that seem insurmountable.

That has definitely been the case for me and my family, with 2021 through 2023 being especially tough due to the health issues both of my parents were facing.

I went from being an “on-call” caregiver to being full-time in 2022 after my dad’s situation deteriorated and as mom was going through an as-yet-to-be-diagnosed health issue that we later found out was stage IIIB colon cancer.

In the midst of it all, I was trying to get my house ready to sell so I could buy a home that worked better for me, but family matters of course took precedence. Between the health issues, the caregiving, and also needing to work, there was simply no time or energy to deal with house stuff.

After Mom’s diagnosis, which happened four months after we lost my dad in 2022, there was a steady stream of appointments including surgery and several rounds of chemo, which were hard on her, as chemo usually is on cancer patients.

In part because of all the doctor appointments and because I stayed exhausted from the stress and anxiety that comes with worrying about and caring for a loved one, I had to work less, which impacted Mom and me financially — along with having a house that I was still paying for but wasn’t living in.

Needless to say, with everything going on, sometimes when I would say my prayers, I’d ask God to allow circumstances in life to present some good news here and there, because quite frankly I was starting to lose hope about there being light at the end of the tunnel.

Little by little, the blessings started to appear.

Mom’s follow-up oncology appointments showed good numbers. I started catching up on my regular doctor appointments and got good news from them as well.

I began to have more motivation and energy to do things, which I used to finally finish getting my house ready to put on the market.

Then December 2023 came, and I got really sick. For the first two weeks, I was confined to my room. I couldn’t help Mom much, and everything Christmas-related had to be put off until I could get to it.

By the time I got to it, we had to rush through everything and the shopping and wrapping went down to the wire. While I was thankful we got everything done in time for the festivities, I was wiped out.

On New Year’s Eve, I said another prayer and asked God to allow for some more blessings in the new year, to have it start on a good note so Mom and I could be at peace and content with the things going on in our lives so we could enjoy it more and worry a little less.

Though my family is still facing some health challenges, we have been immensely thankful for the blessings we’ve seen in the first six weeks of the new year.

Mom got some more good news with her follow-up colonoscopy report and another round of encouraging numbers from her latest oncology visit.

Financially, we are in a better place. The house has also sold, which was a huge monkey on my back that I no longer have. And unexpectedly, my yearly tax appointment went well with a nicer refund than I expected coming my way.

If you find yourself in a situation or situations where it seems like all hope is lost, don’t lose hope. Just give it to God and rest in the knowledge that He is in control.

As the old saying goes, He works in mysterious ways, so much so that you’ll experience blessings when you least expect them, but in God’s perfect timing.

North Carolina native Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a media analyst and regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.