I know a fair few families going through some tough times right this minute. Last year was an extremely difficult year for a family who lost their child to an incurable cancer.

A couple of years ago, a dear friend of mine had a son who had a bone degeneration which was so rare, doctors had difficulty treating it. He healed, miraculously.

Last year, our family went through 6 months of unemployment and strapped finances.

The year before, 2015, was so difficult for us, that I had no idea what the future would look like, where we would be, if we would still be a family, and who would be there to support us. But here we are. Survived. Safe. Together. This time was so painful, I am still unable to speak of it, even to close friends.

The years before, in 2013 and 2014, we were facing the possibility of having to choose whether our unborn child should be aborted or survive but with severe complications. Miracles do happen, and he is now a beautiful 3 year old who loves fans.

And as I sit here, watching two of my children drawing and colouring, the Sun’s rays floating through the window, gracing our beautiful family home full of peace and security, I can only sit here and be absolutely thankful for just this moment.

I am happy for all these little moments of peace. This is our year of peace.

This morning, I read an article in The Age newspaper regarding a father of 3 who was serving a 3 month prison sentence for what ever reason (they did not say), who killed himself whilst in custody. So far, 20 men have died whilst in custody in a Victorian Prison, with just over 7000 men are currently being held.

Now many people might read this article and not bat an eyelid because, he’s a “criminal”, he got what he deserved, he had to do the time for the crime, so forth. But what I saw there, was a mother of three children, waiting for this nightmare to end, waiting for the father of her children to return. And he never did.

Because the prospect of going to jail is extremely difficult for a man, or anyone, with a supposedly normal life. You lose your job, your reputation and mostly, people support the family who is left behind, and not the man. The fear of bullying on an immense scale, and no adequate protection because hey, they’re just ‘criminals’, also builds fear in a man. The article speaks about NOT being able to provide mental support adequately to all of the 7000 inmates, and this unfortunately they say, is what led to his suicide.

It is unacceptable for anyone to commit a crime, I understand this. But the death of this man has left 3 children without a father, THEIR father.

I am so thankful for what I have. I have a husband who has a job, a secure job, a house and three healthy children, who are happy, secure and safe. I am forever thankful and grateful for the life I have, because every single blessed moment is a graceful gift in my life. I am a Christian, and my daily walk with Jesus has blessed me so immensely. My faith has shown that in the trials we have walked through, the grace and love so abundantly given has allowed me, so gracefully to enjoy these moments and be thankful.

I am fortunate. I have had many people pray for us during our times of trials. We had fantastic support that if where not for them, their presence, their prayers and physical help, we would not be where we are today, sitting in the sun enjoying our children.

Articles like this are horrible, but they do help remind me to be thankful, even when children have tantrums, behavioural issues and minor health concerns; even when talking about oscillating fans for the 30th time before breakfast is doing my head in, even when husband and I argue once again about how to raise the children, even when we have spent more this month than we have earned… I am thankful that life is beautiful, normal and secure. I am thankful that my children are able to think about their interests and chase them, I am happy that my husband is here, has a secure job and I can just be with my children.

See it is all about perspective. I hear a lot of parents say, and rightly so, that they cannot wait for school holidays to end because the children can be so difficult to handle sometimes. It simply isn’t natural to bow to someone’s every whim and wish, to entertain them in the name of bringing them up well. I get that. But if you were faced with a child who had cancer, or the loss of income, or the loss of your home, or the loss of your freedom, or the possible loss of your own life… it’s suddenly all beautiful… the perspective of your life drastically changes. And if you have been fortunate enough, like we were, to be given so many second chances… and to finally have things as they are for the majority of us… you are simply thankful for the opportunity. You will see things differently.

My heart goes out to those 20 families and communities that this year, have been affected by the death of these men. As much as the media might sensationalise crime and that most criminals are tough, without emotion etc… these are men with families, these are men with mums and dads, these men lost their way…. and their lives, unlike mine, will never be the same again.

I am simply thankful. And I have my year of peace. Because every single moment is a blessing. And my trust and faith in God will guide me through, knowing that the future is never set. I am simply thankful, for this moment.

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