A Story of Gratitude

On June 1st of 2010, I began counting my “one-thousand gifts.” I have now been counting for a full year, posting every week, and I’ve counted beyond my original goal of 1000.

I am by no means stopping the practice of counting my gifts, but I have firmly developed this habit thanks to the accountability of posting them, so this will [likely] be my last “official” gift-counting post.

And so, I want to share a story of practicing gratitude in the midst of one of the most difficult and heart-wrenching circumstances I can imagine:

Yesterday, Nathan was born — and died.


Moments after his passing, a well-intentioned and grieving family member said, “We prayed for a miracle, but we didn’t get one this time.

“Not true,” his daddy said.

Just moments after his first and only child had died, this daddy began to list the miracles — the things they had to be thankful for…

  • After years of infertility, Nathan’s conception was a miracle. Then his parents learned that he had Potter’s Syndrome, a condition incompatible with life because his kidneys did not form — so they savored every moment of pregnancy, which would be the only time they’d spend with him.
  • The pregnancy went longer than average for Potter’s babies, which meant more time with Nathan in the womb.
  • Nathan, which means “gift from God,” was born alive: another blessing-miracle.
  • Nathan opened his eyes and looked at the faces of his parents: another specific prayer answered.
  • Nathan lived nearly two hours: yet another blessing-miracle his parents had prayed for.

I am humbled by this example of gratitude.

Ken was there, photographing the family’s time with Nathan as part of our ministry work with an organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. I shot a maternity session for the couple a few weeks ago — part of how they savored the moments of pregnancy.

Today I am editing Nathan’s photographs.
And I am realizing how very much we take for granted.