So much has happened this past year, more than I could have ever dreamed or imagined.
I've experienced much sorrow and walked through more grief than I thought possible in a years time, and I can honestly say that I still haven't fully processed all that I've walked through.
With all the sadness that's been a very real part of my life, it's often hard to see all the good…..
And there has been good.
With every tragedy that's occurred this year, I've experienced the love of God in ways like never before. God has given me friends who have carried me when I've felt as though I couldn't carry myself, and he's deepened friendships that were already strong.
He's given me a peace in my heart that surpasses all understanding, and through the hardest of days he has spoken softly to my soul, reminding me of his love.
My love for God is stronger and sweeter than it was this time last year, and my heart more soft.
He has used the trials and the fire to refine me in so many ways, and though I've been broken, He has not allowed me to be destroyed.
Along with the many ways God has blessed me spiritually this year, he's also blessed me in many practical ways as well….
With all of the stress and tears of this year, I am more in love with my husband than ever before, and have a bond with him that's like no other.
I have a tenderness towards my family that's been born out of having cried many tears together and I see each of my babies in a new light.
God has been so very good to me, and though I still have the marks of 2012 still very raw and fresh on my heart, I can say with all sincerity that I am thankful for the way I've grown and all I've learned.
So I say good bye to 2012 and look forward with great anticipation to what God has in store for 2013….and quite honestly, I hope it's a boring, uneventful year. Just sayin.
Happy New Year!
With only two days left in 2012, I can hardly believe this year is coming to an end.
And what a year it has been for our family.
Starting this past January, it's been one heartbreak after another, all. year. long.
And just when I think it can't get any worse, it does.
Just when I think I've learned to trust God enough, my faith is once again out to the test.
A couple of weeks ago, it occurred to me that the intensity of this trial had lessened up a bit, and I told my husband that I felt as though my body was now trying to recover from having been sick for quite sometime.
I felt as though I was starting to regain my strength, and that little by little I was “coming back”.
Little did I know, another crisis was coming my way.
Just as I didn't expect the other numerous events that rocked my world this past year, I was in no way prepared this week to hear that my daughter is now homeless.
Was I surprised? No, not really. But I was in no way prepared for the emotions that have come with this new reality.
And I wish I could say that I understand how this could've happened, but I don't. I do know how this could've been avoided, but unfortunately, the choice wasn't mine to make. It was hers. I warned her,time and time again, but once again, love of self won out over wisdom.
And once again, our family's heart is broken…..devastated and wondering when enough will be enough, and when there will be an end to this crazy, painful ride.
We have no way of knowing when this season will end, or when our daughter will see and respond to her desperate need for God.
We do know that He's the only answer to all of this, and that He will someday redeem the heartache and the loss we all feel.
In the meantime, we continue to grieve and to trust that God is in control of all of this.
Some of you may read this and feel that I'm running my daughter down by publicly sharing what's going on, but please know that that's not at all what I'm trying to do.
So many of you who read my blog know and love me, and I feel that this is one way for me to let you know what's going on, without me having to individually retell this over and over again. I share this in hope that you will please pray for our daughter and the rest of our family.
Not only that, but my daughter knows that I share my heart here on this blog, and there's nothing I've said here that I haven't already said to her.
Thank you in advance for your prayers…..
As I sit in front of our Christmas tree, it's hard for me to believe that tomorrow's Christmas. I've come to like slipping down here in the early morning hours and sitting in the dark room just looking at the tree….
There's been something sweet about that quiet time, just looking at the tree and meditating on Gods goodness and faithfulness this past year, amidst the trial and pain.
I feel as though the anticipation of Christmas has given our family a sweet awareness of what's to come….
We've been through so much this year, and it seems like the trial will never end…..
And yet, through it all, God has been at work in my heart and in my family.
He's built a bond between greg and I and our younger four, a bond that runs deep and strong, a bond built out of a need for each other and a protective desire to hold each other up through this hard time.
He's also shown himself to me in ways I never imagined. Through all of the turmoil this past year, in the deepest place of my heart, he has given me peace.
He has brought a comfort that only he can bring, and he's spoken his love to me in quiets, subtle ways….it's as if he knew I wouldn't hear him in the chaos of my life, so he spoke deep into my heart, where I wouldn't miss what he's saying.
He's confirmed his love for me and my family, time and time again, and when I've wrestled with why my younger ones have had to know such turmoil, he's shown me that he has my kids in the palm of his hands and that their futures are secure with him.
God has given me something very special this Christmas season….he has used the events of this past year and all that I've learned along the way, to give me a heightened awareness of the true meaning of Christmas.
He's given me a desire to really adore him this Christmas, just like the song says. The words to the songs aren't just words to me anymore, but they are filled with the Truth of our amazing Savior and all that he's done.
While this Christmas is bittersweet for our home, I can honestly say that I wouldn't trade this sweetness I feel for Jesus for anything in the world.
Merry Christmas to you and yours….
With Christmas quickly approaching, my mind (and heart) has been all over the place. I can quickly go from being happy that it's the Christmas season, to feeling sad that life is so different this year than it has been in Christmases past.
I'm realizing though, that it's a reality that I have to face. As much as I want to, I can't erase or change what's happened this past year.
And I am also realizing that I can't ignore the pain…..
For years, I would get mad at myself when I'd get weepy over my dad's long battle with Alzheimer's, and I'd find myself apologizing to others for my tears. I didn't even realize I did this until a dear friend lovingly pointed it out, helping me to see that I NEED to allow myself to feel and express these very real emotions.
Our year has been filled with so much grief and sorrow, and though the intensity has let up some, the pain is still very fresh and real.
It's not uncommon for me to have good days followed by weepy days, and sometimes I get so angry because I keep trying to convince myself that I shouldn't still be so affected….
I've wrestled with this, time and time again, and I've asked God what He's trying to teach me and “why, oh why, does it have to hurt so much?!”
leave it to God to use others to answer my plea…..
The other day, I was reading a post on Heather's blog, and her words were exactly what I needed to hear.
I read and re-read her post, tears falling all the while….
As she shared what God's taught her through her own walk through brain cancer and the recent loss of her little girl, Emma, I was struck by how her feelings and struggles resonate with mine.
Though our situations are different, the heart behind the pain is the same. Her and I both long for God to take away the pain, and yet we're begging God to show us what we need to learn.
The main thing that God has shown me through Heather's post is that we all have a story…..
And all of our stories are different. But the one theme that remains the same in each of our stories, is that God is the Author, and it's his place to fill the pages.
Some of our stories may be filled with page after page of seasons filled with heartache, while others may not.
I'm learning more and more that God knows exactly what my story needs in order to make it complete and glorifying to Him.
And though what He allows me to go through in order to fill those pages may be painful and not what I would have chosen, I am learning that I can trust him to know what's best.
I can trust him that it's okay for me to cry and let the pain run its course, because its through the pain that He intends to bring the healing.
And most of all, I can look back at his faithfulness in seasons past, and know that He will get me through this because He's never, ever let me go.
I'm linking up with Lisa-Jo today for five minute Friday. Today's word prompt is WONDER.
As the year draws to an end, my mind is filled with wonder over all that's happened in my life this past year.
Wonder over the pain and the sorrow that has been present for so long,
And wonder over the faithfulness of God as he's carried me the whole time.
As I see where his hand has led me, and has brought me peace and comfort,
I am overwhelmed by his goodness and the wonder of it all.
And yet, I can't help but wonder when the pain and the grief are going to be gone and the healing complete.
Though my circumstances are less intense and daily life is starting to have a new “norm”, the pain is still very real and the hurt, far from gone.
His Word promises that sorrow may come in the night, but that joy WILL come in the morning,
and as I continue to wonder, I will cling to this promise and wait for morning to come.
WordPress brought to my attention that yesterday marked my three year anniversary of starting this blog! I can't believe it's been that long!
I started this blog as a way to journal my thoughts. At the time that I started, my dad had been in the nursing home for two years, and could barely communicate with us anymore, and I needed a way to release my thoughts.
As I look back, I can hardly believe all that's happened in my life and all that God has taught me.
Three years ago, I didn't necessarily see Gods ways as always being good or kind. I struggled with how losing my dad in his early 50's to early onset Alzheimer's could possibly be God's goodness.
Quite honestly, I thought it was a cruel joke. And I was devastated.
I can look back now, and I can see how God used that time to teach me some very precious and painful lessons….
You see, he used that time in my life to help me see that I was trying to control my life. I was trying to fix everything–even my dad's Alzheimer's–and it was so hard for me to accept that I couldn't.
He used that time to show me that I had been trying to control other things–and people– in my life, as well. I wanted to hold on so tight to my husband and kids, for fear I would lose them, that I was actually driving myself crazy trying to hold on so tight.
It was around that time that someone introduced me to Jerry Bridges' book Trusting God. It was through reading this book that I learned how to surrender control of my life–and my family–over to God.
I can't begin to tell you the healing that began once I surrendered that control to God. God began to heal me in areas that I didn't even know I needed healing, and he helped me to see that He IS sovereign over every thing and that I can trust him to know what's best for me and my family.
As much as I have grown in trusting God, I was in no way prepared for the trials that hit our home this past year.
Everything from the death of my dad, to my oldest daughter moving out unexpectedly, to various other life shattering circumstances, all of which turned my world upside down.
There were moments along the way when I thought I'd die under the weight of it all. Days when I didn't want to get out of bed and face what I knew was before me. Times when I wanted to hide from anyone and everyone, just so I wouldn't have to talk about it and face it.
I wish I could say that life is peachy now and the hurt is gone, but it's not. It's better, but the healing is yet to come.
Though I'm still walking through some of this, I can see where Gods been at work. I can see how he's carried me, and how he's brought me closer to my husband than ever before. I can see how I relate to my kids differently now, and how real I am with them, as opposed to trying to protect them from the pains of life.
In many ways, I'm not the same person I was three years ago when I started this blog….not only have I lost 40 pounds, but I've gained an awareness and a love for my Savior that runs deep–deeper than I ever knew possible.
And I'm real now. No facades with me anymore. Life sucks at times and I'm not afraid to be real when it does.
On a side note, for those of you who follow my blog regularly and have walked through these rough times with me, I just want to say Thank you. Thank you for your kind comments on here, and thank you for praying for me along the way. I'm grateful for all of you….
I often wonder how long I'll be here….here in this season of heartache, where the pain never seems to dull.
I wonder when my heart will know more joy than sorrow, and when my smile is more often real than it is forced.
Lord, I used to ask you to take this cup from me–this lot that You have chosen–and yet, you haven't done so.
Instead, you've used this lot to show me how very deeply you love me.
I have to believe that you're continuing to keep me in place because you're not done showing me what I need to learn…..
And so Lord, here I will choose to stay, without a fight and without question, because I know your ways are good and that my times are in your hands.
** I'm linking up with Lisa Jo for five minute Friday….