2012. Sheesh. The hardest, deepest, most gut wrenching year ever, yet joyful, blessed and full of true growth. I am thankful. 2012 was the year I finally began to grasp the word and its true form; faith. Faith is a word that many "Christians" throw around. Too much. In fact, I was one of those people who flippantly threw around the word faith like I owned it or knew what it meant because I owned a Bible and went to church weekly. I thought I knew what it meant. In some ways, I did know, to the extent of my living, what it meant for me. There were times in my life that faith was the theme heavier than other times. When Nick and I got married, the third month in, Nick quit his job due to some issues with the company he was working for. I was the one that encouraged him to quit without a new job in place because it was so bad. I just had this unwaivering faith that God was telling us to move forward from that place. Within 2 weeks, nick had a job and then added a part time job on top of that because it made up the difference in income we weren't going to bring in with the new job. It was a trying season for us, newly weds and all, but we pressed in and made it through. Faith kept us focused and going. There was a year after an incredible mission trip to Costa Rica where I deeply longed for a baby and it wasn't happening. There were nights when I went to bed so sad and wondering why God would not allow us to have a baby when other people who were terrible to their babies or didn't want to even have a baby were pregnant. etc ... faith kept me moving foward, it helped me cope and it kept me hopeful that God's plan for our family, indeed was his and not mine. That year was long, but God, in His character, came through and blessed us beyond measure with Ava. There were times as a new mother where faith kept me sane at 3 am and then again at 6am, 9am, noon, 3pm and so on. Faith was keeping me going when I felt like I was the worst mother on the planet because I could not breast feed after 3 months of trying. Faith kept me pressing on when Ava got a horrible UTI at 8 weeks old and was hospitalized for 3 days. Faith kept me strong as we watched my Mimi slowly make the journey to her heavenly home. Faith has played a huge role in my life, even when I didn't realize it. From age 7, when Christ came into my life, I know he's been teaching me what it means. I just hadn't really chosen to see it before, or at least as clearly as I have in the last 7 months. May 2012 changed our life. We found out we were pregnant for one. We found out we were half way along and we found out our sweet little boy on the way would be born with a heart defect. (refer back to the God is bigger than the boogie man blog for details of that) :)
May was a turning point for me and the Lord. God began to lead me down a road that I would have never taken myself, God knows I wouldn't take it alone, and he never intended for me to. 2012 brought with it lots of pain. I have never lost a child. I know some precious people who have, but there were moments on this journey that we came as close as ever. 3 days after Noah was born he had his norwood surgery and 2 days after that he went into cardiac arrest and almost died. I go there and I mention it because it branded a day in 2012 that will never go away. That day, Noah almost didn't make it. I have never experienced so much terror in my heart. My faith was the only only only thing I could cling to. I'm thankful for the medical staff that took care of noah and are still taking care of noah and will continue to take care of noah through the years of this journey. Yet, my personal contribution to my son at that moment, was nothing but my mustard seed faith. There are days where that mustard seed is all that keeps me getting out of bed, coming to the hospital and doing this recovery thing every day. My son is blessed and we are beyond thankful for him still being here with us and fighting each day to get better. So, 2012 hasn't been easy. For the last 4 months my little family has been separated from each other. For 4 months we have driven more miles, flown more flights, stayed in more places and "made the best of it", more than I ever imagined, but Faith has kept us together and has kept us strong. 2012 has brought us many lessons in adjusting, being flexible and being humbled beyond words. 2012 has deepened my faith beyond what I thought I could know. We have experienced more struggle and heartache than I would ever think we could. We have endured and slowly, we are overcoming.
Here is the deal though. 2012 was our best yet. For in 2012, we...
Had a son!
Celebrated our daughter's 1st birthday
Have grown deeper and stronger in our marriage than ever.
Are more in love now than ever.
Have watched Ava become such a smart, silly, active and loving toddler.
Become closer with family, near and far.
Watched our best friends move to far far away and start an incredible new life of medical school and personal business.
Have seen our sister/sil move to the east coast, rock out her first semester of seminary and grow more into herself than ever.
Celebrated that my dad was able to retire from his career of 25+ years and begin to enjoy retirement.
We were able to send Mimi off to her heavenly home in the most holy moment I have ever experienced. Jesus was in the room and he took her gently with him. Words cannot express that blessing.
We also have been able to celebrate many birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and other joyous occasions.
We have been stretched and we have become more open and ready for God's moving in our life. In whatever capacity that means.
We are blessed.
We truly are thankful for 2012. The hardest year of our life has come to a close. Yet, 2013 doesn't promise to be "better" or "worse". God does promise he is with us the entire way. I am learning that faith is the key to each and every day. We can put our faith in ourselves and be miserable and dissapointed or we can choose to put our faith in the God of the heavens and be completely certain that whatever happens, if we are in His will, good or bad, it is His. The safest and best place to be with Him. Walking together, on the road he has chosen. 2013 looks hard, will most likely be hard and will have its share of valleys. What I choose to see is what we get to celebrate and live through, as we add days, weeks, months and years to our story. I see;
Mom and Dad's 30th wedding anniversary this month.
Noah continuing to grow and heal.
Getting through Noah's 2nd surgery.
The greatest homecoming of all time, hopefully, the day we take our baby boy home. who knows what day or when that will be, but I just know it will be in 2013.
Ava turns 2
We celebrate 6 years of marriage.
We'll celebrate another wedding in the family.
Continue to watch sister excell at seminary and our best friends go further down the path to Dr and Dr's wife. :)
There are things to celebrate, things to experience. Not all bad, not all hard. What I take away from 2012 is strength and awareness to enter 2013 excited and ready for this next 12 month chapter of adventure. Who ever said being a "Christian" is boring? hey were wrong. so so wrong. This adventure has been more than I could have ever planned or been in control of myself.
So, thank you, to each of you, for your part in 2012. There were and are still people who have supported us, pray for us, ask about us and keep up with us, that we have never and may never meet. Although, I hope we do. There are so many many many people I want to thank and express our hearts of gratitude to, but it would take forever. As we go down this continued road, we will try to make sure you each know how special you are to us and how much we thank you. Truly. Please please know, we are thankful beyond words.
I pray blessings over each of you. May 2013 be 12 months of continued learning, seeking, finding, worshiping and maturing in your faith. However that looks for you. Whether you are 7 or 70, God's not finished with us yet.
Get excited. The journey, the adventure, has just begun.