This was a huge year for us. If I had to pick one word to summarize, it would be CHANGE. We saw a new diagnosis, the start of preschool, and a change of home (or at least, living in a transitional home). It was my first year not having my career. We had Ashlynn’s first surgery. There was a new crown; a trip around the world. Marriage tests. Growing faith… and questioning it too (If I’m going to be honest).
There’s been a whole lot of trying to find our place in this new life.
It was a tough year. One that would be easy to sit back and say, “Well, that sucked!” But, instead I reflect and choose to see the good in all of it. For every trial, I can show you where the hand of God was present. For every blow, there was a lesson and opportunity for growth. It’s not always easy to see IN the moment, but that’s why I think gratitude journals are such a great idea. They make you stop and think about situations more clearly. So, if you don’t already have one, or you are looking for a “new year, new you” idea… this is a really helpful tool.
This was by far the hardest year yet. In so many ways. But as I sit here and make a list for myself of all that happened this year, I still can sit here and smile. I know this was a growth year. And anytime there is growth there is pain and discomfort. But there is movement…
No one is a pro at managing change all the time. And when you throw a partner in the mix, how you manage that change can get pretty tricky. Chris and I had a tough year coping and managing our change together. I saw him as being able to continue on with normal activities – his job, his normal routine, his protein powder and gym time… his happy self… meanwhile, nothing remained the same for me- not my job, my home, how I spent my time, my writing … all changed! And super quickly. I went from part time mommy RDH (registered dental hygienists), to full time mommy PT.
At first, all I could see was resentment. Why does he get to come home well dressed, clean and happy and I’ve been bawling my eyes out most of the day in my pajamas that I wore to therapy??
Driving from here to the city, to the burbs, and back again. Going from waiting room to waiting room. Getting different diagnoses, getting news on Ashlynn’s condition, progress reports, plans for treatment… follow-ups, prescriptions for equipment, all on me. I felt like the success of Ashlynn solely relied on me and my abilities to get her from point A to Z, making decisions on the spot, oh and let’s not forget the “normal” duties of being a mommy-of-two on top of all of this. The physical part was no problem, but it was the emotional weight of it all that wears on you.
I had to change my thinking and I had to do it fast.
So I started challenging myself to look for God everywhere we went. Each waiting room, each doctor visit, and each nurse or fellow parent I came in contact with … there He was. I can even remember one time in particular where I saw it in the kindness of a parking lot attendant when I forgot my wallet at home. My outlook began to lighten up. I knew I was chosen for this. I knew I could handle this. And I knew I was not alone.
Instead of resentment I started to see the plan.
Chris working gave me the opportunity to actually be with my daughter every day so she can get the therapy she needs to excel. Sometimes when God chooses you for certain things it may not be what you are used to, or even what you want to be doing. In my case, I felt it was emotionally hard on me to watch my daughter struggle from day to day in her therapy sessions. Seeing her cry and work so hard broke my heart at first. But it also made me feel so proud that I could be there to hold her and console her. To cheer her on and see all her firsts with my own eyes.
This year also brought some amazing things: her first rolls, first minutes of sitting, standing, and taking her first steps!!! I could sit here and talk about all the sad and hard things but why would I when we are seeing these miracles right before our eyes!? The arguments, the tight bank account, the transitional living … all trivial things compared to what God has shown us!!
For everything there is a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Seasons of hardships, seasons for growth, seasons of prosperity and joy… The thing about a season is they never last forever. Just like the weather, there is a time for it to snow, a time for rain, a time for sun… you get the idea. If we begin to look at our hard times as seasons, we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel much more clearly. What makes things difficult is when we feel we have been in a drought or a stuck in a season for a really long time. But, I can assure you that just because we don’t see movement in front of our eyes, does not mean change and growth are not happening. God is always working behind the scenes.
God has worked on my heart in ways I never knew were possible. There is always a silver lining and this year I challenge you to CHANGE your thinking when you go through tough times… Look for the good, the lesson, the growth… I promise you it’s there.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
Many blessings to you and your family this New Year!!