Would you believe me if I told you that in one year’s time we moved from south Texas to north Texas, moved into a fixer upper, I watched my dog get attacked and killed in front of my eyes, adopted our miracle daughter, my husband dealt with a threatening boss who had zero regard whatsoever for him or our family’s wellbeing, found out I had a giant tumor on my ovary and had surgery to remove it, was later diagnosed with ovarian cancer, by the grace of God quickly overcame ovarian cancer, found out my husband lost his job which thus resulted in him to not be able to continue his schooling, helped sell earlier said fixer upper, and then we got a crazy opportunity only the Lord could have cultivated and it moved us up to the tippy top of Northern Michigan, in the Keweenaw Peninsula, straight across from Canada. Would you believe that? I mean I don’t blame you if you don’t because I lived it and I can hardly believe it myself.
This was a year straight from H-E-double hockey sticks. And by that I truly believe it was a year that Satan tried to weasel his way straight in to our lives to screw up good things. A healthy marriage, healthy bodies, belonging to a healthy and thriving church, adding our daughter to our family, and growing new vibrant friendships and community in our new North Texas town. He saw a good thing and tried to mess it up because that’s what he does. But we trusted God, we leaned so hard on our faith because that is THE ONLY THING that can get you through a hell year. Well, faith and community- family, old friends, and new friends- our community- they came in and prayed over us, cooked for us, cleaned for us, and spoke words of life and encouragement into our aching and tired hearts. But the other part of the honesty is that it did break us in some areas, not so much in ways that couldn’t be repaired- but it brought a lot of stress and tension into our marriage and that led to so much of our conversations being strictly business trying to work through all of the mess that this year caused. It led to me working through some super low self esteem, feelings of worthlessness, and depressive thinking. It led to me not working out for a little over 6 months. It led to having less patience in my parenting. The cancer didn’t shake my faith one bit but the job loss and uncertainty of our future caused me to feel so angry and confused with God and why he was “letting” this happen to us. It’s only fair to share that while we made it, we didn’t do it beautifully all the time.
We have been in our new home here in Michigan for a little under three weeks. I already feel like we are taking a big long breath. I have to choose if I will look at the past year with sorrow and anger or if I will use it to grow into a better person. I choose the latter. I choose to share our story of this past year because it is a testament to the fact that while it sucked and we wondered why the heck it was happening, God was there each tiny step of the way. He was there lovingly. He didn’t “let” this happen to us, He wasn’t mean and making us suffer- no, He loved us. We live in a fallen world and this is why crap happens. The Lord knew this was going to happen and he prepared beautiful community for us and the most loving family to walk beside us during this. He arranged Evy’s adoption to happen in the most perfect time before the crap hit the fan. He held our hearts and heard our cries and he sat gently with us and whispered “you’re gonna grow because of this. You’re gonna shine and make a difference in this world for me.”
I heard this quote recently that I am kind of obsessed with right now from Glennon Doyle “first the pain, then the rising.” Now it is time to take every ounce of pain I experienced this last year and feel gratitude that it helped to mold me into who I am capable of being. Now it is time to rise.