This time of year, always draws my heart towards reflection. Over a steaming cup of coffee, I wander back over the highs and lows of the year and am amazed each time about all that the year brought. Usually at the start of a year, I have dreams and hopes for the fresh start, new beginning. I envision life going a certain way. But over the years, I’ve learned that it usually doesn’t go my way. And sometimes I am so grateful that it didn’t and sometimes I’m frustrated that I didn’t get my own way. This year is no exception! Life has taken on a completely new look for me, and although the road to get here was long and arduous, I am so thankful for where He has me at the end of 2017.
Last December I was in the throes of a brand relationship and we had just discussed the possibility of my moving to Arkansas. I walked into 2017 with the excitement of this move to be near this amazing man! We knew that we wanted to be together, to spend our forever with one another but the engagement did not come until May (and what a proposal that was!). I spent those first few months of 2017 applying and interviewing for a job here in Heber as well as obtaining my Arkansas teaching license.
Then during spring break, with a job offer accepted, some of my belongings moved in to his parents’ garage, we looked at purchasing a house next door to his Papaw. Thus, began the process of buying my first home….our home! As we were in the midst of all the paperwork and waiting that goes with buying a home, catastrophe struck. My apartment burned down. I cannot tell you how traumatic this experience was, or how even today the smell and sound of a fire causes panic to rise. This tragedy has been life changing, in so many amazing ways! I had community rise up and take care of me during my last 3 weeks of work and life in Kansas. The blessings that poured in touched my life and the life of my family as they watched everyone provide and care for me. My faith stood the heat of the fire and I clung to God throughout it all. He was my Rock and He was using this for His good. That fire was a huge blessing for Daniel and I. Yes, it was miserable, but I am so thankful for it.
Then just a few days before I was to move to Arkansas and end my season in Kansas,
Daniel used the entire 6th grade population to propose and embarrass me completely! But what a memorable proposal!!!! And a week after that we were signing the paperwork to close on our house! Which lead to a summer filled with painting, remodeling, painting and oh…more painting! Now our house is a home filled with laughter and three very busy kids!
In the midst of all the house painting and wedding preparation, Daniel received a diagnosis that has rocked my faith. If the fire didn’t rock me, this sure did….and still does. Every bump, bruise, fall, over-stretched muscle has the potential to turn into calcified bone which in turn could cause Daniel to become a “stone-man”. This diagnosis is so rare, especially at his age, that there isn’t any cure or known life expectancy. This has caused my faith to stumble, to ask some hard questions of God and battle anger. So, there I was, preparing for what should be the best time of life (our wedding), and my faith was struggling….is still struggling. BUT…. our wedding in November was such a joyous event and reunion! We had all of our Montana friends and all of our family there. It was a big, COLD, party. That wind…. man, that was cold!
And now here I sit, a Mrs., with three kids that constantly eat me out of house and home, who keep me busy and my heart full. I’m ending this year, with more events than anyone should ever have to experience in a year…. but I’m still alive! My faith is still questioning, still seeking and fighting against the anger that rises up, even as I help the kids navigate their faith and their questions. Daniel’s health is good right now. We are watching some spots in his neck and in his lower back, but we are thankful for his mobility, his job, and his heart to serve our family. We will take each day as it comes. And just like I had no idea what 2017 had in store…. it’s the same for 2018. I’m learning just to walk each day with open hands, an open heart and an open mind. I’m learning about courage and the strength it takes to just stand and let Him work in my heart. I just pray that as 2018 approaches that I would learn to daily look to Him, even when nothing makes sense, and to learn to trust Him in it and through it all.
Blessings to you as you end your 2017…whether it was the best year you’ve had, or one of the toughest. Here’s to a New Year…. a fresh beginning! May He be with You through it all.