If I had to relive one year over and over I don't think that I would choose the year 2013. Honestly, it was a tough year. I don't think I've ever worked so hard---at my job, my marriage, at figuring out how to be a parent, at all aspects of life really. There were times I felt stretched so thin, times when I felt I wasn't really giving my best to anything or anyone.
I cried a lot this year. I questioned. I doubted. I hurt. At points I felt utterly worthless. I fought an overwhelming urge to retreat and pull away from everyone and everything I love. I tried to be strong and to hold onto truth but honestly I've never felt so weak or so helpless.
I remember the pain. I remember the sadness. I remember the self doubt. So how is it that when I look back on the past year I feel an overwhelming sense of thankfulness?
It's because He makes the sad things come untrue.
Can I share with you the things and people I am thankful I had in my life this past year?
- I am thankful for a faithful God who revealed Himself to me in a very personal way this year. This year, the gospel truly pierced my heart in a way I've never before experienced. Thank you for Your rescue plan---the bigger one for all of us, and the smaller one just for me.
- I am thankful for a courageous husband who chose humility, sacrifice, and diligence in multiple areas of his life this year. He refused to give up or give in. Thank you for always choosing Jesus and for loving me.
- I am thankful for a little boy who makes me feel strong and who loves with no stipulations. Even when I feel like a mess, he wants to be with me simply because of who I am---his mom. That was something that I needed this year---just pure, unaffected love. The kind only a child can give.
- I am thankful for a really great landlord. Seriously. Having a landlord who is kind, who likes us, who takes care of any issues right away, who doesn't take advantage of us and is allowing us to live in a beautiful home that we absolutely love...that is something to valued.
- I am thankful for my mom who spent several weeks in NY this year helping me manage my life and getting to know her grandson. I didn't get nearly as homesick for NC this year because I saw so much of you, Mom. (I am thankful for you and dad for many other reasons too, but I wanted to say thank-you specifically for just being with me so much this year).
- I am thankful for a mother-in-law and sister-in-law who have invested so much of their time into caring for August. I don't even know how to articulate how thankful I am for both of you.
- I am thankful for the pastors in our life who have invested a lot of time mentoring, advising, loving and otherwise pastoring John Paul and I this year.
- I am thankful for old friends who encouraged me out of the blue, reminded me that I wasn't forgotten, and stepped up in ways that they didn't have to.
- I am thankful for Meryl---you were one of those "old friends" and I'm not sure I could have held it together this year without you. Thank you for being patient and loving with me. Thank you for being there for me in a way no one else could.
- I am thankful for new friends---especially the new friendships that have formed at church this year. I am stunned to find that we suddenly have a second family we can count of for anything. It has been the biggest blessing.
- I am thankful for Lauren, Nicole and everyone else who ever babysat for little or no charge. I don't take that for granted. You were (and still are) a blessing to me. Thank you for giving me date nights with my husband, coming to my rescue when things came up suddenly, and just generally making me feel grateful.
I'm thankful for lots of other stuff too---a stable and enjoyable job, a church I feel proud to be apart of, my large family that is always full of laughter and love, a good mechanic, not having pets, getting the hang of this snow driving thing, awesome neighbors, etc. Because despite the difficult stuff---I've been given much. God has taken a year full of sad things and made me new.
Merry Christmas---and thank you.