The Bible says to “…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
I’m going to be very honest and admit that this year has picked a pretty gnarly fight with me (as I’m sure y’all have caught on to by now). I’d also like to point out that, and not to toot my own horn buuuuut, I’m definitely coming out on top (WOO)! Just to catch you up to speed, I’ll give you a little timeline.
February meant the beginning of living in the PICU for 3 weeks (shout out to my incredible squad of nurses and therapists). March meant waking up and being told by a complete stranger that I would never eat anything (ever again…), only to pass a swallow test 4 days days later and prove her wrong (HA – HA! In your face, “nameless ICU Dr”!!!!)! July and August meant multiple esophageal manometries (I recommend NOT being awake for this) and esophagus dilations to try and make eating easier (no, they were not successful). September meant gold bows everywhere for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and remembering and honoring all of my sweet friends who also struggle with childhood cancer (missin’ you forever, Sarah Sunshine and rock ‘n’ roll Brayden!!). October was volunteering to get a very low profile g-tube style feeding tube (bet y’all didn’t know that one) so that I could stop forcing myself to eat just to get some calories in (I was down to 53 pounds) and start eating for fun again. October was also the month of being diagnosed with symptoms of depression and dealing with that in my own way (which obviously everyone has to treat this differently but I decided not to take any anti-depressants and so far, I’m more myself today than I have been since before I landed in the ICU – YAYYYY).
So, here we are on the tail-end of November. Every one of us caught up in life and that same stressed out, anxiety-ridden version of gratefulness that always comes around during the holidays and we’re all screaming inside of our heads, “WHERE DID THE YEAR GO?!”
My answer to this is: on.
I keep looking back at this year and it’s like watching slow motion videos of myself tripping flat out on my face ovvveerrr and ooovveeerr again. But- I keep getting back up.
All year long, I have been dealt one bad hand after another, and every single one has kicked me flat on to my butt. But, after every single butt-kicking, somehow, something incredible came out of it. I don’t always realize right away what the blessing is, but even after all the crying and screaming and being mad at and begging and praying to God, I always ended with thanking Him. Because by the end of my infant-in-a-beauty-pageant style rant, it would finally occur to me that I wasn’t stopping to think about how blessed I am, and that I was completely neglecting all the situations in the world worse than mine, equal to mine, or less than mine. I was neglecting my ability to see past anything but myself, all. No, I’m not implying that getting upset and crying out to God and begging Him or even getting angry at Him is wrong. Obviously you have to grieve somehow, but I think in today’s society we’ve been taught to think “me, me me!!!!” “What do I want?” “Why did this happen to ME??”
Well, here’s the newsflash that’s been front page news every single day for our entire lives and everyone’s lives before us: IT’S NOT ABOUT US! IT IS ABOUT OUR LORD! We forget so easily that when we go through seasons of life where we feel like we are just beat into the ground, that all of this happening to us and around is so Jesus can shape and mend us into who we are supposed to be and into who we are as a Child of God. That, in itself, is a blessing of its own. All of these terrible, awful seasons will always have a point of healing or a reward that we don’t deserve because our God is a loving, faithful God and we can’t even remember to thank Him for waking us up every morning. That doesn’t even touch the amazing things that will happen in these seasons! Babies will be born! People will get married! Lives will be saved! People will graduate college! Soldiers will come home to their families! But, in case I haven’t sold you on the fact that there are better things to come, I want to revisit all the awful seasons I went through this year.
February meant carrying on with my New Years resolution to stop cussing and just straighten out my life, still training (and completely obsessing over) my still new (at the time) puppy, and it turns out adopting him was the best decision I’ve EVER made!! March meant getting out of the hospital after the ICU stay and, more importantly, realizing that in deciding to walk the straight and narrow path, I was not walking it alone. This was very much a realization that Jesus was walking with me (what a wonderful, beautiful, perfect name it is)! July and August was living the last half of a very laid back summer that I spent much of just finding myself… getting involved with my church group, getting more into church, diving into The Bible, justing finding who I am in Christ more than I ever knew before (it was a really lonely summer sometimes but it was a really happy summer). September was glittering gold bows tied on every tree and mailbox on the roads I drive most to remind me that the people around me are always around me (thank you for the support) and celebrating the big 2-1 with the best friends and family and online shopping allllllll month long (okay so I do this every month – I admit, I have a problem whoops)!! October was a surprise trip Nashville for my birthday (we won’t go into details but long story short – we got jipped and have to go back to make up for it) and spending a lot of much needed time at home, doing things I love (which I’m a home body so if you know me, hanging out with my blankets and pillows all day is toootally fine by me)!
So, here we are back at the tail end of November. It’s been full of so much of my family… more than any other year. I’ve spent so much time with Jesus and my family this year, and I am the happiest I’ve ever been. I’m looking back at this year up until this point, just lie everyone else, and thinking “where did the time go?” It’s been an exhausting year, and honestly if you walk into our house at any given point right now, you’ll find at least 1 out of 3 of us completely passed out either on a couch or a bed from lack of sleep or too early mornings.
The toughest, most trying year of my life.
And I am thankful, even so.