Can I just say I am tired? Life has been very difficult this past year. God has been so gracious to take care of us well, but I am well aware that He is the only One holding me together most days. This past year has been a year of loss but also a year of growth. Here's what I mean.
-Last summer, a friendship became irreconcilable the same week Bryan was going through diagnostic procedures to figure out why he was having some serious health problems. I was heartbroken. / Now, God has replaced that friendship with healthy ones. I now have friends that love me and walk with me through life and take the time to understand and know me. They get that I am pulled in a thousand different ways with our ministry, business, and life situation. They are patient with me.
-A few months later, Bryan and I found out we were pregnant in September, but we miscarried in October. / I have cried and grieved over losing another child (our first miscarriage was in 2007). I know God is good even when I don't understand or even like His plans for me.
-At the beginning of this year, it became increasingly clear that the leadership of the church we serving at was moving in a direction that was unfaithful to Scripture. After months of struggling and praying, Bryan resigned at the end of February. / God has opened a new chapter in our life that is entirely frightening and wonderful at the same time. Because we felt release from our previous church but not from our city, we are planting a new church here to reach people who would not normally attend church. We are so excited about what God is doing here. As Bryan has lost his full-time job, God has provided for our family so well in many other ways. One is that Peripety Designs, our web design business, grew from being a part-time addition to our income to being our main source of income within the exact time frame we needed to make the transition work. God is so good!
-Since Easter I have had unusual health problems where my body has simulated being pregnant without it actually coming to fruition. I have actually cycled in and out of feeling pregnant and having all of the 1st trimester symptoms for a month to just have them go away again. My obgyn has tested me and ruled out thyroid problems. It's speculated that I may have miscarried several times but really there is no way to know for sure. I have struggled deeply with this unidentified health issue. We have always wanted to have a big family, and I feel teased for my body to keep mimicking a healthy pregnancy. / I am having to learn to trust that God is good- not cruel. I am learning to trust in the truths of Scripture- not my emotions. I am learning to rest in God's sovereignty, even if it hurts sometimes. I have even more compassion for families who silently suffer through fertility issues. It's hard to talk about them.
-In May, we found out that Abby had a severe dust mite allergy. With that, Abby's doctor has given us a list of some pretty big changes we need to make to keep her healthy. / I have seen God provide for our needs in this area in big ways. It has been comforting to know that He is going to take care of us, even in this area.
-This June, my dad's mom, Meme, was hospitalized. With that, we learned that she had a large tumor and kidney cancer. By the end of July, she had passed away, and it is has been harder than I thought it would be to let her go. It's difficult to see people you love pass away, even if they have lived a full life. / I am once again reminded how permanent death is and how fleeting our lives are even if we get to live to 92. I want to make the most of this life so I can look back without any regrets and know deep down that I have served Jesus and my family to the best of my abilities.
-This July, the week before Meme passed away, my mom's mom tore her rotator cuff severely, and we learned that she is going to need a full shoulder replacement. Since she is the primary caregiver to my step grandfather with Alzheimer's, this is a really big deal. A couple of days after Meme's funeral, my step grandfather was taken to hospital via ambulance, and his health has declined since. Now, Mammaw and Grandpa have decided to move into Meme's old house to be closer to my family for care and help. We are in the process of getting both homes ready, getting Mammaw and Grandpa's home ready for an estate sale, and moving them in within the next week or so. / I am learning that sometimes life happens so fast that you can't possibly have the strength to keep going on your own. I am finding strength for each day in Christ. Life is always changing and moving, and we have to rely on Jesus to have the grace to be kind and loving when we are stressed. If anyone understands stress right now, my family does. There is a lot of responsibility on everyone's shoulders right now (some more than others) as we all pitch in to make this transition happen.