I feel like there are a lot of things I could be frustrated about this year. Lots of things that didn't go as I thought they would. In fact, some things that really broke my heart. I lost my baby. One of my best friends lost her marriage. My hubby and I were frustrated with each other. I have family members pregnant (which is super joyful, but bittersweet). We have no clue what our future holds. Our rental house got trashed. But I choose to rejoice in all of it. Because that is what the Lord allows me to see. It is not a fake attitude of joy. But real, true joy. Life on this earth is too short to spend it sadly and with no joy.
I went to the gym yesterday morning, on Thanksgiving. And on my way home, I was just beaming. Thinking of all the blessings in my life.
I mean, just to start... I really prayed that there would be someone we could give to. But where could we find them? I wanted to help someone who needed it, but didn't know if we should just drive around with our leftovers looking for someone hungry...
and a guy showed up in our yard. And said he was trying to make money to feed his son. Brandon worked with him and talked with him for a while. He seemed very legitimate. And in my opinion, it is not up to me to judge him and his motives. I just pray that he used the money he made cleaning our yard (and raking) to help his family. We invited them for dinner but they couldn't come, he said he wanted his son to think he could provide for him. That didn't make sense to me, but it did to the guys. I was happy there was that opportunity I had prayed for! We had a guy that is studying in Brandon's course over for dinner. HE is from Serbia/Montenegro. It was great to talk with him.
Okay, but back to the blessings in our life.
I met my son this year. I held him. I kissed him. And I was able to feel him kick me for MONTHS. What an AMAZING blessing. It is still tough that he's not here with me. But to know he's at the feet of Jesus....it just changes things.
My hubby and I overcame a HUGE obstacle in our marriage. We were not loving each other well through the pain of this loss. And we are coming out of it and communicating so much better. We are pursuing each other again. It never got horrible, but boy...it was not what our marriage usually looks like. I am SO THANKFUL for an amazing hubby....and for getting back to the roots of our marriage.
Another blessing: we began our Ethiopian adoption. We paid and put in the paperwork for our homestudy. We started gathering paperwork. And my mind is all over the place!! We had our adoption yard sale in July, and we began the paperwork in Haiti in January (before I even got pregnant), so that has been a long time on our hearts. Not to mention that when we got married we talked about adopting. Not that I thought it would look like this!!
Blessing#4..or was it 3? .my amazing friends and family. This year I have really felt true love and friendship. I have understood what it means to walk alongside someone through pain. I have learned how true friends sacrifice and do what they must do to make sure your heart is okay. I have made some amazing friends who are walking through the same journey as I am. Who knew there was such a 'club' of baby loss mommas?? I was talking to a sweet new friend after church the other day who recently lost her baby (I hate that people have to join this club!) and some other friends came up to us. You could tell that they weren't quite sure what to do with us :) Uhh, hi...how are you?? (sad eyes)....it is nice to look at someone and laugh and know that we are 'normal' in our little world. haha!!
Blessing#5...the dogs. Really? Dogs? Yes. The dogs. I love those babies so much. I get so so so mad at them. But I just love them. THey do not obey very well. They do not listen. They give lots of kisses and are always there when I need them. I truly think they are preparing me for some of the emotions that come with children. Are they different?? 100000%. Will I probably neglect them once I have kids? Maybe. (I'm just being honest!) But for now, they are such amazing parts of our family.
I am so thankful for the things in my life.
But I have learned a valuable lesson this year. No matter what the circumstances, it is so important to rejoice. I just received a Christmas card today. The first one of the season. It was from my friend Courtney who recently lost her sweet baby Ella. It talks about REJOICING and BEING JOYFUL. THe picture on the card is of her and her children and hubby around her hospital bed with baby Ella. I think we are called to know that we must take every moment and put it in perspective.
Phillipians...it really puts things in perspective. Read the first couple chapters. I feel like I should print out all of Phillipians and carry it around to read when I feel like I'm in the pits or in a bad place. DO I really feel like I could lose all things and still praise God? That I could pursue him in the deepest pit? SOmetimes I complain because I am not perfectly comfortable. Oh, goodness....such a long way to go....we all have :)
Here, just a couple verses I pulled out, but trying to still keep it in context.
"Finally, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. 7 Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus."
Phillipians 3: 1,7-14