Amber & Austin - Christmas 2011

From the very first day of 2011 to the very last day; my life has changed in more ways than I could have imagined; making 2012 by far different than I had planned.

At the beginning of the year I was going to work each day to a job I loved.  Face it, in America we introduce ourselves according to what we do for the most part, and not who we really are.  This was one huge change I was about to see unfold as I gave up my career to be home.  This choice came as a result of other things that happened in 2011, primarily my health and the health of my family.  As the year began I found myself visiting a few doctors to find that my fibromyalgia has been getting worse and was now being joined by its frequent traveling partner; chronic fatigue.  The two create a vicious cycle that spirals in only a downhill motion.  Blood work revealed that my body wasn’t retaining any of the b vitamins as well as vitamin d.  Sugar and caffeine are enemies of these two syndromes but you feel forced to depend on them to get through your day which then leads to more complications and crashing each night.   The depletion of nutrients in my system has also led to recurring infections.  The worst of which hit the end of June as an impacted sinus infection that had me in the emergency room feeling like I was having a stroke as the left side of my body became immobile and my speech was slurred; to the most recent being three kidney infections in three months.  So I found myself ending the year unemployed and under anesthesia as more tests were needed.  So there we have major change number one; the choice to give up a career and essentially lose a piece of who I had been on January 1st; which I feel was a far better choice than losing me altogether.

Shall we move on to major change number two?  In the 22 years we have been married we have packed up and moved homes eight times.  Well, I thought, and hoped that this last move would be the LAST MOVE.  But as you can imagine, some of the aftershock of major change number one was the loss of my income.  My husband and I made the same amount each year.  He did always seem to work enough overtime so his W2 was a little higher than mine though.  😉  When you give up 50% of your income you can’t keep 100% of what you have.  So we are moving, once again, this time to a house that is quite a bit smaller than the one we are in.  There wasn’t much of a choice here as all four of us voted and the fact that we like to eat a little something each day left us with the only choice being eliminating the high house payment.  So downsize it is.

Major change number three, or maybe this is just a major event, came just a few weeks after I left my job.  My husband was rushed into surgery for an emergency appendectomy.  This of course was a short term event and one without any real lasting consequence other than the fact that my husband is never ill, so seeing him in the hospital for a few days and off work a few weeks was quite an event for our family.

So we are left with major change number four.  This was and is by far the one that has changed me the most.  Our 20 year old daughter is expecting and I will be a grandmother.  Before I get a ton of emails and messages please read on.  Yes, my daughter is unmarried, and yes we were flooded with emotions the day we heard that were nothing like the emotions I imagined feeling the day I heard I was going to have my first grandchild.  I had expected tears of joy, not tears of sorrow.  I had expected being excited and not distraught.  I literally cried for seven days straight.  We had been through so much, why this?  Well, the thing that shifted my thinking and got me to dry my tears came in the form of some simple words from my 17 year old son.  He said he wasn’t worried about what people were going to say about her because he’d just tell them that it was by God’s grace that their tummy’s didn’t grow every time they sinned.  Yep, she has to wear her consequence right out front for all to see and others may be able to keep some of theirs hidden for no one to see but God Himself.  You know what? My son is absolutely right.  I’m not at all justifying the sin or trying to make light of it in any way.  I’m simply saying that we humans tend to base our judgment of others on what we see happening out in the open.   For sure the bitterness I’ve held in my heart for ten years now doesn’t compare to this, right?  Wrong!  The lie that you’ve told, well now, that has to be overlooked since you can justify the reason you lied, right? Wrong!  What about that sin that is buried so deep in your heart that it only comes to mind sometimes late in the middle of the night that you can’t tell anyone about because no one would understand?  What about the fact that you might look at her or someone else and think to yourself, “At least I’m not that bad.”?  Well, that might just be the proud look mentioned in Proverbs 6:17 as one of the seven things the Lord hates.

Yep, no one but God may ever be aware of most of our sins.  And yep, everyone that meets us will be aware of this one of my daughters.  Fortunately, she has the opportunity for God to have the glory in this.  Even this!  She has the opportunity to raise a child to know God and serve Him.  Knowing full well that life is sacred she never even considered some of the “choices” that others may think were more convenient for her.  I give her a lot of credit for that and am so thankful.  I give her credit for admitting what she did and not letting what others may think or say keep her from church and following God.  There isn’t one person alive that would be able to serve God if our sin kept us from His service.  My family is very fortunate to be in the church and circle of friends we are in at this time that are continuing to love her and not ostracize her as I’ve seen happen before.

Yes, you have every right to say I’m just standing up in defense of my daughter.  You bet I am.  You know why?  Because based on those words of my 17 year old son I had to face the fact of my own judgment on her.  I had to look hard at myself and the sins in my past and my present that leave me only able to drop to my knees and repent to the One who came to die for those sins.  I have no right to judge her, or anyone else, only God has that right.  I am not saying what happened wasn’t wrong or condoning it at all.  I just saying we aren’t to be judging each other or trying to decide who has repented and who hasn’t.  We are called to love and edify one another.  We all have different consequences to different sins.  Her consequence is going to be with her for the rest of her life and I’ll be there to help her and love her and keep her eyes on the Lord as she’s going to need Him now more than ever before!

Believe me, I’m preaching to myself here.  In light of these circumstances I’ve been judging others that are judging her.  It has really brought to light my need to seek God deeper in my life so that my focus is on my relationship with Him and what I can do to serve Him and serve others for Him.

So now we move forward and search for ways that we can bring glory to God in this situation.  We have a beautiful pink or blue bundle of joy coming in July.  We have a baby that God has known was coming from the beginning of time.  This baby will never feel unwanted or unloved or feel as though it was a mistake.  No life is!

So we open 2012 with more life changes than I ever would have imagined in my wildest dreams.  But you know what?  It’s ok and it’s going to be ok.  My God is still on the throne and will work all things together for good because we are trusting Him.  I am so thankful to each of you who have prayed us through this past year and through other major events we’ve had throughout our life.  The love and support of those close has meant the world to us.

What did I tell you at the beginning of this blog?  Stay tuned!  Life can be quite a wild ride!  And our family has decided that we will be living a more joyful life the way God intended.  James chapter 1 says to count it all joy when you face trials.  I’ve decided instead of whining about what’s happened to us I need to realize that God apparently thinks we are strong enough to get through this if we lean on and trust in Him.  So there you have it – I’ve decided to see the joy in life!

And hey, did you hear? I’m going to be a grandma!