This year has created more uncertainty for me personally than any other year I can remember, and I guess the solace here is, I am not alone…. unfortunately.
I have also learned that I have more certainty in Christ than anywhere else. As a follower for many years, I feel this truth has been revealed to me over the past year than any other time. So, in a year filled with so much, I am ultimately thankful.
He has carried me in sadness and in grief. He clutched me in the palm of his hand every day as I prepared to watch my son, Townes, fight for his life. He offered me his living water (John 7:13-17) to drink when my ears heard hospital machines day in and day out, when the emergency bells rang and I watched doctors and nurses run and he gave me a cornerstone to stand as my earthly eyes watched sickness slowly start to attack my son.
And the truth is on the days when I still have questions and I can’t make sense of all the “whys” I want to ask and I continue my journey of grieving for another family, he is still there holding out his hand to catch those tears. (Psalm 56:8) He meets me in the valley.
My experience this year has deepened my understanding of focusing on the things I cannot see because the things I see are temporary. The season may feel long and never ending but change will come (2 Corinthians 4:18/Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). It has poured concrete to solidify his promise that he has overcome the world (John 16:33) and when I anchor myself to the Word my soul will not waver (Hebrews 6:19).
The Word itself is filled with life, encouragement, teaching, promises to claim as our own and stories of a person who is HOPE. And in his kindness and love, he sought after me with a purpose, so I know in my heart these truths and the wisdom and revelation found in them. This year I have lived Ezekiel 34.
“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.”
My soul is lifted as I read these words because for me, I wasn’t a lost sheep he was calling back home. I wasn’t lost but rather there were days of darkness. Days when fear was louder than faith and when science tipped the scales to impossible. It was in these moments when I was rescued. It was these thoughts he took captive so I could experience a constant and continual renewing of my mind. (Proverbs 4:23/Romans 12:2)
I was meeting with someone last week and he presented a question that he asks people lately and I thought it was simple and profound. Now he said it much more eloquently than how I will relay it, but the message is the same
My hope is that it challenges you too and maybe, just maybe you will be able to see #2020 from a different lens.
“There are two months left in the year – how are you going to remember it? There is still time to change it.”
I have been mulling this over for about a week like a nice cup of cider. And I have decided I will remember 2020 differently than most.
Sure, it will always be the year of a global pandemic, stay at home orders, masks, a toilet paper shortage and a stock market crash that led to a recession but for me those will be subtitles (although I am sure one day when Townes turns 18 and someone gives him the birthday card of “what happened in the year you were born” it will be unlike any year I have seen).
For me this is the year
- My son, Townes, was born
- Scott and I became parents, a momma and daddy
- When after almost a week, we finally got to hold our son
- My family received the most priceless gift
- Our parents become grandparents and our sibling’s, aunt and uncles
- Miracles! We experienced the power of prayer and came home as a family of 5 (yes Luna and Tucker count) 3 days before Easter
- We experienced the true nature of humanity in every sense of the word – goodness, kindness, generosity, love
- Because of the pandemic we were given the idea of a virtual communion and had over 100 people on the zoom call before they took Townes for his surgery
- We drew closer to our Savior and his love was mirrored to us through our community
- We developed a passion for pediatric transplant education
- I’ve watched Townes fall in love with his furry friends and I have watched them take on a new role with excitement and love
- I heard Townes laugh for the first time (and yes the dogs were involved)
- We have met some incredible new people, whom we now call friends
- Townes loves football (we start ‘em young)!
And the best part? The year isn’t over – and we are entering my favorite season! With two months left, we still have many memories to make. We have things to experience and so many firsts left to explore.
So for me #2020, is much more than what the world wants my eyes to see and my heart to feel.
And I will go to bed tonight knowing that is Jesus who is the Hope of the world (Isaiah 42:1-4/Matthew 12:21).
Townes is now 7 months post-transplant and before we know it he will be turning ONE and then we will also celebrate his ONE year HEART Day!
Friday he will turn 9 months old on the same day, my oldest companion will turn 14.
I have always loved Halloween. My mom was talented and always made the best costumes (Townes will not so fortunate). In my prime trick or treating years and as the oldest, it was such a special treat (pun intended) because every year when my brothers puckered out from exhaustion, dad would drop them off and then take ME, the two of us, to continue on! In some ways its funny to think about now, because generally speaking I was a very shy little girl but for some reason, collecting candy was something I could do – talk to a stranger, NO but say “trick or treat” for a reward, yes!
Then we would come home, dump our bags out (let’s be honest, Pottery Barn wasn’t around selling cute little Halloween pumpkins, we did it the old fashion way – PILLOWCASES…and if you ask me, they hold more)! As we sorted our candy into piles of chocolate, fruit candy, chewy candy, we also had a “dad” pile – he got all the sweat tarts (strange I know) and sugar babies. He says it was his reward for taking us…I think the truth is, he had just as much fun 🙂
So naturally when we found out about Townes’ pending arrival, I couldn’t help but to smile about Halloween. I even toyed with the idea of buying a costume on sale last year for him to wear this year but then life changed. My assumed expectation of Halloween 2020 changed and so I rarely thought about it. I couldn’t. The unknowns were louder than the knowns. #2020 became something completely uncertain, I chartered territory.
While we were in the hospital, every morning upon my arrival before reading Psalm 91 over him, I would whisper “Good Morning, my Brave Little Lion. Thank you for being so strong, so brave and so courageous. Thank you for fighting.”
And as you may remember, Townes was on sub-atmospheric oxygen as well. We often joked that he looked like a little astronaut. Before I left every night and entrusted him to the care of the doctors and nurses on service that night, I would tuck him back under, wrap him snug in his swaddle and whisper, “good night my little astronaut. Sweet dreams playing in the stars and I hope you meet the man on the moon.”
Year #2020 will be my son’s first Halloween. So naturally for Halloween, there were no better options for my Brave Little Lion and my Little Astronaut (astronaut costume thanks to Bear Paw).