Today, I am thankful...
- that I can make a conscious choice to love, even when it is difficult and fought against. Hmmm, much like we often act towards our Heavenly Father who loves us unconditionally.
- for my blog friends who have encouraged me with your responses to my recent post. I love you ladies, yes you. Jane, Pat, Jacqueline. God has blessed me by bringing you into my life!
- for the Mosquitos that find me so appealing. Ok, not really. But, spending time with them this evening did result in these blessings from our yard!
Minus one toenail! It's not as painful as I anticipated, but I definitely feel it. Doctor said I had the highest pain tolerance of any patient he has treated.
I looked pretty funny at work with one regular shoe on and one flip flop carefully placed on my other foot - lol!
This past year has been a tough one for me. Well, the reality is that it's been a tough one for our family. I've shared some of those challenges here and some I've kept to myself. The blog has suffered. That saddens me, as I really do enjoy writing, opening my heart, philosophizing a bit, and just keeping things updated.
The truth of the matter is that many of us have dry or barren periods in our lives. And that's how I can best describe what this last year has looked like for me. When Maia was acutely ill, people commented on how strong my faith was and how I seemed to have such a sense of peace about me. In those moments, I felt strong in my relationship with God (and my dependence on Him). I felt His peace envelop me and sustain me.
But after we got home and began to live our daily lives, the "aftermath" set in. In the beginning, I eagerly anticipated Maia's miracle. I had my expectations of how it should look. We would have our girl back, exactly the way that she was "before." Our family would return to the way it was "before." I waited... and I waited... and I prayed... and I waited... and I prayed...and it didn't happen the way I wanted it to. Our family dynamics changed significantly because of Maia's care needs. There has been a toll on each person. Certainly, Maia lost the most, but none of us have escaped from this unscathed. And the reality is that Matthew has suffered greatly as well, which adds to more stress.
So over the past year, I have struggled. Looking back, I came to a point (not that long ago) that I can only describe as absolutely barren and desolate. Full of grief and loss... for Maia, for our family, for myself. I came across a quote on a friend of a friend's blog that seems so appropriate for what I have been feeling. This family lost a daughter to a brain tumor at age 12. Jen (the mom) wrote, "I have come to grips with the fact that 'carefree' will probably never apply to me again. My life will always have the before, and from here on out, I will live in the after."
I was in tears as I read those words. I have the "before/after" of my first husband's death, although as time has passed, my "after" life has taken away much of the sting of that. And now, I have the "before/after" of Maia's illness. Even though it's been over a year, those feelings are still pretty raw. I miss the old Maia, I miss her every single day. I'm starting to see how my grief (and the stress/strain of the past year) has affected my interactions with my family and the world in general. It's not been pretty.
But, God reminds me that He has not left me in this journey. Even when I have not felt Him, He has been right there by my side. And He is slowly teaching me that I need to trust that He is enough. To let go of my expectations. To stop looking at the "before" and to quit worrying about the future, but to start making a difference today. I can manage baby steps and that's enough.
With that being said, I am looking forward to some regular blogging again now that I feel like coming out of my "pit" and back to the world. No promises, but that's my hope! :-)