I am grateful. The past 2 years have been full of challenges. I choose to be thankful for them, for the growth and struggle and joy and tears, every last bit of it. Lately, my life has been such a whirlwind of positive change that I haven't had much time to reflect on things that permeate my reflections this time of year.
This is the time of year, many years ago, when I met my husband and knew God had just thrown me a huge curve ball. This is also the time of year my son went from being a Christmastime baby to being a Halloween time baby, and then proceeding to bring both his parents to their knees less than 3 weeks later. This year, amidst the chaos of a new house, new job, and grasping for togetherness with my family...the reflections came late. When November 5th rolled around this year, it wasn't until late evening that I caught my breath and remembered the significance of the date. To most, I am sure its just another day. To me, that day is a reminder of some of the greatest life lessons all rolled into one moment. That day is the day I experienced God's most amazing grace (our son lived), got the greatest lesson about Who is in control, and experienced the hardest lesson in parenthood--my son belongs to God, who is only loaning my son to me for this life on earth and each day with him is a gift from God and it will be on God's time that my son will leave this earth, not mine. Those are not the type of experiences you forget and they don't fade as much as other experiences might. To say life has been so busy that I didn't have this date front and center in my line of vision this year, well that is saying a lot.
Over the past two years, we have done the following:
- My husband started a new career that included attending 16 weeks of training and being away from us most of that time.
- I went on bedrest and then maternity leave for the birth of our daughter, who refused to be ordinary and chose instead to be dramatic at birth like her brother. She spent 3 days in the NICU for being raspy, which ended up curing itself. While she was there, they checked out her heart, which is fine.
- When our daughter was two weeks old, we rented out our house and quietly moved halfway across the state to the area near my hometown. When she was five months old, we moved again to a neighboring town. When she was 17 months, we moved again, for what we hope is the final time for many years. Our five year old, who thinks he is in charge most of the time anway, has declared we are not allowed to move again.
- After my maternity leave was exhausted, I walked away from an amazing job with great benefits and pay. In our new location, I accepted a new job that God threw at me just as my maternity leave expired. The pay was substantially less. The work environment was toxic at times. It only took a few months for me to realize that I would slowly lose my mind if I stayed at this new job. I didn't like the fact that everything there was reactive instead of proactive, systems didn't make sense and nobody saw fit to change them much, and most folks who stay there for any length of time seem to have become complacent with everything that goes on there. I also didn't like the way that it started to affect my perception of people and my compassion towards others. Quitting wasn't an option, never has been for me, as that would have placed us in dire financial distress. I searched and searched for the right job. I was miserable. I went to job interviews, sometimes to second round interviews, but nothing was the right match.
- We found a church home. This is a first for us. We have searched before, looking for the church that felt comfortable to both of us. We had yet to find a good fit, until we found our current church. One Sunday, there was a song played that really got my attention. As a result, I googled the song and then made a Pandora station from the song. I quickly found that I felt truly uplifted when I listened to that station. I listened when I could at work and even though I was still miserable there, it seemed to help lighten my mood. Then I started listening to Christian music in the truck. I found myself singing praise songs frequently.
- We joined a community group with our church and I also attended a 7 week women's Bible study. Both uplifted me and continue to do so.
- My job search continued. There was a specific Sunday when I applied for several jobs. By Tuesday afternoon, I had tears rolling down my cheeks because I got to tell my husband that I had not one, but two interviews to attend by the end of the week. One of those jobs was the right fit, they saw it and so did I. With this job, I found renewal. I once again can take pride in my work, am respected for my professionalism and creativity, and am paid accordingly.
The last couple of weeks, as I shed off the depression caused by my former job, I have only just now realized how much of myself had been lost the past two years. I am thankful to be back.