As I finally sit down to write a blog for the first time in a week, the realization that a new month has begun brings about hope. A new month means a new beginning. I can choose to look at it from the angle of how quickly time has gone by (which IT HAS!), but I'm choosing to see it as an opportunity to welcome a new month full of fresh starts and hope for greater days ahead.
The past several months, most especially the last two in particular, have been difficult in terms of loss. We've had to face the fact that some of our dreams have permanently failed. God didn't rescue us from a dark period in the way we had hoped He would. However, He has His reasons and though we don't fully understand His reasoning we FULLY believe He does have a plan. Even though we have felt the sting of the loss, we are now thankfully in the next phase. We are looking at a new beginning with God redirecting us down HIS path. He WILL provide a path for new dreams and a new vision. I welcome the fresh start.
Our family also just suffered a loss that can only be healed by the assurance that our salvation brings. Kevin's aunt was in a fatal car accident on Friday afternoon. He received word just as we were walking into our church's Family Fun Fest. Having to be busy that night and having a task at hand allowed him to slowly let things sink in. Losing Betty hit him hard. It's hard to watch your husband hurting so much, especially when he's USUALLY a SOLID rock. She was an extremely special lady that is best described as a true Proverbs 31 woman. She was always the prime example of being a hostess and a godly wife. She was ALWAYS a great encouragement to me personally any time I was around her. She made sure that I knew that I was doing something important by being home with my children. It was just back in September, which is now the last conversation we had, that she put her arm around me and told me that I better keep on taking good care of Kevin because he had suffered more than enough in his life and that he needed someone to keep treating him like he deserved. She said she loved hearing about the two of us from Kevin's dad and our facebook bantering back and forth just made her smile and laugh so often. My kids have already said that trips to Indianapolis will not be the same because they looked forward to seeing her because she was a "riot". For Kevin, I know he has expressed what a great loss he feels because they always had a special connection. We will traveling to the celebration of life service (I hate the word funeral!) on Tuesday. I can't express how grateful I am that two amazing friends volunteered to keep all three of our children so we can make the trip alone and give Kevin the privacy he needs. Bradlee is just at the WRONG age right now to try and "contain" for such a day. We were also worried about Peyton since he is having such a struggle with crowds, both in regards to his health issues and his panic attacks.
It's also been a difficult couple of months in regards to so many people around us suffering set-backs from every direction. Watching people you care about hurt is hard. You truly just don't know what the person next to you might really be going through. I know that is something that I'm personally working on pointing out to the kids. We are making more effort to be encouraging and to show gratitude. A simple act can REALLY just change a person's entire outlook. Otherwise, I think some days we all could "break" with the weight of so many burdens around us.
I've also had loss on the level of accepting that some things just aren't what I thought or what I need them to be, especially in regards to relationships. God has REALLY been giving LOTS of opportunities to learn to trust HIM first. People will fail you. Friendships change, but GOD STAYS the SAME!
What is most amazing is that when one door closes, another one REALLY does open. Adriana & I have talked often recently about how as hard as some things have been, we can really see some things getting better in the days ahead. We've been seeing examples of just how blessed we are to be living where God has placed us and beginning to see the rewards of following His leading. Just a few days ago, we celebrated the fact that we have been living here for 4 years. It has been an incredibly hard roller coaster, but the peace that comes with knowing you are WHERE God placed you is indescribable. It seems as if every day or so, we recognize another blessing of our decision. This week, just as my heart was feeling so heavy as I realized that some friendships/relationships that I leaned on in the past have changed and aren't meeting "my" needs, God has filled that gap GREATLY. For someone that doesn't easily make "deep" friendships, I am extremely blessed with some of the greatest friends that are TRULY supportive in times of crisis, heart break, and just in the every day moments when you need to LAUGH and feel like someone is TRULY on your side.
Perhaps, the hardest loss we've faced is a "quiet", personal one. It's one that Kevin and I have kept between the two of us with just a very few others knowing. It's not one that we've felt like sharing publicly. It's an extremely painful one that continues to hurt deeply. We aren't to the point that we have very much understanding of the "why" yet, but we do have peace. Peace doesn't erase hurt, emptiness, or hurry along the grieving process...but we do trust that God will help us take those steps. He's using this time to teach us to lean on Him AGAIN, to find ways to communicate with each other when we aren't even sure what we are thinking individually. For me, on the hardest days, He's teaching me that He is the great physician----in all regards. He is just as interested in healing spiritually and emotionally as He is physically.
So as a new month has started, I am absolutely ready to have a NEW start and a NEW beginning. I'm ready to put this season of great loss behind us and celebrate the joy that comes from absolute faith in God. Ready to embrace the joy that HE brings despite pain, loss, and suffering. Excited to see where He leads us as we've taken some great steps in obedience in recent months. Hopeful that HIS plan for our lives becomes more vivid each and every day. Grateful that when a door closes another one opens. Waiting with expectant hope that seeds that have been planted take root and grow beyond what my own eyes could imagine. November in general is a welcomed month because it ushers in the celebration of gratitude. Thanksgiving is more than just a day....it's an attitude that we are earnestly seeking to adopt DAILY. I'm looking forward to see how that thought process changes our lives in the coming weeks.