As I think about the last few years, it seems every time I reflect, I find the year hasn’t been all that I hoped. I blogged about 2010 here—my darkest year of struggle with the Lord despite His faithfulness to me. In 2011, we lost two grandfathers and our dog. 2012 was a year of bad news—from Tomi’s battle with breast cancer that sent our family reeling (read about our journey here) to my battle with infertility: from doctor to doctor and test to test, all saying either I’d be unlikely to conceive on my own or even if I could conceive, my uterus may not even successfully carry a baby. 2012 ended with three failed fertility treatments and a house on the market that hadn’t even showed.
When 2013 began, I asked the Lord to let this year be a year of promises and blessings, of dreams fulfilled, of prayers answered. It’s crazy to think that this time last year (literally—this week, this month, a year ago), we were praying, as always, for God to give us a baby, for Hal to get the safety specialist position at Airgas (a promotion!), for us to sell his truck and buy a fuel-efficient car, for us to sell our house and move to Plainview, for Erika to find a teaching job that was close (closer than 10 hours, anyway!), for Jaime and Michalea to get pregnant, and for Tomi to be cancer-free. And even though He hasn't answered all our prayers, I can truly say that this year was blessed, a year of promises fulfilled, of prayers answered. He heard our cries.
- In February, I got to stand next to my future sister-in-law and watch my brother get married. I’ve never been so proud of him; I cried through the whole thing.
- In March and April, the Lord provided the money we needed to re-plumb our whole house in Lubbock, to sell our house for the price we needed, and to purchase our dream home in Plainview for far less than we ever thought we would get it for.
- We moved to Plainview in May, and the Lord provided an incredible church family for us and brought us friends like we’ve never imagined. From Scott and Pam Roberson, who have acted as our surrogate parents, helping us move and get settled, to KB and all my friends in our department who make working at Wayland a joy and a gift; to Bryan and Amber and Thomas and Erin—and our entire life group—who have loved us and prayed for us and welcomed us as friends. I can honestly say we’ve never been so surrounded by so many friends as we have here in Plainview and at Harvest Christian Fellowship.
- At the end of August, Tomi finished her last chemo treatment—and both her scans and blood work last summer and fall were cancer free!
- At the first of October, my sister and Jaime found out they were pregnant—and this year, I’ll have a little nephew! Some may not see that as my blessing, but if you know me, if you know my family, it is! When Michalea was diagnosed with PCOS and endometriosis, like me, my journal immediately filled with tear-stained pages, begging God that she wouldn’t go through this, that He would spare her from walking this journey I’ve been on. And by his great love, and mercy, and grace, He did! People asked if I was jealous or angry. Absolutely not. And you better believe I will hold and treasure and spoil that little boy to pieces!
- I’m continually amazed by the love and support of my family—and that includes Brandi, who is another older sister to me, and Erika, my best friend. From trips to Plainview, to painting, to hanging pictures, to, well, you-name-it, my family is the best. And Erika—she should have a whole post dedicated to her. She has sacrificed her time, again and again, to be there for me this year.
- And lastly, my greatest blessing of all—who has been my greatest gift all these years, even the ugly ones: my husband. This year we celebrated five years of marriage! He is my best friend, my partner, my greatest fan. We do everything together, from yard work to house cleaning, from TV watching to front-porch sitting—and I wouldn’t have it any other way. He has seen me through some pretty rough seasons—and probably more emotional breakdowns this year than in the eight years he has known me. But he is an incredible leader for our home, he prays over me daily, and he encourages me and loves me like none other.
So here’s my prayer for 2014: May this be a year of grace. Sometimes prayers aren’t answered in the way or the timing that we want (or think or hope). Sometimes, as Jason Craft once said, favor means “no.” And sometimes I’ll be weary—when plans change, when things don’t work out, when gratitude is forgotten. But today, I can say with full certainty, my God is faithful, my God is good, and my God has a plan for us this year. I can’t wait to see how He pours out His grace on us in 2014!