Looking back at this last year, I have had a lot of new beginnings.
Change can be a scary thing sometimes. It rattles us from what we know and throws us into unfamiliar grounds. Beginnings can oftentimes be hard. Take for example, starting over in a new life after a loved one has passed. Or, tragedy strikes and your home, belongings, or personal heirloom treasures are forever lost. Picking up the pieces to your new beginning can be tough in those circumstances to say the least.
Through those dark moments, are there things to be cherished? Are there things to find joy in? I always think, yes! God brings beauty from ashes. We can find familiar ground in a thankful heart. We can find security and rest in the God who did everything to be with us and who never leaves us. That is the heart of Facing The Grey. The next book to the Reality Series with protagonist Zoe Trasten. This is a new beginning for her in the book as a new Christian, yet trouble surrounds her. And for me, well, it is a new beginning as well. The story will be getting professionally published by a traditional publishing house! A dream come true. Yet, it is all new. Deadlines, author photos, etc. etc. This sparked a genesis of a whole new set of new things that occurred in 2015.
Here is a short break down of those things…
My husband was hit by a car while riding his bike home from work. He was hit going through a green light by a car turning left. He immediately was flung into the air, over the car’s hood and did a couple of flips. He hit his head and shoulder very badly. His bike and only means of transportation to and from work, was crumpled. His helmet cracked open. We were grateful that he was not seriously injured or dead. Though forever changed; his tendon to his shoulder had torn off the bone-though we were not aware of that at the time. Thus, started months of pain and doctor appointments, physio appointments, etc. Also, learning to do life differently until his brain healed from the concussion.
Earlier in the year, I had started a new part-time job. Though stressfully busy, and in need of wanting some “outside adult time”, we needed the extra money. A beautiful and God-timing job. It was perfect for me. I did well at it and thrived in the environment. To boot, my boss was a devoted Christian! Such lovely girls.
Though life was good and has some bumps to it, my health had diminished. I was extremely tired and weak. I didn’t know what was wrong. Yes, I had been through much. But nonetheless, our life has always been this challenging. What was wrong with me? We broke it down to my thyroid, with little help from the doctors. I started to take thyroid pills and this helped immensely. Without out it and the wisdom of God in that area, I doubt I would have been able to keep up. Even with it, there were some terrible days.
We had to move. Our homeowner wanted to move back into her home. Secretly, she was wanting to sell the place, which we didn’t know at the time. We attempted to move, disappointed because the rent was excruciating already for us. The only places available for a family of 7 people were in the $1800-$2100 per month range. We could not afford that on one income and a small part-time job. But, we couldn’t change the circumstances either. We set out and handed in application after application. We began to worry when no one called back. Two weeks till the move out date, all available houses for that month stopped advertising. There were no houses left. We were desperate and were praying. We asked our landlord if she had gotten any calls about us for reference yet. She said no. Though we had a great reference and good credit, we had five children and nobody was willing to rent to us. 1 1/2 weeks till move out date, we looked at camping it out until the next month. Then, someone said yes. It was for a beautiful house. However, the most expensive at $2100/month. We had no other choice but to accept and pray God would provide. We had to lean on God and rely on His strength and provisions from here on out. A true test of faith!
My kids had only started Public school from Homeschooling one year prior and was going to their second *new* school in two years due to the move. Having to make friends and meet new teachers all over again. Later on, this would pose serious problems for my children as they again, learned to adjust. Eventually, I had to quit my job in October. One for them. Two because my husband needed rotator cuff surgery. I was going to be needed back home for at least 6 months. In the end, I was sad to leave work. My co-workers too. I was fit for that job in so many ways. But, my first job is to my family. This was a reminder of that. Because of my being at home, I’ve had many close moments with my children. They’re more secure to have a mom to come home to-which I never had. For that, I am thankful!
I started a course in University for the fall semester. Having Dyslexia, this was a brave move. It was also a massive struggle to maintain the household, chores, new school for the kids, my husbands recovery, my part-time job, writing, church involvement, our move, etc. It was only one course, but for me… it was so tough! My husband was incredible and though he couldn’t handle a lot, he did more than he should. He even attempted to make dinners so I could study. So very precious. There was tears flowing down my eyes this week and joy in his when we saw that I past my first university course-ever. An accomplishment that I would normally not have even tempted. But I did. And came out so much more braver than I would have ever imagined if I didn’t suffer and struggle through it.
I finished writing my second book and started editing it with an editor I met online (not recommended!) This, at first was a good experience. It didn’t pan out very well. But God still used that experience and helped me get published by a traditional publisher. This was no small task because I was not solicited. Meaning, I did not have an agent. This alone was a great miracle of God. A dream only He could have answered. A time of hope for my future.
We bought a new vehicle. Because my husband could not ride his bike, we had to invest in a new vehicle for him. We found a good deal but, it was rusty and still needed a lot of work to be done. My husband tried to ride a bike again, but just couldn’t. That experience has rocked him too much to get back onto a road bike just yet.
I lost a Grandmother. This was sudden news for me and one I held dear. I only just begun to get to know that side of my family. Devastating and with that news…
We drove across Canada, me with my husband, to go and see them. Due to health issues, this was very hard for both of us. Yet, needed. Due to my husbands responsibilities as a Pastor of a church, we can’t be away from our church too long and I hate to fly. So, we drove across Canada in 10 days, there and back! We also stopped into Montreal where my husband preached and I sang. It was encouraging for us and also therapeutic for our marriage. A much needed break from all that was going on around us- to just fall in love on the road again. A beautiful reminder of our honeymoon and when we drove to California. Memories we will always cherish. On the way back, I started to develop a blood clot in my extremities. My health was and is still bad. We did much work to keep the blood clot at bay, trying to stay healthy. Thankfully, it didn’t ruin our fun!
We had some family issues. Family break-ups and communication break-downs. This, I won’t elaborate on. However, it did give us a wonderful opportunity to preach the gospel. It also was a good testing ground for our own faith and who we are in Christ.
My husband’s father and wonderful Christian blessing in our lives, was diagnosed with Cancer. Extremely tragic to hear for us. A sad moment in our life. Those who have watched people go through Chemo will be able to relate to that statement. Though, through it, our father is getting closer and closer to Jesus! What a wonderful testimony. Everywhere he is going, he preaches the gospel. An inspiration to us that through hardship, we can set our eyes on heaven.
Health was a nagging topic for us this year. And mine didn’t escape conversations either. My health continued to dwindle with new news of heart blockages and other issues. Now, I will be going to an internal specialist to troubleshoot. This alone has put a fire in my soul. A determination to stay healthy and live a long life. It has given me resilience, if anything. Though I have had to scale back my busy life for things more important-family, health and especially time with God, I know I will end stronger and better with a full quality of life in the end. I am still young. For me, these are only lessons to be made. Ones to learn from and grow from. Though, a beginning I was hoping to face later on in life. Maybe earlier is better!
Our Pastor had taken a fall and was seriously hurt. This shook us too! He is like a second father to me and I was scared. With prayer and a reminder that we serve a God of miracles, my Pastor is healing well. He still winds easily and his back is tender, he didn’t need surgery and won’t be crippled. Reminding us that every day of this life is fleeting.
Problems come, but there are nuggets of Joy to be found.
There are lessons to be learned.
There is courage to be sought and battles of self to be won.
There are challenges to overcome!
Each event caused for a new beginning to arise. These new beginnings were life altering and caused us to have to pick up where we left off in some form or another. Or, moved us completely in a new direction. Most-not all, of these occurred out of some kind of negative thing.
But, if I take a different perceptive on all of these changes, I would have to say that beginnings are to be cherished. For they bring life.
They bring beauty from our ashes.
They bring family together.
They force us to stop and question our faith. Ultimately, drawing us nearer to Jesus and enlarging our faith in Him.
If I took a preview of how I felt when many of these things were happening, I would be depressed all at once. Now looking back, I serve a wonderful God who only lets us go through what we can handle. One day at a time.
I have to admit, writing down all of these things that have happened, I was shocked that we in fact did all of that. Yet, each day is sufficient for its own troubles the Bible says in Proverbs and that is something I am so thankful for. Enjoy your new beginnings in 2016. Even the tragic ones! Who knows what beauties you will find to cherish…