Tomorrow Ethan will be a year old. Tomorrow Ethan will be a year old. Nope, seeing that a second time did not help my brain process it. What a year! I don’t even know if I can get my head around it or remember everything that has happened. Recent exhaustion coupled with the last 365 days have rendered my brain function at about 50% capacity. Here’s the year in review:

  • We were in the process of trying to sell our house in Texas for a while. That turned out to be a blessing because we were able to be with friends and family when he was born. 
  • Moving is inherently stressful. Couple that with a baby who developed terrible acid reflux and constipation, sleep schedules that were all over the place, working to make sure my sweet girl always felt loved, packing boxes, and recovering from delivering a giant baby made those first few months after giving birth SO HARD. Again, I’m so thankful to have been near friends and family who loved and shared life with us at that time. 
  • Then our house sold! We really got packing then and started saying our goodbyes. This was hard. We built a life in that town for almost 10 years, and walking away from everyone you love and everything you know is hard no matter what you are walking toward. For us, it was an incredible opportunity for my husband and his career. 
  • Then we got here. We started trying to set up shop, but I started to feel terrible.  I began having a long list of painful stomach trouble. Turns out, I had a tear in my intestine that I had surgery for. It was pretty intense getting through that, but we did.
  • Then we had our first visitors. I can’t explain how overjoyed we were for my family to come up and spend Thanksgiving with us. It was incredible to see them, but right when I saw my mom I knew something wasn’t right. It was determined after getting to a competent doctor shortly after that she had a stroke. Here I am, half a country from home, and my mom is in the hospital and then in-patient physical therapy. When she was ready to go home, I flew down alone to help prepare their house for her arrival. I will say this, marry a man who loves you and knows your heart and what is important to you because my husband not only supported this but went out of his way to make it work. 
  • Then my in-laws were able to come visit.  This was also a joy and huge blessing to us.  It was fun to see them with our kids, and to show them our new area. It was great to be loved on by family for a few days.
  • Then a new year had begun. One of the toughest things the new year brought was our decision to put Lauren into preschool. It has been hard off and on, but I am so thrilled that we decided to do it. It’s been incredible for her! She has flourished in the wonderful environment she is in. I am humbled and so thankful that God gave us this opportunity for her. 
  • All this time I had been really missing my husband. He has been working so hard to take care of us. The courage it takes to go into a new market as a virtual unknown and to see success requires a lot of work. I am incredibly proud of him, but I also have missed him a lot this last year. I, however, will say again that I am incredibly proud of him, and I see God blessing the efforts of all those involved in the company. I look forward to watching everything grow, and I have got a pretty great seat. There’s been cost associated with this opportunity, but I know we’ll come out the other side of it incredibly thankful we did it.
  • Ethan had a hard few months of constant fluid and infections in both of his ears. This translates into a hard few months for everyone. We had tubes placed in his ears in April. It has been really great for him, and I’ve been so excited about seeing him on the other side as a much healthier and happier little guy.  
  • I have been really very sick most of the time that we’ve been here. In April, I had major sinus surgery. I had my septum broken because it was severely deviated and did not allow for my sinuses to drain. They also resected the tissue in my lower sinus cavities because they were too big and were holding fluid. That was an ordeal to get through, but we did. Some days, that’s enough. 
  • It’s been a really lonely season. I love people. I love being around people. I love getting to know people and finding ways to serve them. It’s my heart to do those things. I had some of the best people in the world as friends back in Texas, and I loved seeing them. I loved watching our babies play together, catching up on girl talk, sharing our hearts, sharing some laughs, and leaving every encounter with a friend being assured of how loved I was. It took a long time to find a church we wanted to continue to visit here, and between two surgeries in our family in the last month, we haven’t really been able to go back consistently. I love going to church, hearing the Word of God preached, and lifting my voice and singing with the body of Christ.  I hope as we all fully recover we get to plug in and be really involved like we were in our church back home. I hope we make some more friends. I miss having friends to hang out with and do life with. Those of you still reading obviously care about me so please spend time praying about this for us. It has been downright angering the last few moths praying and being frustrated wondering if this was the right choice. It would be such an encouraging thing to know that we are specifically being prayed for about this. 
  • Rob and I have come to be better friends, a better husband and wife, better parents, and more determined than ever to support one another through this time. It’s so hard at times but to have someone pull you out of a despairing and lonely place because they love you and are with you is a precious blessing. We have recently been praying about how overwhelmed and stressed we have been. God heard those prayers and inspired the heart of a friend to reach out to us with a simple gesture that made us both feel loved, humbled, and reminded us God is for us and has heard every word we have prayed. I guess that is something I am considering as I write just now. Even though we have found many friends here, there’s a long list of people who still love us and want us to know that we are cared for and loved. Many are the miles between us, but that hasn’t changed. You know you’re loved by people when they don’t have to see you to be thinking about you and praying for you. 

Tomorrow Ethan will be a year old. Tomorrow Ethan will be a year old. Nope, seeing that a fourth time did not help my brain process it. It’s been a fast and furious year.  It’s been a tough year medically. It’s been a hard season of life. Those things are true. Very, very true, but it has also been exciting and character building. It has been a lesson in trying to drink a vat of lemonade because there have been a lot of lemons, but lemonade is not the worst thing to have to drink. Bitterness, anger, and hopelessness would taste much worse. As I watch life unfold, I’m thankful for someone to make this metaphorical lemonade with as we are still loved and cared for by our God and Christ. God has never let us down, and I am excited to see where we are on the other side of this a year from now. 

“…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10