Dec 29, 2011

Untitled Reflections

The year started with so much joy and happy expectation. In January we became parents! In that sense 2011 was such a beautiful year! A year of getting to know our son and experience life with him. I enjoyed the immense blessing of being able to work part-time from home. Being home with our son, watching him continue grow and develop is a gift that I will always cherish - even during teething days.  In the beginning, I would often get the question, "So, how do you like being a mom?" I always stumbled with an answer - how do you put words to such a profound gift and blessing? It is hard to explain that when I became a mom I finally felt like "myself." During years of longing, waiting, praying, I had started to wonder if God had a different plan for my life. Maybe I wasn't supposed to be a mom like I'd always thought.  At the end of 2010 and in the beginning of 2011, God gave us the most beautiful gift of our son, through the sacrifice of his biological mom, and he confirmed the desires of my heart. As we are at the end of 2011 and my little baby boy is nearing his first birthday, I stand in awe of just how sovereign my God is and how richly he chose to bless us this year.

2011 was also a tragic year. In another sense, it is ending so much differently than I imagined. So much daily happiness found in parenting our son and yet so much sadness and pain in losing babies I loved before I knew them. I believe life begins at conception; this year our family has lost 5 little lives I was not able to meet outside their mothers' wombs. My nephew, William, and his twin among those lost. In the midst of this grieving there have been broken and intensely wounded hearts, sickness and physical pain attack those I hold dear in my hearts.

I remember at the end of 2010 I thought that I had enough of the sadness and disappointment contained in that year, I was looking forward to the fresh start of 2011. The anticipated joy of meeting our child and experiencing our life as a family of three instead of two - it was enough excitement to fool me into forgetting that this world is full of trouble. I was reminded of this truth not long into the year and since then I have been struggling to answer the question of how I can feel so happy and so incredibly sad at the exact same time.

Many times throughout the days/weeks/months I find myself thinking, "Life shouldn't be like this. There shouldn't be this much sorrow and death." I'm not blaming God, it just feels like an inward tug on my heart. As I prayed through these thoughts one day, the phrase I've emphasized in Ecclesiastes 3:11 came to mind:
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. (ESV)
I was so struck with the notion of having eternity in my heart. My heart knows that sin has ruined a perfect creation and it knows that there is somewhere far better and more perfect than I could ever imagine. My heart groans, knowing that indeed life shouldn't be like this, but in fact with sin, life is full of sorrow, sickness and pain. In the midst of these troubles there is hope. Some days it feels as though it is buried very far down and others it is overflowing the surface.

This hope, as my Pastor Stan Gale says, is not a "hope so" type of hope. It is firmly rooted in Jesus Christ and a saving relationship with him. It is through this relationship that I am able to face the heartache I am bound to face every year until Jesus returns. It is because of my knowledge that nothing good comes from my own work, I am able to rejoice knowing that "every good and every perfect gift is from above" (James 1:17 ESV).

It is tempting to approach 2012 with an attitude that surely, it must be better than 2011. I think it is natural for me to look ahead at this new year and hope that the ups will out number the downs. However, I've become so aware that each and every year holds beautiful blessings along side deep sorrow. A new year may be a new start, one that I am looking forward to, but this year I can't help but feeling like there will be more of the same. There will be trials and troubles, and there will be joy and blessings, all of which will be gifts from above.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (James 1:2-4 MSG)
It is important for me to remember that the year 2012 does not hold the answer to the frustration I feel in 2011. Hoping in the new start will leave me disappointed in the end. Having my hope firmly rooted in Jesus Christ gives me Joy that nothing can take away and the strength to look forward to all that God has planned for my life, year after year.

1 comment:

Aunt Das said...

I never read your journal that I am not blessed. You are real, just like the Psalmist, and also, like the Psamist, you end on a hopefull, looking to Christ to be your all in all.