Okay, so in order to leave any kind of review of my year I will have to write some things I wouldn't normally write. I feel it is important, for my own sake, to do so - this time. I am extremely grateful, though, that there were at least a few events of this year that have totally blessed my socks off! While this year has been truly horrible in so many ways, between physical pain, depression, and certain individuals who have sought to try to destroy our family, it has had some sweet moments. I think for my own healing I need to reflect on this year, including its horrors - partly to move beyond it, and partly to NEVER allow it to happen again.
I came into this year wounded from a car accident that I had just before the previous Thanksgiving. Yes, Lord, I thank You that You guarded my life in that accident! I don't really understand why the pain, but we do rise above when we have to, right? Right. I began physical therapy in January. My spine was twisted, I had ribs severely out of place, my neck was locked up and still had the after-effects of whiplash. I could barely walk. I found out I had scoliosis. Fibromyalgia was making things worse, and for the first time in my life, it began to affect my upper back and neck. All this because a man who wasn't licensed to drive and had had few drinks was driving a company van, and decided to drive across my side of the road even though I was there. It was awful. I thank God for my physical therapist, Rachel. She worked and worked and worked for 8 months this year to get me beyond the effects of that accident, and taught me much about how to care for my back.
One of the most precious events of this year was the birth of my granddaughter, Isabella Rose, in March. She is truly precious to me and makes me so happy. What a great girl she is! Very quick to learn, very agile, very happy. Truly a precious baby! I believe she is a gift, and I do cherish her, and I thank her precious mommy for letting me have so much time with her. She is good for my soul! :)
One of the horrors of this year has been an inability to get out to church. I think I have only been able to make it about 7 times and that is devastating. Now if you really know me, you know that I believe God is my Healer, my Strong Tower, my Refuge. My trust - and my HOPE - is entirely in Him. Still, something happens when you can't fellowship with His people... it's like you have to work harder and harder to remind yourself of His promises. Then you begin to doubt yourself and your ability to shine with His light and love. You get lonely, even though you are never alone, and it is horrible. You become convinced that everyone else thinks you have turned your back on Him, and when you feel like you are clinging to His neck with every ounce of strength you have, it cuts you to the core. Very few people call to see how you are anymore, and those who actually do call tend to say things like "you don't have to be sick, you know..." Yes, I know! I know, I know... I am the healed! I am the whole! Body, catch up with this Truth! Truth trumps facts!
The fact was that I was hurting and growing more tired and that is an awful place to be. I still had to run to others' rescue on a nearly regular basis, yet I found no rescue of my own. I guess you can tell I sunk pretty low.
Then something new came up, something exciting, something creative, something fun. My daughter has a photography business and she and I began to work together to photograph weddings. I had helped with a few weddings last year, but this year I became an integral part of the company. I cannot tell you how very much I LOVE it! I feel useful, and even though it can be exhausting, it is so rewarding. We have photographed some of the most beautiful weddings you can imagine. How refreshing to have this outlet! My sweet friend Yvette also sat as a model for me so I could learn how to work with Rachel's fancy camera. That was so much fun! I have a vision for down the road to run Naturally Captured Photography for Rachel, doing portraits, weddings, whatever! THAT will be FUN!
I spent much of the year knitting. It's one of those things that I can do to distract myself from whatever else is going on. I got so depressed because of the constant pain and my inability to get to church... Knitting truly helped me get past that! I have been truly blessed to make friends through the knitting experience. There is a local group of knitters whom I had the distinct pleasure of meeting through a website called Ravelry. They are such unique and wonderful women, and I loved the few opportunities I've had over the past year to get to meet and know them. There are also a couple of women in particular whom God has used to brighten my life significantly. I am so grateful! I call us "Evil Triplets." We are totally NOT evil, of course, but we sure do all think alike and enjoy similar things. It is so odd to forge friendships through the void of internet... You have to be so careful! I know, though, that these girls are a Godsend. And I thank Him for them!
In July, just as I was finally able to start using my TENS unit less (electrical pulses that help block pain signals) I had a huge setback. I went to pick up a cup of coffee off of the table and blew out two discs in my lower back. The pain was down both of my legs and was excruciating. Again. I had my physical therapist begin to concentrate on that instead of my upper back. I was sent to a pain center and took a series of shots in my back that were supposed to help the pain go away. After all these months I am glad to say that the pain has decreased a good deal, although I still feel it every day. I am looking forward to complete relief in that area!
In October I was in another car accident (not driving this time.) I ended up breaking several ribs. We were on our way to photograph a wedding when it happened, and I could not bear to ruin the bride's special day, so rather than go straight to the hospital, we went and took care of the wedding first. That was a unique experience! I praise God that my ribs have pretty much healed up.
I need to brag on my grown daughters for a minute. I am so proud of them both - they are amazing young women! Rebecca is the worship pastor in a church in Cincinnati, and she is the creative director at a Christian radio station up there. I am often stunned at how much she does, and how well she does it! God's hand is strong on her, and it is beautiful. Rachel, who had a baby and found it absolutely necessary to have to leave her husband this year, has continued to do very well in school. She has been accepted into the pre-med program at Shenandoah University and will be starting there in about 2 weeks. She is studying to become either a physician's assistant or a doctor, and I know she will succeed at either one. I am so proud of her!
I do have to say that Thanksgiving, my second favorite holiday of the year, was so nice. We had a peaceful day, I didn't go super-crazy cooking like I usually do (although it was still amazing!) We enjoyed each other's company so much. I loved that! Also, Christmas, my absolute favorite holiday, was wonderful. This is the very first year in a very long time that we were able to buy gifts for our children.I know, it's not about gifts, it's about the Giver of Life. We honor Him at Christmas before all else! It was still nice to be able to get the kids gifts. Also, we had a terrific two-foot snow storm that week, so our Christmas was white! We haven't had that in many, many years! It brought everyone in this house a great amount of joy!
There have been some very serious heartbreaks and betrayals this year that I cannot write about because they involve other people and their bad decisions, attitudes and actions. I can't bring myself to spread other folks' business, or gripe about their evil deeds in writing or in public... We'll just leave it that this year has not just been hard for me, but hard for all of us. Still, deep inside us we are convinced that God is greater - bigger - stronger - more loving... Nothing can take that from us!
I need to mention one other thing. I have the most wonderful children, like EVER. Oh yeah, they have their typical rotten moments (don't we all,) but I stand amazed at how dear they are, and how much (and how often!) they show me that they really love me. A game, a smile, a song, a picture they drew, a surprise breakfast in bed, a joke, a cleaned up room... these are some of the precious ways they try to cheer me up, and it works. Some of my favorite memories of this past year of horror have been those times that my kids have spontaneously come up to me and laid hands on me and prayed for my healing or for my heart to feel better.
I wish I had done a better job of blogging this year! It truly is easier to remember the negative stuff. I know there have been positive things, but I am still somewhat overwhelmed by all of the physical pain of this year that i am having a hard time pulling the good report together. That is so disheartening! Although, Rachel just stopped by, and I asked her to help me remember the good times of this year, and she drew as much of a blank as I have. It has been a horrible year for us.
We are determined that we are victorious (because Jesus causes us to walk in TRIUMPH according to His Word!!!) and that 2010 is going to be a whole lot different! How can we say that??? Here's how:
1. Ask, Believe, and you shall receive
2. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God - I bought myself a new Bible, since my dog decided that my old one made a better bed than book, and I am digging into it! My Bible says that I am more than a conqueror, I am FRIEND of God, I am healed, whole, prosperous, inspired by Him! It says that when praisers have led the way into battle, the battle was won! I AM A PRAISER! It says that when you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, you have all that you need! It says a whole lot more, and I believe it.
3. New beginnings. Each new day is a new beginning.
So, 2009 - you stunk. Royally. I'm glad to see you go away! 2010, I have high hopes for you. By the grace of God, you will be awesome!!! And, Lord, I know You will never, ever leave my side. I love You with all of me!