I finally got around to writing my “Best of” list for this year. It’s the list that I generally write over Thanksgiving weekend to remember all the good things that took place throughout the year.
This year, I was a little late in writing it. Thanksgiving weekend was pretty busy, and then my son got sick. And in all truthfulness, I just didn’t feel like writing it. The first half of the year was rather depleting to me as we experienced three big M’s as a family—miscarriage, a move, and mass murder within our new community (we live in Uvalde). And this fall wasn’t much better as my son has navigated school for the first time with many challenges and hardships that have weighed heavily on my own heart.
I finally sat down to write my list shortly after Thanksgiving weekend with a sense of dread as I thought of the trials we had faced over these last twelve months. And I listed those hardships, despite the fact that they were not the best of anything, because they felt too important to leave them off of the events of this year. But as I looked through photos to help jog my memory over what I had lived through these last twelve months, I still saw how much beauty and goodness this year held and how extravagantly generous God had been to me and my family. Furthermore, I have seen God’s hand at work in the midst of the hardships. I believe that miscarrying my own baby earlier this year has given me a deeper sense of compassion for others who have lost their children—something I didn’t know I would need several months later as tragedy rocked our community in every crevice and corner. And it has also allowed me to connect with long lost friends who have been through similar storms.
And as far as the events of May 24th are concerned, I have seen how much the gospel has gone forth in this community as a result of that tragedy. Friends and acquaintances of mine were able to share the gospel internationally on news broadcasts as reporters interviewed them in the days to follow. Moreover, there have been a number of ministries that have poured out the love of Christ over this community ever since that day, not to mention the countless of prayers worldwide that God is answering on our behalf as a town. People are finding life in Christ here.
As for the move, although I still find certain aspects of it difficult (we’ve had to drive an hour and a half to see certain medical specialists throughout the last few months due to a lack of options here), I am truly grateful for the sense of community that my family and I have been able to form as a result of living here. We have found a church family that truly cares for us and deeply loves us, and I know we are very blessed to get to experience that.
The hardships have been great, and I don’t mean to minimize the pain of the losses in light of the good that has been birthed from them, especially for a community that is learning to live with a deep void in their lives. I will say this, however—I am so extremely grateful that the darkness is being defeated. I’m thankful that good wins in the end. And I’m so eternally grateful that something greater is awaiting those of us who have put our faith in Jesus. This life is not the end.
Among other things that I am grateful for this year, I am so thankful that JJ and I got to see our parents and all our siblings this summer, along with several other family members. With all of us living in different places, and one sibling living internationally, getting to have these reunions are rare and so special when they happen.
I’m grateful for all the opportunities that God has been giving JJ as of late to share the gospel. It is wonderful seeing his passion for God and hearing about all the opportunities God is opening up to him, and it motivates me to pray that God would give me opportunities to share too.
I’m grateful for the ways in which Liam is growing and for the spiritual questions that he is asking. It shows me that he is thinking about God and makes me believe that God is already answering my prayers for my son regarding faith.
And lastly (although I really could say much more), I’m grateful for how our family is growing, especially spiritually, and for how these different trials have been causing us to look more to God. He truly does crown each year with goodness. I’m glad I finally wrote the list for this year so that I could see just that.
You crown the year with Your goodness,Psalm 65:11
And Your paths drip with abundance.”