"Our family prays that your New Year is filled with love, joy and peace. The girls are growing so quickly. Claire turned 7 in November and Adleigh turned 2 just a few days ago. Bill is still working tirelessly to grow our excavating business and coaching Claire in all of her sporting endeavors. Amy is enjoying renewed health and enjoying every moment of being home with the girls."
That was as "Norman Rockwell-ish" as I could paint it. I thought I did a pretty good job. However, it's not entirely true. And at a breaking point last night, I, with the help of others, realized that sometimes it's okay to be vulnerable. We aren't wallering in the pit of despair over our year. We have pretty much, on most days, pulled ourselves up, asked God to put us back together every single morning and kept trudging through this journey of life. We are well aware, and are walking life with many friends and family, that some have it much worse that we do.
It hasn't been a Pollyanna year for us, either. We rely on the grace of God in every minute of every day. We are searching for Him. Crying out to Him in our need. We know and abide in His Word. But we are sinners in need of a Savior every single day. And sometimes my faith falters. We know that "our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory" but our flesh is weak and we get weary and we just want life to be easy for a season, or perhaps for a couple of seasons. So here is how our year has really been.
Our family does pray that your New Year is filled with love, joy and peace (but we are especially asking this for our own lives and that's why we can ask it for you...we have been pleading for His love, joy and peace to fill us). The girls are growing so quickly. But they have had some kind of year, though, with my 3 hospitalizations. Adleigh shows it less than Claire. Adleigh did have trouble sleeping for several nights after I returned home in September. I guess it's because she went to get her diaper changed by Gran and Bill and I rushed out the door and I didn't come home for 10 days. Claire has definitely turned into a mommy's girl. She has it tabulated how many times I've been in that hospital. She did that on her own with no prodding from anyone. She thinks "well mommy" is "the best mommy in the whole wide world." I'll take it. And Bill IS, indeed, working tirelessly (I mean working tirelessly) to grow our excavating business (and to provide for his family, to coach Claire's teams, to hold a wet wash cloth on my head and never turn his head in disgust at my sickest, to provide steady income for 2 God-sends that work with him in the trenches daily, to hide the stress from the outside world and always supply quality work at a fair price...no matter how many pieces of equipment break, to get up those few moments early in the quietness of pre-dawn and hit his knees and pray for our family). He is white-eyed and weary many evenings. But he is one of the two strongest men I know (my daddy is the other, if anyone was interested - I'll have to tell a funny on how strong he is at some other point). And I am enjoying renewed health after having the worst year to date with my Crohn's battle. Three hospitalizations, 7 inches of the small intestine, many anxious moments (not being able to see my doctor due to insurance restrictions, fighting for my patient rights with new doctors), many days of denial that it had come back and many, many days and nights of relentless pain later, I am experiencing pain-free living. And most of all, I am enjoying every single moment of being home with the girls.
Amidst the many hardships, we have countless blessings too. When Bill and I stop and live in the moment, not looking back at the past or being anxious about the future, God has us looking into the face of blessings upon blessings.
I discovered this album by Audrey Assad this winter and it has washed over me many, many times.
"Good To Me"
I encourage you to download this song if you are in a particularly hard season. I encourage you to meditate on His Word. Even if you can't believe it at the moment, let Him sing over you with Promises that can never be broken.
We wish each of you the Merriest of Christmases. We pray that life will slow down long enough for you to bask in the "Glory" of this season! We are so thankful for how you have carried us through this year, whether it was through prayers, meals, cards, help...we will never forget the love you have shown us. The Catos love you!