I hesitated to share this on my blog, but ultimately decided that this is reality. I want my kids to know that life is not all sunshine and roses...that they will have good years, and bad. And since this is something that will be passed down to them one day, I've decided to post it on here.
I guess you could say that 2010 has thrown our family some curve balls. Starting with our feeling led to change churches. This was a HUGE decision for our family - our church congregation has always been like our physical family...we pour ourselves in to the body of believers that we've been planted in and stick there like glue. But, after a series of events (that I won't go in to), we felt a very strong calling put on us to move on...and although we know we made the right choice, it was still very sad. Add to that the fact that we haven't felt a firm calling to any particular congregation in our city, has made this calling that much harder. Many people feel strongly that you should not leave a church body unless you're feeling specifically led to another church body...and Chad and I usually would've felt inclined to agree with that thought. However, this circumstance was different and so this is where we're at...a very raw place of asking the Lord where He wants us...after several months of not knowing, we're very ready for this revelation!
That was the first curve ball...and it was quickly followed up by my step-father being diagnosed with several forms of cancer. The Lord has been so good to both my mom and Mike throughout this extremely hard journey! He has blessed my mom with healing of her back/neck and she is now fully able to take on all the responsibilities that Mike had been helping her with. She's also been able to step up with her business and recently found out that she is one of the top Realtors in Central Arkansas. Her and Mike have been incredibly optimistic and faithful over the past several months and have continued to put their trust in the Lord. Knowing how well they are doing (most minutes of the day), has helped me - I can't tell you how difficult it has been to live 15 hours away during a time that I know both my mom and Mike could use an extra set of hands and occasionally, a shoulder to cry on. I'd like nothing more then to be able to drop everything to be with them, but have been so blessed to watch Little Rock Church be the hands and feet of God...they've been such a source of strength for my mom and Mike and I'm eternally grateful for the way they have blessed my parents!
Shortly after this second curve ball, we were thrown a series of curve balls...Shepherd broke his arm (the day before Swim Team began). And a few months after that, he developed Spinal Meningitis (again),...and a few weeks after that, he developed an infection in his Chest Wall. And after that, we were referred to an Immune Specialist. Such a scary time! But, throughout it all, the Lord revealed some practical ways we could be helping Shepherd (through diet alone) and since making these very simple changes, he has not been sick since...except for a minor stomach bug over Thanksgiving.
And towards the end of the curve balls that were thrown at Shepherd, Lillie Anna was thrown her fair share. In 5 weeks time, she was diagnosed with Pneumonia, two sets of double ear infections, had two rounds of stomach bug, and was in general, the most miserable little 15 month old ya' ever did see! Thank you Lord for the fact that the third antibiotic is FINALLY working it's magic...our sweet punkin' is returning! :-)
And the final curve ball of this year is our decision to enroll Shepherd in to school beginning in January of 2011. After all of these bumps in the road, I have felt emotionally drained, spiritually depleted, and physically exhausted...not a good combination for a mother trying to home school her child. I've tried and tried to push through these feelings because I know feelings are fleeting. I've also tried to push through because I soooooo believe in what I've been doing - I've loved my beautiful curriculum (that I did HOURS of research on!), and have treasured the sweet moments I've had over the past 1.5 years with Shepherd. He's been the best little student a momma' could ever ask for! This was not an easy decision, nor was it made overnight. But, both Chad and I agree that this will be good for our entire family...we wouldn't be doing it otherwise.
Chad and I have had many wonderful years where we felt like the sun has shown on our faces 365 days out of the year, and this just wasn't one of those years. Someone said to me at CBS this year "You're different this year...you're so quiet!" I just looked at her and wanted to say "I'm tired, lady!"....but she was 70 somethin', and ya' gotta respect your elders, right? :-) Instead, I grinned, nodded my head and said it's been "one of those years". Truth is, I've tried reeeaaally hard to keep a smile on my face and my chin up, so I was surprised this woman was observant enough to notice! I know that there are many people who have had a MUCH more challenging, exhausting and overall, hard year. I've counted my blessings and although I've accepted that it's been difficult at times, I've tried not focusing on it. 2010 wasn't all bad - not even remotely! Chad's business is doing great, and our little family is closer now then we've ever been. Life is tipsy-turvy...it's up-n-down. We just have to hope for the best and pray that the Lord will cover us with His grace as we handle what is thrown our way.
So, this year I may have been quieter...but, I'm still here! I'll suffice it to say...we're definitely ready to close 2010 and say Hello to 2011!