Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Surviving and Thriving

Today was the last day of school! I'm floored when I think back over the past year.
First I compare May 2015 with May 2016.

Last year:
  • My first (and what was supposed to be my only) surgery happened. (Actually one year ago tomorrow was when I was Blindsided.)
  • I missed almost all end of the year school activities, and when I attended the 5th grade walk, I was so weak that I had to get special permission to have a chair... while all the other parents stood and cheered.
  • My kids were becoming distant and scared.
  • Money was running out.
This year:
  • I've had three surgeries and the monitoring for (an unlikely) recurrence is well underway.
  • I'm physically and emotionally strong!
  • I'm baking cookies now to surprise the kids. Juggling mom duties like a pro!
  • I'm working regularly and God always provides enough money for all of our needs. (Not only that... He continues to surprise us with rich blessings we could never anticipate or deserve.)

Then I compare August 2015 with May 2016.

How we started the school year:
  • I missed most of the first two weeks of school due to a life-threatening chemo allergy and a long hospital stay.
  • We reluctantly stopped chemo and were terrified for what lied ahead.
  • The kids were forced to start doing many things for themselves. (Some of this was healthy and totally okay; some of this was them carrying more than children should at their ages.)
  • The kids were quiet and angry. Misery permeated many areas of their lives  and certainly mine and Tony's, too. 
How we ended the school year:
  • My kids are so independent they didn't even want me to come to end of the year school activities. I'm thrilled they want to spend time with their friends!
  • They completed the year as strong students with great grades and became confident bus riders. (As life-long car riders, this was a little scary for all of us.)
  • Our family now has a basketball player, a tuba player, a robotics club member, and a karate kid. Best of all, one of my babies was baptized this year!

That's not to say that everything is perfect. We're not perfect. Life isn't perfect. But we certainly are surviving and thriving. There will be new battles to fight soon. Today, we celebrate God's kindness.

So what have we learned?

Two weeks ago one of my kids went through an extremely stressful and emotional time. It was crippling as a parent to watch my child experience such a deep low. We had a heart-to-heart conversation once the situation was resolved, and my child was happy and soaring again. "Let this be a lesson," I said. "God never leaves you in the low places... He'll walk you through the valleys, and He'll comfort you along the way, but He'll never leave you in the low places."

This lesson falls on me afresh as I write this post. To reflect on the past year and all its low places is staggering. But guess what? God never left me in a low place. Today, I am truly on higher, sacred ground.

Don't just be happy for me and my family. Look back and reflect on your year's highs and lows. See where God showed up. Look for the times His people came to your rescue. (Like so many of you did for me!) Remember how good and gracious God really is.

Gotta run. It's time for cookies!

Love, 
Emily

P.S. If you're in a "low place" right now, let me know how I can pray for you. Remember, you won't be there forever. 

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." - 1 Chronicles 16:34

1 comment:

  1. Your reflections always mean so much. Yes, thankful, very thankful! Your kids are so beautiful! What a happy summer at the Gregory house!



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