2013 was a year full of personal struggles. Seriously. It was rough. Probably the toughest year of my life. And I’m including that time my husband was deployed to Afghanistan while I spent the entire year alone with a newborn baby 1500 miles away from home. But, bear with me as I reflect on it all.
In January, at 7 months pregnant, I reflected on 6 months of being a single mom and pat myself on the back for keeping the bills paid and everyone out of the hospital. This was probably the day I jinxed myself.
In early April, things were still going well and I threw my kids a super fun birthday party, complete with vegan cakes, organic hot dog bar, pony rides, and a petting zoo. We had a ton of friends join us to celebrate my guys.
In late April, I had my baby Jaxon (yay!) but passed out during labor from the pain. I felt cheated out of the magical experience I knew childbirth could be but couldn’t help but feel extremely grateful for tremendous amount of support I had in my family, friends, midwife, and two doulas!
In early May, my world shattered when my two year old was hospitalized after a monster truck tire fell on top of him, totally busting up his face and breaking his arm. Imagine spending the night in a hospital room next to your screaming baby who was in so much pain not even the morphine could help him sleep – while caring for your two week old baby beside you.
In June, I realized how overwhelmed I was with caring for three small children on my own, homeschooling, and running a business. I decided things had to change and we needed a break, so I enrolled my oldest in Montessori school, and planned a vacation.
In July, the kids and I joined extended family in Florida and Alabama on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. It was a much needed break.
But it was also another breaking point for me as my oldest son’s behavior problems spiked from being out of our normal routine and I felt an incredible sense of failure as a mother. But the kind words from my grandmother made that entire trip worth it. “Hang in there. You’re doing the right thing. And you’re a good mama.”
In August, Ronnie started school. And our relationship got so much better.
In October, I went to the ER on three separate occasions before my appendix burst and I almost died. I scrambled to get emergency care for my children when I spent days in the hospital and weeks at home without even being able to lift them.
In November, as we showed gratitude for our blessings on Thanksgiving, my husband’s mental illness encroached too far and caused him to lose his job, leaving all of the responsibility to care for these precious lives on my shoulders. And I didn’t even know until a week later.
In an effort to bring some joy, I took the kids to an indoor trampoline park, where a 250 lb man jumped on top of my two year old and broke his leg. He spent this Christmas in a cast.
This year has certainly confronted the lie that God won’t give you more than you can handle. 2013 was far more than I could handle. We wouldn’t have scraped by without His grace and the love He’s shown to my family, even through drama and tragedy. Christ walked through this year with me – right beside me every step of the way. He was the loving doula who held my hand and laid in the bed with me through childbirth, the midwife that knitted nearby so she would be there when I needed her. He was the friends who brought me meals so I wouldn’t have to cook (on several occasions!). He was the pastor who weekly gave me encouraging words to get me through it all. He was the school, family, and friends that made accommodations to help me care for my children when I couldn’t. He was the two mothers who didn’t even know me but brought breastmilk for my son to drink when I couldn’t nurse him. He was the clients and customers who supported me through the year and allowed me to buy good food and clothes and fun treats for my kids. And the ones who sent me kind gifts and words of encouragement when I needed it most. He was the company that had to let my husband go but who pulled together everything they could to help give my children a happy Christmas.
Here’s to hoping that in 2014, I won’t need Christ to help me handle life quite as much. I’d rather turn around and bless others this year – to be Christ for them when they need it most. Happy New Year!0