This is not my photo. I stole it from a friend. That’s what friends are for, right?
This year, we started a new tradition. We kept a mason jar, okay, if I’m being honest it was actually a Ball Jar, but whatever, on the windowsill in the kitchen. Each time something happened that we thought was noteworthy for the year, we wrote it on a piece of paper and stuck it in the jar. On New Year’s Eve we are going to pull them out as a family and read them to remember the year we had. Don’t tell, but I snuck the jar early, so I could post its contents below.
January 12th, Alex and Thomas play D&D with Dad for the first time.
January 19th, cub scout pinewood Derby. Elijah’s first derby and he got his bobcat badge. Thomas took home a trophy for coolest car for his Jurassic Park Jeep Replica
January 20th Alex is officially taller than Mom!
March 24th Alex is confirmed and has his first communion
April 23rd, Uncle Dick officially adopts Blade and Angelo
May 27th, Oliver Pees in the potty
June 29th, close family friend Elizabeth and Tom get married (the wedding is where our Christmas card photo was taken)
August 30th, Alex turns 13. We’ll have a teenager in the house til 2030.
September 9th, baby #6 is on the way. We’ll have a teenager in the house until 2034
October Dad gets a job working from home
December 10th, baby #6 is a boy, Jude!
December 19th – Baby Jude is healthy, no trisomy18!
This idea was great for so many reasons. Even though I can think of things we forgot to put in the jar, what I love is that you can see snippets of our year. They hint at not only the awesome times, but if you read behind the lines a little, you can see where we were challenged this year. Which leads to our theme, and an important lesson that really hit home.The thief may come to steal, kill, and destroy, but in us is life and light and they can’t be stolen.
Our God is in the business of miracles. We read about them in the Bible, or occasionally hear stories of the unexplained, but we rarely expect them to happen TO us. In fact, we spend most of our time looking at times we wished a miracle was available and we didn’t get one. We focus on what we wanted and didn’t get or on what we didn’t understand. I do that a lot. I find myself saying I believe in miracles, but never actually acknowledging the idea that I might experience one myself.
This year had struggle. We started January first with Steven unemployed, he had been let go right before Christmas. He got a job in the spring at a large company and things went along great for a few months, then in the summer the company laid off 500 employees. So twice within the year he was without a job. This time he was in our town with about 499 other people with a similar skill set all looking for jobs. That is a hard thing to go through. It took four months for him to find work. The job we were so grateful that he got, was gone. It was hard to wrap our brains around it actually. We still had my job, but I work in non-profit. On paper, we shouldn’t have been able to make it. If you do the math, there’s no way there should have been enough money to pay the bills and feed everyone. But guess what? There was enough. It’s actually quite inexplicable.
Then there was our more obvious miracle, the baby on the way. The baby on the way after it’s mama had her tubes tied. In and of itself, that’s quite something. We found out about this baby about a month and a half into the second layoff, the layoff that came with the loss of health insurance. Once again it felt like someone was trying to take the shine off the blessings we had received. It was a struggle to get in to see my doctor, due to the lack of insurance and not having lots of cash up front. Who am I kidding, we had NO cash up front. ha.There were many a rant and many a tear shed during those months of waiting and worrying. God provided reassurance through a local crisis pregnancy center that helped us establish our baby was healthy and growing in the right place.
After finally getting in to see my doctor for this surprise baby, he found a lump in my throat. Fast forward through ultrasounds and biopsies, and I have a one in three chance of having thyroid cancer. What? Mom of almost 6, wife, non-profit director, I don’t have TIME for cancer. I don’t. The answer won’t be able to be determined until after the baby is born next year. What’s that? Someone trying to take the shine off the miracle again? Not so fast. The good news here is that if it is, in fact, cancer, it can be relatively easily treated. A couple surgeries, some one time treatments, and the fact that it’s a very slow moving cancer add up to equal= way better than it could have been! The significant reason it can be so easily remedied? Because we know about it. I’m not that great about going to the doctor. I mean, I just hate to waste the money if I feel fine. I would not have gone to the doctor, and this tumor would not have been found, if it hadn’t been for our sweet miracle baby. My doctor actually said to me, “We both know you’d would not have been to the doctor if it weren’t for this pregnancy. Maybe this is the reason you were given this pregnancy.” What a blessing to have a healthcare provider who can see the miracle too!
So basically, 2013 was a roller coaster ride for us. Every challenge was met with answered prayers and the overwhelming sense that God was saying, who cares what happens in this world. I’m still who I am and nothing you go through changes that. Blessings we didn’t deserve were heaped out on me and my family.
This evening, Steven updated his status on Facebook to this:
The magi are neither wise nor kings. Philo described them as “experts in nonsense” and the same word is used in Acts 13 with an obvious negative connotation. The shepherds were considered unclean and shepherding is often a career proscribed in Rabbic literature. “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him” (1Cor 1 NIV)
I have to say I feel like the shepherds or the “wise men” of 2013. God gave me a front row seat to miracles, even though I was one of the least deserving to witness one.
2014 is looking like another roller coaster year for us, but I’m thankful to know we’re not going it alone.